NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It was several years in the making, and on Friday a new women’s suffrage monument was unveiled at Centennial Park in Nashville.
Alma Sanford has been waiting for this day for a long time. It was her idea to bring the monument to the park.
“When I was a child I grew up on a farm near here, and I would come to Nashville and I would go to the state capitol and wonder why there were no women,” said Sanford.
Ten years ago, Sanford started raising money for the monument. Her first donation was from her sister in the amount of $100. She carried a copy of that check with her on Friday.
“I knew she could. I knew this would come out just like this, I knew it would. When she gets a hold of something, get out of her way because it is going to be accomplished. Always. She’s the president of our family and I am 10 years older than she is,” said her sister, Jane Sanford.
Sanford created a board and several community leaders joined in the effort, hosting fundraisers and approaching people for donations.
In six years, the board of women raised more than $700,000 in private donations to bring the Women’s Suffrage Monument to Centennial Park.
“After it was unveiled and they got all of the packing off of it, our great artist, Alan LeQuire, came up to it and looked at me and said, ‘What do you think?’ and I said, ‘It’s perfect,’ and I cried,” said Sanford.
“We were really all focused on these five women and their lifestyles and their stories, so it was exciting to me to learn their history,” said LeQuire.
Nashville’s Mayor Megan Barry and several other influential speakers discussed the significance of the Women’s Suffrage monument, which was unveiled on Women’s Equality Day.
“The magnitude of what happened here today, is that we finally have a statute to commemorate that important event 96 years ago, where Tennessee lead the way in helping women get the right to vote,” said Mayor Barry.
Sanford told News 2 the monument is dedicated to the future generations of Tennessee.
The five women honored in the new monument are:
- Anne Dallas Dudley of Nashville
- Abby Crawford Milton of Chattanooga
- J Frankie Pierce of Nashville
- Sue Shelton White of Jackson
- Carrie Chapman Catt, the National Suffrage leader who came to Tennessee to direct the pro-suffrage forces from the Hermitage Hotel