The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC) will commemorate 100 years of women’s constitutional right to vote with National Women’s Suffrage Month by sponsoring a mosaic of the iconic suffragist and civil rights leader, Ida B. Wells, in the Main Hall of Union Station in Washington, DC.
From August 24-28, the 1,000 square-foot mosaic, titled Our Story: Portraits of Change, will be displayed on the marble floor, assembled from thousands of historical photos of suffragists, with each image telling its own story about the fight for women’s right to vote. The project will be completed in partnership with visual artist Helen Marshall of the People’s Picture and Christina Korp of Purpose Entertainment. An interactive online version of the mosaic is available for visitors to zoom in on photos and learn more about the suffragists depicted at ourstory100.com.
As the starting location of the suffrage “Prison Special” tour in February 1919, Union Station in Washington, D.C. played an important role in the American suffrage movement. The “Prison Special” was a train tour organized by suffragists who had been jailed for picketing the White House in support of the federal women’s suffrage amendment. In February 1919, 26 members of the National Woman’s Party boarded a chartered train they dubbed the “Democracy Limited” at Union Station, and they visited cities across the country to speak to large crowds about their experiences as political prisoners.
“One of my favorite quotes from the suffrage movement comes from the newspaper The Revolution. Its motto was ‘men their rights and nothing more, women their rights and nothing less,'” said Anna Laymon, WSCC Executive Director. “This quote captures the spirit of the decades-long suffrage movement, and with her leadership in the fight for suffrage and civil rights, Ida B. Wells is the perfect example of someone who would settle for nothing less than full justice and equality. The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission is proud to honor her legacy and celebrate the thousands of women who fought for the right to vote with this mosaic in Union Station.”
“I am beyond grateful to have enjoyed so many of the choices brought to me by the generations of women before me. In 2018, I created the ‘Face of Suffrage’ to commemorate the centenary of the women’s vote in United Kingdom and never in a million years did I imagine it would lead to a giant artwork of prominent suffragist Ida B Wells’ at such an incredible location in the United States. Communication between women’s movements happened at mostly the same time in the U.S, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. I see this artwork as a truly international commemoration, and I hope that many will enjoy seeing it in person and exploring it in its full interactive glory online in the safety of their homes,” said Helen Marshall, Artist of the People’s Picture.
“We are so proud to highlight and honor Ida B. Wells as the main subject of the Our Story photo mosaic. Her story as a suffragist, civil rights activist and investigative journalist is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago. We hope this project will inspire the public to learn more about her and countless others featured within the digital interactive mosaic online,” said Christina Korp, Executive Producer of Purpose Entertainment.
The installation is a signature event of National Women’s Suffrage Month, a month-long celebration honoring the history of women’s fight for the vote in August 2020, designated by Congress in collaboration with the WSCC. Learn more about the WSCC and upcoming National Women’s Suffrage Month events at womensvote100.org/suffragemonth.