Monument to honor Tennessee Suffrage Movement - WSMV News 4

Monument to honor Tennessee Suffrage Movement

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Less than 100 years ago, women in this country were not allowed to vote.

But in 1920, it was the vote from Tennessee that changed the Constitution and created the 19th Amendment.

That moment will be marked with a monument coming soon to Nashville.

Alan LeQuire has already created Athena inside the Parthenon and Musica near Music Row. His next project is the monument honoring the women in Tennessee who fought for voting rights.

“It’s going a lot more slowly that I thought it would,” LeQuire said. “You have to labor over each square inch.”

Speed is not a priority in LeQuire’s studio. It took a 72-year struggle before women in this country gained the right to vote, so his struggle carving that movement won’t be rushed.

“The spirit in the folds should be the same as the spirit in her face, so it all has to work together,” LeQuire said.

The spirit can only be found with he’s face to face with Tennessee women like Frankie Pierce and Abby Milton, who were defiant and determined. That must show in the 7’ statue.

“I want them to not have big smiles on their faces, but to be happy,” LeQuire said. “I want them to have a happy expression.”

LeQuire said he will carve for hours until he gets that.

“At the moment, she’s looking sort of worried,” he said. “I want to take some of the worry out of her face, because this is meant to be a celebration moment.”

LeQuire is accustomed to being stared at while he works. He is surrounded by his past creations.

His search for subtlety makes his work stand out.

“When you look at the statue from the front, you see each woman is an independent protester,” LeQuire said.

To see their support and solidarity, the statue must be viewed from the back.

“Holding hands,” LeQuire said.

LeQuire made one last bold prediction, saying his bold statue will stand for 3,000 years.

“I won’t be around that long, but it should last that long,” he said.

The Tennessee Suffrage Movement statue is expected to be in place near the Tennessee Performing Arts Center next spring.

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