New York City will finally honor real women with a statue in its famous Central Park. City officials voted this week for the creation of a statue of three female civil rights leaders. Central Park has 23 statues of men who were important in history, but none of women.
In fact, females are represented only by statues of imaginary characters. These include a statue of Alice, the hero of Alice in Wonderland books by 19th century British writer Lewis Carroll.
The new statue from artist Meredith Bergmann is to be uncovered next August. Visitors will see the representation of past activists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth.
The three women were contemporaries and leaders in the anti-slavery, women’s rights and anti-alcohol movements. Their activism helped to secure the right of women to vote in 1920.
Pam Elam is president of the non-profit organization Monumental Women. It worked with historians, community leaders and local officials in support of the statue. Elam said the artwork shows "the power of women working together to bring about revolutionary change in our society." The group privately raised $1.5 million to create and care for the new statue and a linked educational program.
Bergmann's early design for the statue included only Anthony and Stanton. Observers criticized its lack of African-American representation, noting that women of that group were also important to the fight for women’s suffrage. So, Bergmann redesigned the statue to add Truth.
Central Park is not the only area of New York limited in statues representing historical women. In fact, the government group She Built NYC says the large city of five boroughs has just five public statues of women from history.
A 2016 news story in the magazine Smithsonian.com reported that women were the subject of only about seven percent of public statues in the United States that depict real people.
I’m Caty Weaver.
Caty Weaver adapted this report for Learning English from VOA News reports. Mario Ritter was the editor.
Words in This Story
character –n. a person who appears in a story, book, play, movie or television show that is not real
contemporary –n. someone who lives during the same period in history as someone else
suffrage –n. the right to vote in an election
borough –n. a village, town or part of a city that has its own government
depict –v. to show someone or something through some art form: as in writing, painting or sculpture
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