• 100 years suffrage

Celebrating the Ongoing Story of Women's Suffrage in Cambridge

Celebrating the Ongoing Story of Women's Suffrage in Cambridge

On February 12, 2020, the Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee hosted a community meeting to share and gather information.

August 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. Cambridge is commemorating this important milestone with both a public art project and an event series dedicated to the ongoing story of Women's Suffrage. Join the City as we discuss the historical movement leading to the 19th Amendment's passage, reflect on the Amendment's impact, and look to the future of our democracy.

Jennifer Mathews of the City Manager’s office welcomed everyone to the informational meeting and provided a background on, goals for, and next steps on the project.

The goals for the project are to:

  • Recognize the complex history of the suffrage movement
  • Tell a representative story of the 19th Amendment
  • Embrace the past, present, and future of American Democracy
  • Select a prominent site that demonstrates the significance of the project

In November, 2019 the Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee recommended Cambridge Common, a sixteen-acre park on the National Register of Historic Places, in the Old Cambridge Historic District. Final approval will be made by the Cambridge Historical Commission.

Committee Member Perspectives
“Being part of this committee has been a wonderful experience”, said committee member Marian Darlington-Hope. "As someone who has been part of committees in this City for close to 50 years, this is one of the best experiences that I’ve had. Each of the City Departments, including the City Manager, Public Works, Arts Council Public Art, Historical Commission, Women’s Commission, and others have engaged the committee throughout in a genuine way.”

Sofia Bernstein, middle school student and honorary committee member, asked her mom several years ago why there weren’t more statues of women in our city. She talked about the importance for kids to have role models that they can see around them in our city to inspire them. Sofia also wrote a letter to President Obama asking why there aren’t more women on our currency and has been active in the Women on 20’s campaign. Sofia inspired her mom, Kim Bernstein, to reach out to the City Council about a public artwork representing Cambridge women’s contributions to suffrage, which resulted in a City Council Order, followed by funding and support from the City Manager. “It is such a wonderful experience to work with historians, artists, city department staff, and other Cambridge residents to plan for this momentous public art project. I am thankful to my daughter, Sofia, for inspiring me!”

About the Artists
The four artist-finalists, chosen from 694 profiles in the City’s public art registry, will be paid to develop concept proposals for a permanent installation to honor the Nineteenth Amendment and to highlight the contributions of underrepresented Cambridge women.

Community Feedback
At this meeting, each artist had an opportunity to introduce themselves and to hear thoughts from community members in response to these guiding questions:

  • What stories should the artwork tell?
  • How can Cambridge speak to the importance of voting rights?
  • Why is the Cambridge Common significant to you?
  • Do you have ideas on programming to go with the artwork?
  • Other thoughts?

Next Steps

  • April 13, 2020: Artwork proposals due. Images will be displayed publicly for feedback.
  • April 29, 2020: Finalists present to Community. Citywide Senior Center 6:00-8:00 PM
  • May 13, 2020: Selection of winning proposals

More information