Carnegie Mellon University

Diane Turnshek

March 05, 2021

NEW: Osher at CMU Lecture Series presents "Breaking the Bronze Ceiling: Getting to Know..." by Lisa Tetrault

Monuments are hot topics these days, as we fight over who gets represented and what they mean. A commission fought to have a statue of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her co-agitator Susan B. Anthony, two famous NY women’s suffragists, inserted into Central Park, which had no female statuary. A controversy then erupted around the idea, where people assailed the racism of Stanton and Anthony, as well as the statue's whiteness, having no women of color.  The winning design was then redone to include the abolitionist Sojourner Truth. Yet controversy surrounds this choice as well, for reasons we’ll discuss.  Installed on the centennial of the adoption of the 19th Amendment for women’s suffrage, August 26, 2020, it continues to be hotly debated. Come learn about these three women, their political careers, the causes they believed in, and why public memory around each continues to be such a flashpoint.  

Dr. Lisa Tetrault is an associate professor of history at Carnegie Mellon University and a leading scholar of the suffrage movement.  She is the author of the prize-winning book, The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898.  A frequent commentator on the recent women’s suffrage centennial, Tetrault also serves as a historical consultant for Nineteenth Amendment projects launched by the National Constitution Center, the Woodrow Wilson House, and, as well as the documentary “The Vote” ( PBS’s American Experience).  The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Library of Congress, Tetrault also won the CMU’s Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Distinguished Teaching.  She is currently at work on a genealogy of the Nineteenth Amendment.