Virginia Is Building a Monument to Hundreds of Women Who Shaped the State's History

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Virginia is getting a new monument featuring exclusively female statues.

Called "Voices from the Garden," it will feature 12 bronze likenesses of women who have left their mark on Virginia's history arranged in an oval of flowerbeds in Richmond's Capitol Square. It will be designed by Brooklyn's Studio EIS.

The statue is intended to amplify the legacies of historical women whose accomplishments have been overlooked for too long. At the moment, there are tons of statues of male historical figures in Capitol Square, including tributes to George Washington, Edgar Allan Poe, and Stonewall Jackson. There is only one statue of a woman: Barbara Johns, an African-American student who led a walkout to protest the segregation of schools.

The women chosen for the 12 figures include Martha Washington as well as a healthy dose of women you might not have heard of, but should know about. There's Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former slave who made a name for herself as a dressmaker and activist and was friends with Mary Todd Lincoln. There's also Cockacoeske, a Pamunkey chief who signed a treaty reuniting several Native American tribes and founded the Pamunkey Reservation. A full rundown of the dozen women can be found here.

Of course, there were many more women who changed the course of Virginia's history; that's why 250 names will be engraved on a glass panel bordering the monument, with 150 blank spaces to be filled in with the names of the state's future female leaders.

The unveiling of the statues is planned for October 12, 2019. You can see a rendering of the monument here.

[h/t Smithsonian]