August 30, 2021

Statue Of Suffragist Marie Stuart Edwards Goes Up In Peru

Detail of a photograph of suffragist Marie Stuart Edwards from the Mary Smiley photograph collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library. - Mary Smiley photograph collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library

Detail of a photograph of suffragist Marie Stuart Edwards from the Mary Smiley photograph collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library.

Mary Smiley photograph collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library

PERU, Ind. (AP) — A statue of a top Indiana suffragist has been erected outside the library where she trained and organized other activists for women's right to vote.

The bronze likeness of Marie Stuart Edwards was unveiled Thursday at the Peru Public Library, where Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and Edwards’ two grandsons spoke about her dedication to the cause.

The statue depicts a young Edwards standing by her bicycle and wearing a wide-brimmed hat, gazing into the distance with a look of determination, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

Crouch said women like Edwards made it possible for her to become the state’s second in command.

“We here in this crowd are able to participate in the democratic process, all of us, because of Marie Stewart Edwards,” she said. “We have her, and all that she did and all that she stood for, to thank for our ability to stand here as equals.”

In February 1920, Edwards helped found the nationwide League of Women Voters. Within a year, around 2 million women had joined the nonpartisan organization that pushed to educate women about their new rights as voters.

Congress passed the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote in August 1920.

Work on the $105,000 statue and pocket park surrounding it began after Rediscover Downtown Peru was awarded a $35,000 grant last year to help pay for the project.

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