Virginia Women’s Monument unveiled, makes history

Virginia Women’s Monument unveiled, makes history

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A sea of hundreds of people flooded the state Capitol garden Monday to see the unveiling of nation’s first monument dedicated solely to women.

The life-sized bronze depictions of women aren’t on pedestals, ponies or holding weapons. Instead, they’re positioned around a sun dial, backed by a glass wall etched with the names of 230 other influential women, with room for more.

The nation’s first monument dedicated solely to women was unveiled in Richmond on Oct. 14, 2019.
The nation’s first monument dedicated solely to women was unveiled in Richmond on Oct. 14, 2019. (Source: NBC12)

Some famous, some lesser known, all are indispensable players in Virginia’s 400 year history.

The 12 are:

  • Ann Burras Laydon (c. 1594-after 1625) Jamestown
  • Cockacoeske (fl. 1656- d. 1686) Jamestown
  • Mary Draper Ingles (c.1732-1815)-Southwest Virginia
  • Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802)-Fairfax
  • Clementina Bird Rind (1740-1774)-Williamsburg
  • Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818-1907)-Dinwiddie
  • Sally Louisa Tompkins (1833-1916)-Mathews Co
  • Maggie L. Walker (1864-1934)-Richmond
  • Sarah G. Boyd Jones (1866-1905)-Richmond
  • Laura Lu Copenhaver (1868-1940)- Smyth Co./Marion
  • Virginia Estelle Randolph (1875-1958) – Henrico
  • Adele Goodman Clark (1882-1983)-Richmond

Laura Lu Copenhaver, from southwest virginia, for example, taught women the art of textiles and helped them create their own businesses.

Her decedents attended Monday’s unveiling, knowing her legacy will live on.

“I want everyone, not just girls, to see this monument and have role models,” Rita Copenhaver, one of Laura Lu’s great grandchildren by marriage said.

The unveiling was timely, happening during the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote.

The unveiling happened during the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote.
The unveiling happened during the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote. (Source: NBC12)

Politicians such as the governor, the first lady and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax attended the historic event.

But it was the girl scouts from across the commonwealth who did the honors, revealing the bronze masterpieces that were 10 years in the making.

And maybe one day the girls admiring the statues today will have done something so monumental that their names, too, will be etched at the capitol for all to see.

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