There is a frustrating lack of memorials and tributes to women in the neighborhoods of New York City.
For official memorials and statues, the reasons for this lack of representation are well documented. For the most part, who has written our “history”? Who has decided which persons are most important to remember? Until recently, it has been the people in power—who want to sustain the status quo—and stay in power. For example, why is there a plaque on Broadway for Pierre Laval, but no commemoration anywhere in NYC for Yvette Fay Francis-McBarnette.
There are some hopeful signs that this situation is changing. There are recently completed statues for Elenor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman and on-going projects by organizations such as monumentalwomen.org. There was even the The Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers, created under Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017.
However, representation is still very unbalanced in unofficial NYC neighborhood memorials. There are very few murals and installations dedicated to women—whether they are historical commemorations or memorials to residents of the neighborhood. Why is that? On a neighborhood level, on a street or building level—how is the bias and status quo any different than in the offices of corporations, the NYC Parks Department, or NYC City Hall?
As i travel around working on this project, I do see a few, some of them noted on this post. (Click on the images for information.) I hope to find more and see more recognition of women who were important to their families, friends, and neighborhoods. If you come across any neighborhood memorials of women, let me know via the contact page.