Jul 18
2020

Monumental Women, the all-volunteer nonprofit group bringing the first statue depicting real women to Central Park, has announced that award-winning actors Jane Alexander, Viola Davis, America Ferrera, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana and Meryl Streep will portray Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in English and Spanish-Language ‘Talking Statues’ monologues that will accompany the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument. According to Broadwayworld.com, The Monument featuring Truth, Anthony and Stanton is set to be unveiled on Central Park’s Literary Walk on August 26, 2020, the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, when women won the right to vote. Actors Jane Alexander and America Ferrera will voice Susan B. Anthony, Viola Davis and Zoe Saldana will voice Sojourner Truth, and Meryl Streep and Rita Moreno will voice Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Monumental Women began working to develop the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument and “break the bronze ceiling” by securing a prominent location on Central Park’s famed Literary Walk in 2014. The organization raised $1.5 million in private funding to pay for the statue, which is being designed by nationally-recognized sculptor Meredith Bergmann. In the statue, Bergmann shows Anthony, Stanton, and Truth working together when they met to advance the fight for equality, justice, and women’s rights. They are depicted as equals, working together at a table, with each taking on an essential element of activism: Sojourner Truth is speaking, Susan B. Anthony is organizing, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton is writing. The Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument honors three New York women who dedicated their lives to women’s rights and to women winning the franchise, though none of them lived long enough to see it happen.

‘Talking Statues’ is a project started by documentary filmmaker David Peter Fox in Copenhagen in 2013, to tell the stories behind statues through short monologues. The public can easily access the monologues by scanning a QR code on a smart-device or by downloading the Talking Statues app on a mobile device. The app is part of Monumental Women’s education campaign to educate Park visitors, young people and schoolchildren around the world about women’s history. Scriptwriter Joanne Parrent crafted the ‘Talking Statues’ narration as a conversation between the three women as portrayed in the Monument by using speeches and writings of Truth, Stanton and Anthony. Monumental Women President Pam Elam expressed excitement and gratitude: “Combining the voices of six of the greatest artists of our time with the spirits of the three Women’s Rights Pioneers we honor in our Monument is a dream come true. We are thrilled to have the support of Jane Alexander, Viola Davis, America Ferrera, Rita Moreno, Zoe Saldana, and Meryl Streep since they bring not only great artistry but, through their own work for equality and justice, bring a commitment to carrying on the work of the valiant women who came before us.” Monumental Board member and Talking Statues Project Manager Brenda Berkman expressed her thanks to all the narrators, staff and supporters who made this recording possible, even in the midst of a pandemic. “Everyone worked really hard to create this tool for educating the public, especially young people, about women’s history. Technological challenges were overcome. Special thanks go to our editor, Emily Dombroff, for all her expertise and hard work.”