With International Women’s Day being just last Thursday, it only seems appropriate to announce that a monument to honor a dozen historically significant women of various races and backgrounds has been scheduled to begin sometime this summer in Richmond.
Titled “Voices from the Garden,” this monument will be built on the western side of Capitol Square at the top of the western sloping dell. It is expected to be completed by October 2019 and will cost about $3.5 million, paid for with private funds. So far, more than $2.1 million in contributions and pledges have been raised.
Monument design by the 1717 Design Group Inc. of Richmond
According to the Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission’s website, the monument “will acknowledge the genius and creativity of Virginia women and their presence and contributions to the Commonwealth. The monument is a metaphor for the often unrecognized voices that have been responsible for shaping our culture, country, and state for over 400 years.”
The commission says the monument would be the first of its kind in the nation recognizing the full range of women’s achievements. The project will feature an oval-shaped garden with statues of:
Ann Burras Laydon, who arrived in Jamestown in 1608 – one of the first female settlers in the colony.
Cockacoeske, a Pamunkey chief who signed a treaty in 1677 establishing the tribe’s reservation.
Mary Draper Ingles, who was taken captive by Shawnee Indians during the French and Indian War in 1755, escaped and traveled 600 miles back to her home in Southwest Virginia.
Martha Washington, George Washington’s wife. In the monument, she will represent the wives of all eight Virginia-born presidents.
Clementina Bird Rind, editor of the Virginia Gazette, an influential newspaper and the official printer for the Colony of Virginia, in the 1770s.
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a slave who bought her freedom, became Mary Todd Lincoln’s confidant and established the Contraband Relief Association, which provided support for freed slaves and soldiers wounded in the Civil War.
Sally Louisa Tompkins, who, as a captain in the Confederate army, established a hospital to treat injured soldiers.
Maggie Walker, an African-American teacher and businesswoman who became the nation’s first female bank president.
Sarah Garland Boyd Jones, the first woman to pass the exam to practice medicine in Virginia. She and her husband, also a physician, established a medical association for African-American doctors and opened a hospital and nursing school in 1903.
Laura Lu Copenhaver, who, as director of information for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, expanded southwestern Virginia’s agricultural economy.
Virginia Estelle Randolph, an African-American teacher who developed a national and international reputation as a leader in education.
Adele Goodman Clark, a suffragist who became president of the League of Women Voters in 1921. She is considered to be one of the founders of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The Purpose of the Monument is: History, Education, Importance, Appreciation
The Commission’s website states “From the Founding of the Commonwealth, the genius and creativity of women and their presence and contributions have been evident in every aspect of Virginia history and the life of people in the Commonwealth; however, they have received little appreciation, recognition, or official acknowledgement.”
Perhaps this monument will change that.