Monumental Women

Dec 9, 2013


After scouring four centuries of Virginia history—a dozen women have been selected to be memorialized with a bronze monument on Richmond’s Capitol Square.

There are well-known historical figures—and a few who aren’t necessarily household names--
The First of the first ladies Martha Washington is there—as is the first female chief of the Pamunkey Indian tribe, Cockacoeske. The first married female settler is named—she’s Ann Burras Laydon of Jamestown.
There’s also frontierwoman Mary Draper Ingles, confederate Hospital Administrator Sally Louisa Tompkins, and former slave and seamstress Elizabeth Keckley.

Mary Margaret Whipple, who is on the Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission, says culling the list to just a dozen was a difficult task, considering how many distinguished women have made the history books in Virginia.

African-American physician Sarah G. Boyd Jones was the first woman to pass the state's medical board examinations. She made the cut, along with Maggie L. Walker, the first African American woman to charter a bank in the U.S.

Adele Goodman Clark fought for voting rights for women. Virginia Estelle Randolph was an educator from Henrico County.  They join entrepreneur Laura Lu Copenhaver, and Virginia Gazette publisher Clementina Reid.

The interactive monument will be called Voices in the Garden.  Fundraising continues, as the project is expected to cost $3 million.  The commission is hopeful it will be complete in 2015.