Women's Rights Pioneers Monument Breaks the Bronze Ceiling in Central Park as the First Statue of Real Women in the Park’s History

Thank You to all the Supporters of Monumental Women!

After seven long years of organizing, fundraising and battling bureaucracy, on August 26th we unveiled our Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument on Literary Walk in Central Park. Meredith Bergmann’s beautiful 14-foot tall bronze sculpture of suffragists and New Yorkers Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton is the first to depict real women in the park’s 167 years. Now the 42 million people who visit Central Park each year will finally see the contributions of women celebrated and honored, and the women and girls who walk by will see themselves represented.

This historic victory would not have been possible without the contributions of our innumerable supporters. To everyone who helped us raise $1.5 million to fund the Monument; who attended hearings and rallies; who spoke out in support of us; and who helped in countless other ways: THANK YOU. Any progress in the fight for full equality for women is always a community effort, and we couldn’t have done this without you.

As you know, the unveiling ceremony for our Monument was held on the 100th anniversary of the ratification and certification of the 19th “Votes for Women” Amendment to the Constitution.  As Monumental Women President Pam Elam said: "We are here to move history forward and not even a pandemic will stop us."  We thank all those who attended the unveiling in person or who watched the live-streamed event.  Parts of our program were also broadcast on the Today Show.  We were especially honored to have as our special guest former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.  Thanks also to our good friend Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for celebrating with us.  We appreciated that Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul joined us. We were very grateful to Firefighter Regina Wilson for her wonderful version of "America The Beautiful." 

Read about the full event here.

Watch the full event here.

Read the full speech transcripts:
Pam Elam
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Meredith Bergmann
Gale Brewer

Behind the Scenes

August 26th Unveiling Ceremony of our Women's Rights Pioneers Monument

Months in advance of the unveiling, Monumental Women issued a call to supporters, historians, women’s rights advocates, groups historically associated with suffrage, suffragist descendants, and elected officials to provide short messages of congratulations, hope and inspiration.  These “home-made” videos were then crafted by our videographer Emily Dombroff and Board Member Brenda Berkman into a program with additional videos explaining the sculptor Meredith Bergmann’s vision and the seven-year process of creating the Monument.  Excerpts of the exciting Talking Statues dialogue featuring all six of our English and Spanish language narrators (Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Jane Alexander, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana, America Ferrara) were included. Special thanks go to Board Member Ariel Deutsch for finding 22 young women to read quotes from diverse suffragists who were part of the decades-long struggle to achieve the vote for women.

Monumental Women was venturing into uncharted territory by attempting an unveiling ceremony in the midst of a pandemic.  What had been envisioned as a day of celebration involving thousands descending on Central Park from all over the country necessarily had to become a “press conference” with a small number of socially-distanced guests.  At any moment, our event in the Park could have been cancelled if there had been a resurgence of the virus.  Every part of the program was videotaped – even the "live" speeches were recorded.  Buying 100 disposable raincoats must have caused the weather goddess to smile upon us with one of the most beautiful days of 2020.

Planning and executing the unveiling ceremony took an enormous amount of effort over a period of months.  Toward the end, 12-hour days 7-days a week were the norm for our Board President Pam Elam and Board Member Brenda Berkman.  Appreciation also goes to Board Members Ariel Deutsch, Heather Nesle and Namita Luthra for many contributions made over several months.  David Spaulding and his firm Phillips Gold & Co put in substantial pro bono time on the project, and Gary Ferdman and Ellen Chesler also helped with important components.  Other partners in the work for the ceremony included a monumental effort by Penelope Cox of Gale Brewer’s office, Capt. William Gallagher of the Central Park Police Precinct and his Community Affairs officers, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s staff and Secret Service detail, Eileen Macdonald of IATSE Local 1, Anthony Sama of Parks, folks at the Central Park Conservancy, Emily Dombroff, staff and crew from NYC Video Pros our event producers, and Anat Gerstein, Erin Clarke and Megan Douglas from our PR firm.

Our sculptor Meredith Bergmann and her husband Michael helped in every way we asked.  Beyer Blinder Belle's Richard Southwick, Susan Baggs, and Kat Monaghan supported Pam and made sure of the arrival and installation of the Monument. 

We urge all our supporters to watch the video now up on our website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.  Please share the video with all your friends.  Lessons were learned that will contribute to the “toolkit” Monumental Women is creating (with funding from the Jane Walker Campaign) for other groups who wish to honor more women and people of color in their public spaces.

We encourage everyone to visit our Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument on Literary Walk in Central Park and access the Talking Statues component to learn more about Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.  We also ask for your continued support for Monumental Women’s ongoing Challenge To Municipalities and Women’s History Education Campaigns.  Please join us.

News & Media

Good Morning America:
Central Park unveils 1st statue to honor female pioneers.
Watch here

Monumental Women:
Read our Press Release
Descendants of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth honor suffrage activists.
Watch here

See the first statue of women in Central Park unveiled live on TODAY

What’s Next For Monumental Women

Unveiling the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument in Central Park is only the beginning of educating the public about the accomplishments of Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and other women’s rights pioneers.  Adding the Monument to maps of New York City, tours of Central Park and listings of sculpture to raise public awareness is an ongoing need for Monumental Women’s Education initiative.  Coordinating with schools and other youth groups, such as the Girl Scouts, to amplify the educational component of the Monument is possible now that it is in the Park.  Monumental Women’s Education Campaign to raise public awareness of women’s history will also continue with our "Put Her on a Pedestal" art and history project on our website.

Now that we’ve broken the bronze ceiling in Central Park, we’re looking to have the rights and contributions of New York City women honored across the entire city. In the coming months, we’ll begin working on the creation of a Women’s Rights Trail, a walking tour with sites throughout all five boroughs.  Stay tuned for more information about the project and ways you can get involved.  Monumental Women is also seeking contributions to fund our effort to provide books on Women's History to every public school library in New York City.  To make a tax-deductible donation, please go to our website.  Finally, Monumental Women’s Challenge to Municipalities to honor more women and people of color in public spaces will be a major focus of our work going forward.  Even before the dedication of our Women's Rights Pioneers Monument in Central Park, we have been assisting other groups with their projects.  

Talking Statues APP

To listen to transcriptions and translations of the sculptor’s video, the short documentaries and brief histories of the three women as well as Monumental Women itself use this link.

Click to download and you can see/hear the Talking Statues content. 

Thank you to the volunteers who helped with the Monumental Women Talking Statues Project: Scriptwriter Joanne Parrent, Narrators Jane Alexander, Viola Davis, America Ferrara, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana and Meryl Streep and their teams. Scott Cady, Bobbi Greene, Henry Wolfe, and Emily Dombroff.

Photo Credit: NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

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© 2020 Monumental Women/The Statue Fund

Monumental Women® is a registered trademark. Monumental Women is a corporate alias of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund Inc., which is a 501(c)(3) organization. All contributions are tax deductible.

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Phone: 347.224.8976

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