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100 years in the making

by BILL BULEY
Staff Writer | August 19, 2020 1:05 AM

About 200 attend unveiling of ‘The Suffragist’

COEUR d’ALENE — If “The Suffragist” looks a little like Julie Lane, that’s because she does.

The statue unveiled Tuesday next to McEuen Park was created by local artist Terry Lee. It celebrates 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right the vote.

“I’m super honored to be part of this and represent women, figuratively and physically,” Lane said following the ceremony as she took a break from smiling for pictures.

Lane posed for hours as Lee photographed and measured her before working on the commissioned piece that stands over 6 feet tall.

“It’s been a few years in the making,” Lane said. “It’s pretty amazing to have it all come together.”

When the black cloth was pulled away, the crowd of about 200 cheered on a hot, sunny afternoon.

“Hip hip, hurray. Hip hip, hurray,” they shouted.

“The Suffragist” is located next to the “American Worker,” “Idaho Farmer,” and “Idaho Lumberjack” statues, also created by Lee.

Jennifer Drake, chair of the Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission, praised the group, “Women Getting Stuff Done,” for leading the drive to raise about $60,000 to fund the statue.

“This project might never have been completed without the enthusiasm and efforts of a small group of amazing women,” she said, naming Mary Lou Reed, Ruth Pratt, Terri Farr, Mary Sanderson and Roberta Larson.

“This project was their baby from the start and they persevered,” she said.

An emotional Lee briefly addressed the crowd and outlined his role in creating all the statues that now stand on Front Street.

He credited “tremendous people who want to see this city grow, who want to make it beautiful.”

Lisa Nunlist of the Coeur d’Alene branch of the American Association of University Women, which advances equity for women and girls, said the statue “is the culmination of not just this moment 100 years ago but all the years that built up the decades that she and others struggled.”

She said it was 72 years from the time of the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, the first women’s rights convention, before “you guys permitted us females to vote. Imagine that.”

Idaho was the fourth state in the country that permitted women to vote on local and state issues.

Nunlist said when farmers, ranchers and miners pushed west, it was women who were part of movement.

“We had the guts and the grit to come out west and form a new portion of our nation. We were side by side with the men. We were partners but not equal,” Nunlist said.

She urged people to remember that women had to fight to get to where they are today. But she added that The Suffragist “isn’t thinking about the past. She’s thinking about the future.”

“Terry, thank you for bringing her to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and you donors, thanks for giving her life,” Nunlist said.

Drake said the statue will stand strong for the next 100 years and beyond, and speaks to the shared history, sacrifices and resilience of women.

“May she always stand as a reminder of past battles that were fought in ceaseless determination and won with courage, a reminder that remains as necessary today as it was then,” Drake said.

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“The Suffragist” was unveiled Tuesday next to McEuen Park. Posing next to the statue, from left, are Kathleen Moseley, Lisa Nunlist, Terry Lee and Julie Lane.