Every Word We Utter
19th Amendment Centennial
The concept of this proposed women’s monument was inspired by a letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Lucretia Mott in which she wrote about the power of words and deeds: “Every word we utter, every act we perform, waft unto innumerable circles, beyond.” I wanted to capture the collective energy from all women who have made this happen, as well as acknowledge that we still need to keep moving as we strive for equality.
The composition centrally places Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton writing the Declaration of Sentiments. This friendship holds the beginning of the women’s movement, the drop of water coalescing its impact on US history. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony writing the Sentiments forms a unified force that truly speaks of the oneness of their purpose.
Their words, speeches and wisdom launched a worldwide, peaceful revolution. Even today, these two women offer us the courage and the tools to be the stewards of human rights.
Her gaze is to the future – to the horizon – looking to a place where women –together – will turn the world “right side up again.” In my composition, I have sculpted her in her early 50’s,around the time she would have delivered her seminal speech, “Ain’t I a Woman?” Within the composition, she is the guardian of the belief that women should have the right to vote.Their words, speeches and wisdom launched a worldwide, peaceful revolution. Even today, these two women offer us the courage and the tools to be the stewards of human rights.
The young Harriet Stanton Blatch, represents the future. She is nestled beside her mother. She has a look of intensity. She feels it. She absorbs her mother’s words while holding onto a bonnet, a symbol of the suffragist she will become.
Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells are at the peak of the coalescence, one in their mission. Although these two women would not have marched side by side, their juxtaposition at the height of the sculpture, symbolizes their shared vision of equal rights. Neither one of these women would take no for an answer. They rise, the next generation of the movement, the “Daughters” who were victorious in the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.
Ida B. Wells is holding the flag of We the People. Standing on the shoulders of giants, these women were elevated by what came before.The open gesture of her hand outstretched to the other women around her in this monument reinforces the invitation to join the cause.
From this height, Alice Paul drapes the ratification flag down, the coalescent cascade, to the innumerable circles that ripple outwards.
The portrait of Paul is inspired by the photo of her draping the ratification flag with its 36th star over the balcony of the suffrage headquarters in Washington D.C. I chose to depict Paul in that celebratory
moment to capture the monumental triumph of the Nineteenth Amendment, an accumulation of the efforts of thousands of American women.
Ida B. Wells began her career as an activist at a young age. She fervently rallied against the practice of lynching even with the threat of being lynched herself. She was known for using her pen and voice to battle sexism, racism, and violence. In this sculpture Wells stands proudly with a flag of the United States, representing the hope for justice and the rights of every human being.
The first bronze ripple will hold the names of the women on the first tier of the monument those that envisioned the women’s right to vote but did not live to see the day. Names of instrumental women involved in the second wave of the movement, those women who experienced the ratification of the nineteenth Amendment and voted for the first time will be inscribed in the second ripple. The third ripple will hold the names of women who continue to make significant contributions to the ideals of the sentiments and the efforts for equality for all women. These individuals will include Native and African American civil right advocates who later were granted citizenship and the right to vote.
Two lost or missing artifacts are depicted in this monument. First, the Sentiments, the origins of the 19th Amendment. Second, the Ratification Flag that triumphantly represented the passage of the 19th Amendment and the inclusion of women. We cannot let our history slip away unnoticed.