Boston Women's Memorial
The City dedicated the Boston Women’s Memorial on October 25, 2003. The sculptures at the Commonwealth Avenue Mall honor:
- Abigail Adams
- Lucy Stone, and
- Phillis Wheatley.
Artist Meredith Bergmann's vision displays a new way of thinking about public art. Unlike larger than life statues, these invite people to interact with them.
Instead of standing on her pedestal, each woman is using it. The memorial also uses traditional symbols of sculptures in new and original ways.
Abigail Adams (1744 - 1818)
Abigail was born in Weymouth, Mass. She was the wife of the second president of the United States, and the mother of the sixth.
Her letters show her thoughts on society and her commitment to women's advancement:
...and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
If we were to count our years by the revolutions we have witnessed, we might number them with the Antediluvians. So rapid have been the changes: that the mind, tho fleet in its progress, has been outstripped by them, and we are left like statues gazing at what we can neither fathom, or comprehend.
Lucy Stone (1818 - 1893)
Lucy was born in Brookfield, Mass., and was one of the first women in Massachusetts to graduate college. She's known as an abolitionist and a respected orator. She started the Woman's Journal, the most important women's suffrage publication of its era.
Let woman's sphere be bounded only by her capacity.
From the first years to which my memory stretches I have been a disappointed woman. In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything disappointment is the lot of women. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer.
The legal right for woman to record her opinion wherever opinions count, is the tool for whose ownership we ask.
I believe the world grows better, because I believe that in the eternal order there is always a movement, swift or slow, toward what is right and true.
Phillis Wheatley (1753 - 1784)
Phillis was born in West Africa and sold as a slave from the ship "Phillis" in colonial Boston. She became a literary prodigy. Her 1773 volume "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral" was the first book published by an African writer in America.
Imagination! who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?
Soaring through air to find the bright abode,
Th' empyreal palace of the thund'ring God,
We on thy pinions can surpass the wind,
And leave the rolling universe behind:
From star to star the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds amaze th' unbounded soul.
To the Right Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth:
I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate
Was snatch'd from Afric's fancy'd happy seat:
What pangs excruciating must molest,
What sorrows labour in my parent's breast?
Steel'd was that soul and by no misery mov'd
That from a father seiz'd his babe belov'd:
Such, such my case. And can I then but pray
Others may never feel tyrannic sway?
...in every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance ... the same Principle lives in us.