Susan B. Anthony is unveiled at the Town Common by members of the committee who raised more than $300,000 for the statue and event. Another party will be held on Aug. 21. See the entire ceremony here.
ADAMS, Mass. — Susan B. Anthony was arrested when she tried to vote in the 1872 presidential election. But in 2020, more than half the 158,000,000 votes in the presidential election were cast by women.
"We've come so far, but we have many miles to go," said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at the unveiling of the Susan B. Anthony monument on Thursday morning.
The bronze statue has been waiting patiently since last fall to be presented to the public. The piece by artist Brian Hanlon consists of three parts: Anthony as a girl reading a book; the suffragette as an adult orating; and a three-tiered step. Referring to this latter part, Polito said that "this is a solid step that this girl took and made it possible for all women in this country to be able to vote and have their voices heard."
Adams' native daughter would not live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment assuring women the right to vote, but her efforts and those of others were critical to what would be called the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.
The lieutenant governor offered a personal perspective of how she had returned to her own hometown after graduating from college and law school and became involved in its civic life by attending town meetings, serving on appointed boards and then being elected to the board of selectmen 26 years ago.
"That's all I ever wanted to do was serve my hometown, and make it a little bit better for the next generation, and 26 years later, I stand here as the fourth woman elected as a lieutenant governor in the commonwealth of Massachusetts," she said.
The safety and support of her community had helped spur her career, the same type of support that Adams has given its children over the years by investing in their education and community needs, the lieutenant governor said, pointing to the statue of Anthony as a child.
"When you see this young girl ... those seven years were so important for Susan B. Anthony, those seven years in this community gave her the foundation to rise up and be the strong woman that we know and will always remember to be. The seven years she had were critical to her future and to our future," Polito said.
"I want for my daughter, what Susan B. Anthony had when she was 7 years old, and when she became adult. I want her to have the opportunity to achieve her dream, whatever that dream may be, wherever that dream may take her."
Both she and Selectmen Vice Chairwoman Christine Hoyt reflected on that experience in the voting booth, Polito saying she remembers entering with her daughter on her hip for a "very personal and very emotional experience."
"I'm never going to stop thinking about the work of Susan B. Anthony or thanking her every time I step into the voter's booth to cast my vote, letting my voice be heard," said Hoyt. "When I am in the voting booth I think of Susan's work and the many women who came after and who paved the way for myself and for other women who serve in an elected position.
She introduced the distinguished guests but left some for last to direct attention to the elected women in the crowd: Adams Town Clerk Haley Meczywor, Town Treasurer Kelly Rice, Town Assessor Paula Wheeler, Town Moderator Myra Wilk, Northern Berkshire Register of Deeds Maria T. Ziemba, North Adams City Councilor Lisa Blackmer, town meeting members and, of course, Polito.
Originally scheduled for August of 2020 — to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Anthony's birth and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment's passage — the event instead took place on Thursday after COVID-19 waylaid the plans for the celebration last year.
Also attending were state Sen. Adam Hinds, state Reps. John Barrett III, William "Smitty" Pignatelli and Paul Mark, and representatives for Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer and Berkshire County District Attorney Andrea Harrington. State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier sent regrets.
Town Administrator Jay Green was master of ceremonies and the statue was unveiled by members of the Adams Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee and an Anthony relative.
Sculptor Brian Hanlon presents the lieutenant governor with a replica of the statue. See more photos here.
Selectmen Chairman John Duval noted the work of the committee created in 2016 to prepare a celebration of Anthony on the anniversary of her birth.
Duval said more than $300,000 was raised in order to commission a statue and to plan a celebration. This money, according to Green, came from more than 7,500 donors. The "gold-level" donors were Adams Community Bank, the Armand and Donald Feigenbaum Foundation, the Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick Trust, and others.
Green said it was "still somewhat surreal to be able to stand here" and address the crowd in the wake of the pandemic shutdowns. He also noted that this was the first event to take place at the renovated Town Common, which came together as part of a partnership with the state. The project cost $475,000, of which $297,500 came in the form of a state grant.
A former baseball player, Hinds said, "you never really want to step up into the batter's box after somebody hit a grand slam. And it feels like Team Adams just hit a grand slam" with the Greylock Glen project. "And yet," Hinds continued, "Team Adams steps into the batter's box and hits another home run with this statue."
Hinds reflected on Anthony's statue in the wake of some states passing voting laws that restrict access to the ballot box, at least compared with the 2020 election. Looking at Anthony's statue, he asked, "have we achieved her dream?"
Barrett struck a similar note. "Today," Barrett said, "we could use Susan B. Anthony in a lot of states throughout this country, who are now trying to take away voting rights of so many of our citizens." Barrett also noted that the fact that Anthony was born in Adams reflected the "grit" of the people of the Northern Berkshires, who "never gave up" during the pandemic and other hardships.
Hanlon said he was "so overwhelmed with different emotions" at the unveiling. His studio, which is based in New Jersey, is committed to crafting statues of women leaders throughout the country. "I must pursue these historical markers," Hanlon said. "I'm just getting started."
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Adams Firefighters Extinguish a Columbia Street Fire
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Fire Department snuffed out a stove fire on Saturday morning that damaged Housing Authority units on 4 Columbia St.
Firefighters responded for a reported fire alarm activation. On arrival, Chief John Pansecchi was advised there was a fire on the stove.
The first arriving assistant chiefs stretched a 1 3/4 line into the apartment and extinguished the blaze.
The fire had extended up the wall into the vent fan over the stove and to the cabinets, where it started to burn. The vent fan and a cabinet were removed and the wall behind the stove was opened up to check for extension.
The Fire Department will hold a virtual meeting to go over some findings from the recent Organizational Assessment and Strategic Plan that could inform some changes within the Fire District. click for more
Cariddi owned and operated Cariddi Auto in North Adams from 1982 until June of this year. He sold it to Hampshire Towing and, in order to stay busy during his retirement, opened a retail store in the heart of the Mother Town.
click for more
Five Berkshire communities have received more than a half-million in state grants this week for streetscape improvements, including a $28,000 grant to Williamstown to turn a downtown street into a parklet. click for more
The run was a popular motorcycle ride that was an annual event in Berkshire County from 1982 until 2017. Originally a small group of friends, the ride quickly morphed into a 2,000-plus rider event that raised more than a half-million dollars for local charities, especially Shriners Hospital.
click for more