Breaking The Bronze Ceiling.

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Hon. Melissa Moore Murphy

The statue “Breaking the Bronze Ceiling” celebrates 100 years of women’s suffrage.

August 18 marked 100 years since women were guaranteed the right to vote with the 19th Amendement to the U.S. Constitution. On Wednesday Aug. 19, Lexington held a ceremony downtown to dedicate a monument that celebrates and honors women.  Amanda Bledsoe, a City Council member of the 10th District and LCA alumnus explained why she attended the ceremony. “I think it’s important for women to support women so when my colleagues asked me to join them in this initiative, I enthusiastically did so because it is one thing we can agree on—women should celebrate the right and privilege of voting.”  She pointed out how the monument can help future generations. “Sometimes I take for granted the rights that I freely exercise. The beautiful statues remind our community that there was a time when women did not have the right to vote. It’s an opportunity to tell my daughter about her great-grandmother who was the first female in her family line to vote. It’s also inspiring for young women to see that women before them worked hard to make it different for them and they can be a change for future generations.”

Melissa Moore Murphy, Judge of the Fayette District Court- 4th division, also attended the unveiling. She brought a different perspective to the event.  “I was honored to share the stage with such notable people but mainly I was grateful I was able to share my viewpoint – which as a woman of color the 100 year mark of the 19th Amendment was important but for me it was not an end of a movement but rather the beginning, since Black women did not fully have voting rights protected until 1965.  It meant a great deal to share the stories of Black Women Suffragist, like Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, and Elizabeth Fouse who are often excluded from the story of the Women’s Suffrage fight.”

While they have never lived in a time when women could not vote, students still appreciate the sacrifices of those who fought before them. Samantha Blackburn, 9, noted, “In the Bible it says that God created men and women equally. So I believe that both genders should have the same rights. I think feminism is misunderstood now. I don’t believe in the feminism today (3rd wave) I believe in first wave. Where men and women are equal. I think we should take down confederate status and put up amazing women who have done so much for women in this country.”

These three women represent different perspectives about the women’s suffrage movement. They demonstrate the reason why the Breaking The Bronze Ceiling monument was created and how it can speak to many in the community.