Every Word We Utter
By Jane DeDecker
National Sculptors’ Guild
Welcome: Jane Rogers
Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.
Governor Asa Hutchinson
Artist Jane DeDecker
Unveiling: Jane Rogers
“Every Word We Utter” is a Monument to the Women’s Suffrage Movement. The monument commemorates the largest nonviolent revolution in our nation’s history — the movement for women’s right to vote. Dedicated to Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the monument will mark the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, the women’s right to vote.
“Every word we utter, every act we perform … are wafted into enumerable other circles …”
— Elizabeth Cady Stanton reflecting on the life of Lucretia Mott
“When we see them (historic female figures), we’re reminded. It’s important that we see these women, every day. Seeing them every day will help us to remember their goals and remember their aspirations. Sending a message to every woman that they do have a voice and they can use their voice. I hope the monument inspires young women… little girls.”
— Jane DeDecker, Artist
“With her sculpture, Every Word We Utter, Jane DeDecker has captured the significance of the 19th Amendment to our state and our nation. Little Rock is fortunate to be able to add another of Ms. DeDecker’s works to its impressive collection of public outdoor art.”
— Governor Asa Hutchinson
“There were many brave women in Little Rock and across Arkansas who worked tirelessly to ensure a woman’s right to vote. This sculpture recognizes them and also reminds us how these important stories from our past still impact our lives today.”
— Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism
“The 19th Amendment was important in broadening the definition of ‘We the People’ as enshrined in the U. S. Constitution. It recognized the value and contributions of the often overlooked one-half of the population. By enfranchising women of all races, it also helped pave the way for the Civil Rights movement.”
— Mayor Frank Scott, Jr., City of Little Rock
“As the 100th anniversary was approaching, descendants of some of those early Arkansas suffragists started telling stories about the remarkable Arkansas women who fought for over seventy years for this basic right. It is our hope this plaza will be a focal point to inspire people to want to know more about these Arkansas women suffragists.”
— Dr. Dean Kumpuris, Founder, Sculpture at the River Market
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
“Every word we utter, every act we perform waft unto innumerable circles, beyond … “
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton
I believe the words of the suffragists still resonate, for these words were meant for action. Indeed, these words became action. Actions became the movement. The movement continues to set the world right-side up again. When a water droplet impacts a body of water it pushes outward and rebounds upward as a smaller droplet. This “daughter droplet” – gains height – falling back to the water in what is called a coalescent cascade. This describes the height, breadth, and lasting impact of the suffragists’ work.
Jane DeDecker – Artist
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony became a unified force. Their words, speeches and wisdom launched a worldwide, peaceful revolution. These two women offer us the courage and the tools to be the stewards of human rights.
A beacon for the movement, Sojourner Truth, was among the first voices of the women’s movement. Looking to the future, the horizon, to a place where women- together- will turn the world “right side up again”. She is the guardian of the belief that women should have the right to vote.
The young Harriet Stanton Blatch, represents the future. She absorbs her mother’s words while holding onto a bonnet, a symbol of the suffragist she will become. Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells are at the peak of the coalescence, one in their mission.
Their juxtaposition at the height of the sculpture, symbolizes their individual struggles towards equality. Neither one of these women would take no for an answer. They rise, the next generation of the movement, the “Daughters” who were victorious in the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. Ida B. Wells is holding the flag of We the People. Alice Paul drapes the ratification flag down, the coalescent cascade, to the innumerable circles that ripple outwards.
This sculpture features two Arkansas women: Josephine Miller Brown and Julia Burnell “Bernie” Babcock. Brown came to Arkansas to work on the woman’s suffrage movement and decided to make it her home, while Babcock grew up in the state and learned about the suffrage effort as a teenager. Both have descendants in Arkansas to this day. This duo was chosen to represent the many women who worked on the suffrage movement.
Some were from Arkansas, others came hereall of them worked for decades in this state to advance the cause of women’s suffrage. Other courageous women who were part of the decades-long women’s suffrage effort in Arkansas include: Frances Reeve Edmonson Almand, Freda Hogan Amerigner, Dr. Ida Joe Brooks, Mary Ascena Burt Brooks, Anne Wade Roark Brough, Haryot Holt Cahoon, Florence Lee Brown Cotnam, Cate Campbell Cuningham, Eliza Bradshaw Dodge, Mary Fletcher Drennan, Pauline Floyd, Elizabeth Wallin Foster, Minnie Ursula Oliver Rutherford Fuller, Lizzie Dorman Fyler, Mary Knapp, Mary W. Lough borough, Clara Alma Cox McDiarmid, Josephine Irvin Harris Pankey, Charlotte Andrews Stephens, Adolphine Fletcher Terry, and Gertrude Watkins. On August 18, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, was officially added to the United States Constitution when Tennessee became the 36th state to approve it.
The proposed amendment was submitted to the states on June 4, 1919 after passing both houses of Congress. The effort for women’s suffrage dates to the founding of the United States but picked up momentum after the 1848 Seneca Falls convention.
Many of the early leaders in the women’s suffrage movement had also been active in the abolition and temperance movements. Several attempts to pass a women’s suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution failed between the 1870s and 1910s. At the same time, some states and cities started granting women the right to vote in their elections.
The U.S. entry into World War I seems to have been a catalyst for the final push which led to the Nineteenth Amendment. Women took a more active role in the war effort, raising their visibility and prompting President Woodrow Wilson to endorse the idea of women’s suffrage in 1918.
The Nineteenth Amendment added 26 million American women to the electorate in time for the 1920 Presidential election. On July 28, 1919, Arkansas became the 12th state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. The vote took place in a special session called by Governor Charles Brough, who had endorsed women’s suffrage in his 1919 Inaugural Address.
Two years earlier, Arkansas had given women the right to vote, but only in party primaries. This was not the first attempt at granting Arkansas women the vote. In 1868, a bill was introduced to allow voting regardless of gender, but it failed. As throughout the United States, the efforts to establish women’s suffrage in Arkansas began prior to the Civil War. By 1869, articles started appearing in local newspapers about women’s suffrage efforts. In 1881, the Arkansas Woman Suffrage Association had been founded.
The Arkansas Equal Suffrage Association was created in 1888. Both early groups disbanded when their leaders died. However, they planted the seeds for future efforts. The Political Equality League was founded in Little Rock in 1911. That year an amendment to the Arkansas Constitution was proposed which would have granted women the right to vote. While it failed, the effort created momentum, and women’s suffrage leagues were created throughout Arkansas which led to ultimate victory in 1919.
XIX AMENDMENT DONORS
In Memory of Josephine Miller Brown
Margaret Windsor Clark
In Honor of Mary Catherine Conner, Grace & Caroline
Kay Kelley Arnold
In Honor of Lindsley Armstrong Smith for her efforts to secure equal rights for women
Gaylia Causey Fortson
Barbara Josephine Rogers Hoover
In Memory of Anne, Kula & Rose
In Honor of Kate, Virginia, Anya & Tally
City of Little Rock
In Honor of all women past & present who have worked here
In Memory of Ruth Rebsamen Remmel
In Honor of my daughter & granddaughters
Katherine Ann Kumpuris Trotter
In Memory of my mother, Kula Makris Kumpuris
Sandra Russell Alstadt
In Honor of Kay Kelley Arnold
Arkansas Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemoration Committee
Mary Patricia Brown
In Honor of: Carolyn, Angela, Arabella, Anne, Lilah, Bailey, Josephine
Meredith Polk Catlett
In Memory of my mother, Janet S. Polk
President Bill Clinton & Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton
In Honor of Kay Kelley Arnold
Linda & Rush Harding
Sarah Brown Hopkins & Josephine Brown Osborne
In Honor of the work Josephine Miller Brown did in Arkansas
for: Sarah, Josephine, Elizabeth, Virginia, Catherine, Anna
Mimi Margaret Myer Hurst
In Honor of all my Margarets
The League of Women Voters of Pulaski County
Marilynn Moseley Porter
In Honor of Emery & Reese Porter & Beth Porter & Ginny Porter
Cindy Thomas Pugh
Jane Wickard Rogers
In Honor of Betty, Josie, Alice, Ruth Anne
Joanna & Robert Seibert
Tom & Elizabeth Small
In Memory of Sarah Posey Smith & Nannie Jo Glover Small
Descendants of Mary Lucretia Dudley Spargo
In Memory of Mary Lucretia Dudley Spargo (1846 – 1929)
Stephanie Haught Wade
Sherry & Bill Walker
Mary Remmel Wohlleb
In Memory of Ruth Rebsamen Remmel
Irene C. Davis
Janis F. Kearney
In Honor of Daisy Batson Bates
In Honor of Molly Buford & Mary Ellen Askew
Annabelle Imber Tuck
City of Little Rock
Jay, Ross & Chris Cranford – (Cranford Co.)
In Honor of Frances Jane Cranford
Little Rock Convention & Visitors Bureau
Little Rock Marriott
Little Rock School District
Old State House
Sculpture at the River Market
In Memory of Georgia