In the late 1980s, a young girl on a class trip walking Boston’s Freedom Trail asked, “Where are the women?” She sparked a movement to make the landscape of Boston more inclusive.
The Boston Women’s Memorial honors three important contributors to Boston’s rich history—presidential adviser and wife Abigail Adams, suffragist and abolitionist Lucy Stone and poet Phillis Wheatley. Each of these women had progressive ideas that were ahead of her time, was committed to social change, and left a legacy through her writings that had a significant impact on history. The sculptures were installed in 2003 on the historic Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Rather that “putting women up on a pedestal,” the artist, Meredith Bergmann, showed them at work at their pedestals, which are engraved with quotations.
Boston also created a “Ladies Walk,” a reference to Abigail Adams’ advice to her husband, John, in an April 5, 1776 letter: “I long to hear that you have declared an independency — and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.” The walk takes you past twelve sites that were important to these women.