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Cambridge suffragette commemoration advances with committee formation, funding

City looking to permanently mark contribution of local women to passage of 19th Amendment

A statue of a man seated overlooking a busy square in a city.
The Senator Charles Sumner statue in Harvard Square.
Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

The Cambridge City Council in early April approved the formation of a committee to facilitate the creation of a permanent commemoration of the major role that locals played in the passage of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.

The council also approved $300,000 toward the marker or statue or whatever might go up by August 26, 2020—which will mark the 100th anniversary of the amendment’s ratification.

A mother-daughter duo from Cambridge sparked the current effort. 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).

The Bernsteins will be honorary members of the newly formed committee, which will also include representatives from Cambridge's historical and women commissions. Again, it’s unclear what the committee will settle on as an appropriate commemoration or where it will go. Stay tuned.