Celebrating and Honoring the Efforts of Exceptional Women
Saturday, October 31, dozens of community members gathered on the bank of the Rock River just south of the YMCA Log Lodge for the dedication of a new piece of public art. The sculpture, which commemorates the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which secured the right to vote for women in the United States, is a project of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Celebration Northern Illinois committee. It is the first public art installation dedicated solely to women in the region.
Under the guidance of artist Susan Burton, dozens of volunteers cut tiles and crafted the large mosaic panels and sculpture base by hand. The primary colors used are purple, gold, and white, the colors of the American suffrage movement. The first panel features Rockford suffragist and business woman Kate O'Connor. The second, Dr. Constance L. Goode, Rockford educator and civil right activist. The third side of the sculpture represents the future and features four young women from different cultures and ethnicities who are able to freely exercise their rights and their vote.
Among the notable attendees were four members of Dr. Constance Goode's family, her son Andre, daughter Alicia Gladney, and granddaughters Krystalyn Goode and Gabriella Gladney, who shared special memories of Dr. Goode and exhorted those in attendance to remember and honor the efforts of suffragists and civil rights activists by voting and by working to protect the rights of all Americans.
The Community Foundation of Northern Illinois supported the Women's Suffrage Centennial Sculpture with a 2019 Community Grant. In summer 2020 CFNIL also worked with an anonymous donor who matched gifts made to the Dr. Constance L. Goode Memorial Scholarship with a donation of $10,000 to the sculpture project.
Below, view a video of Dr. Goode's granddaughters reading a letter written by their grandfather about their grandmother during the dedication ceremony.