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Is a Planned Monument to Women’s Rights Racist?

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tags: racism, monuments, womens history, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony



Several years ago, before Confederate monuments came toppling down amid collective recognition that American public space needed a politicized renovation, a group of women in New York City started a fund to build a statue in Central Park honoring women’s suffrage.

Memorializing any woman at all was going to be novel, because once you got past Alice in Wonderland, who was there really? As it happens, there is not a single statue of a nonfictional woman in the entire park — one of the most heavily visited tourist sites in the world, with more than 25 million people passing through each year — and yet the list of the commemorated is copious enough to include King Wladyslaw Jagiello, the 14th-century grand duke of Lithuania. At which point you might ask yourself: Where is Barney Greengrass?

Given this myopia and absence of logic, it is easy to see how the decision to erect a statue of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on the Mall, the widest pedestrian path in the park, might be considered an innovation. Last summer the city, in partnership with the Statue Fund, as it came to be called, announced that a design for such a sculpture had been selected, following a competition that had received 91 submissions.

The monument, to be unveiled in 2020 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, would feature renditions of the two women best known for helping to secure that right. That the suffrage movement was big, broad and diverse is meant to be reflected in the image of a scroll unfolding between Anthony and Stanton like a very long to-do list (procure more rolled oats, seek equality) naming and quoting 22 other women whose contributions were greatly significant.

Read entire article at New York Times

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