New York City’s Central Park is home to 29 statues of men, but none of real women, only fictional characters, Alice in Wonderland, and Shakespeare’s Juliet. That is finally about to change with the commission of a statue to honor suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony that will “break the bronze ceiling for women in Central Park,” and will be placed on the Literary Walk on the Mall in Central Park.
Yesterday I was honored to attend a press conference held in the New York Historical Society where the winner of the design competition was announced. The announcement was made on the 170th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, a convention organized primarily by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Coffin Mott to protest women’s lack of equal rights.
The winner of the competition is Meredith Bergmann, an American sculptor whose design was chosen over those of 90 other competitors. Ms. Bergmann studied at Wesleyan, and graduated from the Cooper Union with a BFA. Her work includes statues at the Boston’s Women’s Memorial, Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, a statue of opera singer Marian Anderson, at Converse College, Spartanburg, SC, and a bust of Ruth Bader Ginsburg at Columbia University.
“I’m honored to have been chosen to make this monument to a movement that transformed our democracy so profoundly from within, and without bloodshed, that began with two women writing together, composing the most powerful arguments they could imagine,” Bergmann stated. In addition to sponsors and board members, some of the dignitaries who attended the press conference were Lynn Sherr, author of two books about Susan B. Anthony, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Nancy Brown, representing the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites, and Coline Jenkins, great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Also present were representatives from Girl Scout troops 3482 and 3484 in New York City who, together with other troops, collected over $10,000 for the statue fund.
The statue is set to be unveiled in 2020, the centennial year of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Susan B. Anthony. Around the base of the statue will be inscribed names of other influential suffragists. For more information, and to contribute to the statue fund log onto: www.centralparkwherearethewomen.org.