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Cambridge monument to women’s suffrage movement gains momentum

City in general hosts only three statues of historical women—addition hoped for by 2020

The Senator Charles Sumner statue in Harvard Square
Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

Cambridge is moving toward erecting a monument to local women who helped spur the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote in time for that milestone’s 100th anniversary in August 2020.

Officials are studying the possibility of some sort of public art, including a statue, though the subject of said art has yet to be decided. There are several likely candidates as Cambridge was one of the loci of the suffragette movement.

The current push for such art came from a mother and daughter in Cambridge. Sofia Bernstein was invited to the White House in 2015 at the age of 9 after President Barack Obama read her letter about the dearth of women depicted on U.S. currency.

She and her mother, Kim Bernstein, soon turned their attention from a national change to a local one: Why was it that Cambridge had so few women depicted in its public spaces? The city hosts only three statues of historic women (the number isn’t much higher across the Charles in Boston).

Answering that question has led to the current effort to honor the Cantabrigian contributions to suffrage. Stay tuned.