New York City will put up the first statues of women in Central Park among the male statues, featuring famous suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth.
The 23 statues of men in Central Park include Alexander Hamilton, Christopher Columbus, William Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott. The only statues that feature women are fictional characters such as Alice in Wonderland and Mother Goose.
On October 21, the Public Design Commission voted out of 91 design submissions for Meredith Bergmann’s design, originally only featuring Anthony and Stanton. After critics asked why the statue did not honor any African American women suffragists, Sojourner Truth was added to the design.
Some argue that the statue shouldn’t feature Anthony and Stanton due to their complicated histories of racist statements. Other criticisms include that the statue is allegorical and does not depict a meeting that happened or would have happened. Other groups praise the statue. Pam Elan of the nonprofit Monumental Women said, “This statue conveys the power of women working together to bring about revolutionary change in our society.”
Bergmann hopes “that all people, but especially young people, will be inspired by this image of women of different races, different religious backgrounds, and different economic status working together to change the world.”
The statue will be put up in Central Park in August of 2021. Next year marks 100 years since white women got the right to vote.
Sources: NBC News 10/22/19, Daily News 10/21/19