Groundbreaking for Turning Point Suffragist Memorial
Dedication planned for Suffrage Centennial on August 26, 2020
LORTON, Va. (Nov. 15, 2019) - The ground has been broken for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, a national memorial that pays tribute to the millions of people who fought for women to have the vote. Colleen Shogan, vice chair of the U.S.- Congress-appointed Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission, says this memorial will allow us to "come closer to rectifying the fact that fewer than 8% of all memorials in this country honor women." The groundbreaking begins the countdown to the memorial's dedication on August 26, 2020, the 100th anniversary of the certification of the 19th Amendment. The National Women's History Alliance has selected the dedication as the National Suffrage Centennial Event of the Year.
The date of the groundbreaking at Virginia's Occoquan Regional Park, November 14, was selected to coincide with the 102nd anniversary of the Night of Terror, when suffragists who were illegally arrested after picketing the White House were incarcerated, abused and tortured on the nearby Occoquan Workhouse prison grounds.When journalists of the day learned of the atrocity, it became a major turning point in the suffrage movement.
When asked at the groundbreaking what she views as the significance of the memorial, Dr. Thelma Daley, past president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority stated, "This memorial deals with the right to vote, which we were deprived of for so long. Many African American women were involved in the suffragist movement but did not receive a lot of credit. As I stand here today, we honor the 22 founders of Delta Sigma Theta who participated in the suffrage movement, beginning with the march on Washington in 1913."
Virginia Kase, CEO, League of Women Voters U.S., says the suffragists fought "so that we could become our great-grandmothers' wildest dreams." But she added "the fight is not over. The next 100 years are important too, so that everyone's voice is heard."
It's taken more than a decade of work by the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association and its Executive Director Pat Wirth to build the estimated $2 million memorial. Wirth says fundraising efforts are still underway so the nonprofit organization and partners can "build a memorial deserving of these women." Board Chair Nancy Sargeant says the memorial "will finally bring the stories of the suffragists out of darkness and into the light" and board member John Houser says the suffragists are patriots who should be recognized. An added benefit, according to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova, is that the memorial "will contribute to the growing industry of history tourism in the county."
A broad history of the 72-year suffrage movement will be told through 19 informational stations within the memorial, representing the 19th Amendment. Also included in the design by architect Robert Beach is a bridge that Lidia Soto-Harmon, the CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation's Capital, hopes will be used by Girl Scouts in traditional bridging ceremonies so that "they will remember the important contribution of the suffragists." The memorial will be open to the public following the dedication on August 26, 2020.
Pictured above at ceremony: (l to r): TPSMA Board Member Carrie Shokraei, TPSMA Treasurer Ed Bortnick, Fairfax County Supervisor Dan Storck, TPSMA Past Board Chair and Interpretation and Design Co-Chair Emily McCoy, NOVA Parks Exec. Dir. Paul Gilbert, TPSMA Board Chair Nancy Sargeant, Fairfax County Board Chair Sharon Bulova, TPSMA Exec. Dir. Pat Wirth, NOVA Parks Board Chair Mike Nardolilli, TPSMA Board Member Nancy Tate, TPSMA Speakers Bureau Chair Kathleen Pablo, TPSMA Secretary Lois Page, TPSMA Board Member John Houser.
For more information about the Memorial go to: www.suffragistmemorial.org
Please help us to bring to light the "best kept secret in American history."
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is a 501(c)(3)non-profit raising funds to build a national suffragist memorial at NOVA Parks' Occoquan Regional Park, in Lorton, Va.
Mission: To educate, inspire, and empower present and future generations to remain vigilant in the quest for equal rights.
Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association,
5400 Ox Road, Fairfax Station, VA 22039