The Forgotten History Of The Independent Woman

This living statue of The Independent Woman arrived at Kennedy Plaza this afternoon in honor of International Women’s Day, courtesy of the Womxn Project Education Fund. Here is the history behind the project.

In their original 1895 renderings, State House architects McKim, Mead and White sketched a female figure atop the building’s dome. The figure was likely inspired by the state motto, Hope, and the figure of Hope was traditionally portrayed as a woman. State officials, however, eschewed these original plans in favor of putting a representation of Roger Williams on the State House, and Independent Man was born.

The figure (from TEN31) attracted considerable attention today from the students and commuters waiting at the bus stop. Volunteers from the organization were on hand to explain the piece and their work for reproductive justice. From a statement issued by The Womxn Project:

“The telling of Rhode Island history has been dominated by white male narratives,” says Cristina DiChiera, director of The Womxn Project Education Fund. “So we’re seizing this opportunity to unearth a piece of forgotten history. We hope that the living statue of the Independent Woman will serve as a symbol that asks people to acknowledge the many smart, courageous, forward-thinking and independent women who are not represented in monuments, because of their gender.”

Internationally, the situation for women is dire. It’s an overwhelming topic, but if I may address one point in the hopes that we might at least physically survive this current insanity: Texas is no longer a safe place for women. No woman should even think about traveling there . . . not to look for a job . . . not to visit relatives . . . not to look at colleges . . .  not to go to music festivals or football games. There is absolutely nothing happening in Texas worth your life. (NYT 3.6.23)



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