During my visit to Richmond a couple weeks ago, I was able to attend the Groundbreaking for the Virginia Women’s Monument. I’d attended an event several months prior and learned about this amazing project, and immediately started doing my part (my very, very small part) in helping to get the word out about it.
In 2010, the General Assembly established the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission to “recommend an appropriate monument in Capitol Square to commemorate the contributions of the women of Virginia”.
“Voices from the Garden is the first monument of its kind in the nation recognizing the full range of women’s contributions. Voices takes the form of an oval shaped garden that encompasses twelve bronze statues of significant women from different centuries, backgrounds, and areas of the state. The statues will be surrounded by a glass panel, etched with names of other noteworthy Virginia women”.
It was a bright, beautiful December morning, and I was glad that I arrived early as the seats filled in quickly and it was soon standing room only.
One of the attendees was Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818 – 1907). The actress (I wrote down her name, but regrettably I lost the slip of paper) portraying Elizabeth stayed in character during the ceremony and shared some of her story.
A slave who bought her freedom, Elizabeth became Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress and confidant during the White House years.
She established the Contraband Relief Association, which provided support for recently freed slaves and wounded soldiers, and she wrote a book called “Behind the Scenes in the Lincoln White House: Memoirs of an African-American Seamstress”.
Governor McAuliffe, long a champion of this project was present as was Nancy Rodrigues, Secretary of the Administration and a chief fundraiser for the project.
After the ceremony, many people picked up a shovel and took the opportunity to be captured in a photo. Of course, I had to as well!
The inspirational woman on the right, in response to my comment about how I didn’t really break the ground said “oh yes you did. We ALL did, and we still are”.
How right she is!
Fundraising still needs to be done. Please follow this link if you’d like to contribute to the Virginia Women’s Monument.
This is awesome!! What a wonderful initiative and you’ve captured the day so beautifully in your photos. The pix of the woman portraying Keckley are the best–I loved learning about this woman and seeing that dress! The juxtaposition of the elegant fabric and the spade and the proud face–I got tingles down my spine!
Your comment makes ME happy! ❤
Wonderful images and post Laurie 🙂 Somehow I knew you would pick up a shovel.
You know me well, my friend! I miss you guys!
We miss you too 🙂
Great pictures, as usual, and what an event! Very inspiring!
Thanks Cindy! Can’t wait to spend a bit more time with you!
What a wonderful initiative! Long overdue of course, but the times, they are a-changin’ 🙂 I so love finding you in the midst of these historic moments ❤
Pauline, my dear friend. I’m so behind on replies, but loved reading your comment. Tis fun to be in the midst of these moments. Next big moment: the Inauguration of our new Governor!
Lovely story with your customary brilliant photography
Derrick, your comment put such a smile on my face. Thank you
Thank you for sharing this initiative. I wouldn’t have known about it without your post. It’s extraordinary what women did, seemingly against all odds. They were fearless, competent and remarkable resilient. I’m glad to see they are finally getting their due.
Photos of you always make me smile. The rest of your pics are equally wonderful. As a costumer, i especially appreciate the details of her costume/dress. Magnificent.
Isn’t that dress amazing? I wish I’d had the opportunity to spend more time photographing her, instead of just shooting on the fly. She was incredible – so much spunk and spirt (the actress as well as the woman she portrayed!)
This is one of those posts where I wish there was a *LOVE* button instead of just *like*. Women so often are the movers-and-shakers behind the scenes that keep things moving forward, and as Born to Organize said, it’s done with remarkable resilience.
Beautiful photos, Laurie, and congratulations to the women of Virginia!
Joanne, thank you for your generous comment. YOU GET IT!!
I was honored to be there.
Sending happy and peaceful thoughts to you this holiday season, and also hoping I can visit your blog this coming weekend!