Categories: Arts and Culture

Louisville Native Pushes To Erect Monuments Of Women Nationwide

Three years ago, when Louisville native Asya Akca left town to attend the University of Chicago, there were no public monuments of women in the city.

Prior to moving, Akca remembered making a video with the group Louisville Girls Leadership in which she asked public officials and leaders about their favorite city monument: Thomas Jefferson and Henry Clay were popular responses.

Then, the same group was asked about their favorite city monument of a woman. The respondents were pretty quiet at that point.

And for good reason. It would be another year before Louisville saw its first public monument of a woman — a statue of Mother Catherine Spalding that was installed in 2015 outside the Cathedral of the Assumption.

Louisville isn’t alone in its lack of public monuments of women; according to a report by The Washington Post, less than eight percent of public outdoor sculptures of individuals in the United States are of women.

“It just always upset me,” Akca said. “I always believed that if young girls had role models that they could look up to — really strong female role models or individuals that they could envision — that they would be inspired to pursue similar roles.”

So, Akca decided to do something about it.

Monumental Women

Dr. Georgiana Rose Simpson

She, along with fellow University of Chicago student Shae Omonijo, founded the organization “Monumental Women,” which raises funds for public statues of historic women that can be erected on campuses and in communities.

The group is installing its first statue this week on the University of Chicago campus. It will be of Dr. Georgiana Rose Simpson, one of the first African-American women to earn a Ph.D. in the United States.

Akca hopes the mission of “Monumental Women” will inspire other college campuses and cities to make similar strides — especially as public memorials to monuments, including those of the Confederacy, become topics of national discussion and reflection.

“The conversation about replacing those [monuments] with others that share a more full picture of our history and what happened is really critical,” Akca said. “And I hope we can continue that conversation.”

Featured Image: Monumental Women co-founders Asya Aka and Shae Omonijo.

Ashlie Stevens

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter. Her main interests include art, food and drink, and urban preservation. Among other publications, her work has been featured in print or on the web at The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, Salon, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, Louisville Magazine and Eater.

Share
Published by
Ashlie Stevens
Tags: monumental women

Recent Posts

  • Community

Louisville Continues Crackdown On Homeless Camps

The city is planning to clear out another homeless camp downtown, leaving some people who live there wondering where to…

November 19, 2018 10:00 am
  • Arts and Culture

‘What I Was Wearing’: U of L Exhibit Confronts Question Asked Of Sexual Assault Survivors

The exhibit features clothing worn by sexual assault survivors at the time of their assault, and quotes from those individuals.

November 19, 2018 7:00 am
  • Environment

Shading Out Solar: State Policies In Ohio Valley Dim Future Of Energy Jobs

A recent Consumer Reports survey found more than 75 percent of Americans support increasing renewable energy.

November 19, 2018 6:00 am
  • Politics

Bevin To Require State Contractors Promise They Don’t Boycott Israel

Similar policies have been approved in 25 other states, but federal courts have struck down measures in Arizona and Kansas…

November 18, 2018 4:59 pm
  • Commentary
  • Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit: When Your Moms Are White (And You’re Not)

Morgan Rumple was raised by a white lesbian couple who lived in a nearly all-white community.

November 17, 2018 1:16 pm
  • Politics

Supreme Court To Weigh In On Dispute Over Census Citizenship Question Evidence

The high court will weigh whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can be deposed and what other evidence can be considered.

November 17, 2018 9:24 am