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The Cora di Brazzà Foundation utilized "Projection Mapping" technology to map/project a digital narrative about the Women's Equality Movement onto replicas of Adelaide Johnson's "Portrait Monument." The entire narrative can be viewed below. Archival research was conducted by Dr. Hope Elizabeth May.

At 8 minutes and 26 seconds, symbolizing the day on which the 19th Amendment took effect (August 26, 1920), the digital narrative of "Forward Into Light" contains numerous pictures and video from several different archives, including those of the National Woman's Party (held by the Library of Congress). Learn more about some of the stories in this narrative below. To understand these stories is to see that the Portrait Monument is a story about the erasure of important stories and persons, and the work that needs to be done to bring these hidden treasures forward and upward into consciousness.
Have a question about the narrative that is not answered here? If so, send an email here

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One of the important stories that is *NOT* projected onto the statue is the quote on the *back* of one of the statues. Sculptor Adelaide Johnson (1859-1955) stenciled this quote - which she had been working on for a number of years - onto the back of the original 5 ton Portrait Monument that is located in the U.S. Capitol. Sometime in 1921, the quote was removed from the statue. To this day, the statue stands without the quote. We have restored it here, intended by Johnson to be found by the "thinker and the student" — i.e, the one who decided to walk around it in the Capitol. Candice Russell, who sculpted this replica, has restored the quote via an intricate process involving the application of 24karat gold leaf. Read the entire inscription here.
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1) Video (Right): Suffragists of the National Woman's Party picket the White House in 1917. More about the video here.
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2) Photo: The ceremony of the unveiling of the Portrait Monument in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol (Feb. 15 1921). More about the photo here.
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3) Video: Adelaide Johnson, sculptor of the Portrait Monument, and Alice Paul, leader of the National Woman's Party at the unveiling of the monument on Feb. 15, 1921.The video appears at the end of a longer video on the suffrage movement and can be viewed here (scroll to 2:37).
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4) Animated Quote: "The swift answer of my soul was it must be done !" So said Adelaide Johnson to herself when the opportunity to sculpt Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, yet again, at age 61, to mark the passage of the 19th Amendment. Yet, the 19th Amendment had not yet passed when Johnson was asked to do this, and there were many other uncertainties indeed. Quote appears on p. 67 of Sandra Weber's book on the Portrait Monument.
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5) Photos: "Do suggest something fierce for us to do" requested one of the foot soldiers of the National Woman's Party. Led by Alice Paul, the National Woman's Party staged elaborate non-violent actions with banners, flags pageantry, and in some cases, fire. While President Wilson was negotiating the Versailles Peace Treaty ending World War I, the National Woman's Party in 1919 staged dramatic demonstrations to pressure Senate to vote on the 19th Amendment. President Wilson, claimed to fighting World War I "for democracy." The National Woman's Party noted the hypocrisy of this statement time and again. During the "Watchfire of Freedom" campaigns, a ceremonial bell would ring while the suffragists would burn the words of Wilson that mentioned democracy. The banner reads: "President Wilson is deceiving the world when he appears as the prophet of democracy. President Wilson has opposed those who demand democracy for this country. He is responsible for the disenfranchisement of millions of Americans. The world will find him out." View the photo here.
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6) Photos: Pageant titled "Forward Into Light" in August 1924. More about the photo here.
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7) Photos: Early statues of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott sculpted by Adelaide Johnson, circa 1892. Johnson first sculpted the "Great Three" in her early 30s. Photos courtesy of Sandra Weber.
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8) Video and Animated Quote. The video is of Alice Paul at the unveiling of the Portrait Monument (see item 3 above). The animated quote "I decided that the only way to get it done was to endeavor to do it myself" is quoted in Alice Paul: Claiming Power (p. 125). The quote is in reference to Paul's decision to campaign for a Federal Suffrage Amendment, a tactic which was rejected by the older, more established suffrage organization: The National American Woman Suffrage Association (or "NAWSA"). NAWSA's approach was a state-by-state approach. Paul created her own organization, the National Woman's Party (NWP), which pursued suffrage via Constitutional Amendment. The NWP also adopted more controversial tactics such as the Watchfire Campaigns (see number 5 above) to "get it done." For an excellent film about Paul's effort, see Iron Jawed Angels.
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9) Video Left: Frederick Gillette (Speaker of the House (R-MA)), Jane Addams and Sara Bard Field at the statue's unveiling Feb. 15, 1921. Video Right: Jane Addams in Berlin in 1915, as an envoy of the International Congress of Women which convened in The Hague with the aim of ending World War 1 through a process of mediation. Addams was the first U.S. woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1931). The video on the left can be viewed here (scroll to 2:37). The 1915 video (on the right), can be accessed here.
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10) Photo: Left: Speaker Gillette, Jane Addams and Sara Bard Field at the statue's unveiling Feb. 15, 1921. Addams and Field, both peace activists, spoke at the statue's unveiling. Video Right: Jane Addams at the unveiling (same video as the one 9 above, to the left). View it here (scroll to 2:37). The photo can be viewed here.
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11) Photo: Alice Paul kneels at the grave of Susan B. Anthony (1923) as part of a ceremony launching the Lucretia Mott Amendment (also known as the Equal Rights Amendment). Anita Pollitzer standing. Access the photo here.
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12) Dr. Caroline Sparks at the Monument on Women's Equality Day (August 26) 1990, when it was displayed in the Crypt of the Capitol. In 1978, Dr. Sparks stumbled upon the statue in the Crypt and resolved to raise it to the Rotunda. In 1997 it finally was. To access this 1990 video, click here. To listen to podcast interviews with Dr. Sparks (in 2021), click here,
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13) Video: Moving the 5 ton Portrait Monument from the Crypt to the Rotunda, 1997. Networks of women worked together to raise the statue to its original, intended destination, a more prominent place in the Rotunda. To view the video, click here. To listen to a podcast interview with Dr. Caroline Sparks about the effort, click here.
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14) Video: The (second) unveiling of the portrait monument in 1997. The successful completion of the campaign to raise the statue and return it to the Rotunda. To view the video, click here. To listen to a podcast interview with Dr. Caroline Sparks about the effort, click here.
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15) Video: The (second) unveiling of the portrait monument in 1997 was not without controversy. A diverse coalition objected to the monument's failure to present a more inclusive view of the women's suffrage women, and the contribution of black women. The Sojourner Truth Crusade, led by C. Dolores Tucker, lobbied (unsuccessfully) to have Sojourner Truth chiseled onto Johnson's statue. This video is from a 2002 press conference of the Sojourner Truth Crusade. Click here to view the video.
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16) Photo: Sojourner Truth (1797-1883). Born into slavery as Isabella Baumfree, Truth changed her name after hearing a call to become a pilgrim for Truth and Righteousness. Inspired by Frederick Douglass to publish a narrative of her life, Truth became a well known speaker and delivered her most famous oration "Ain't I A Woman" at a suffrage gathering. The August 1915 issue of The Crisis (the official magazine of the NAACP), includes a symposium tiled 'Votes for Women' and uses a photo of Abraham Lincoln and Truth on its cover. This issue contains arguments of blacks supporting "Votes for Women" by men such as Judge Robert Terrell (husband of peace activist and suffragist Mary Church Terrell) and women such as Carrie Clifford. Access that issue here. A likeness of Truth was included in the suffrage statue unveiled in Central Park, NY on August 26, 1920 (the centennial of the 19th Amendment). Learn more about the NY statue here, and learn more about Sojourner Truth, here.
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Forward Into Light is an initiative of the Cora di Brazzà Foundation.
©2024 Hope Elizabeth May/The Cora di Brazzà Foundation