October 17, 2021

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Explore this Ida B. Wells mosaic, a monument of the fight for women’s suffrage

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Explore this Ida B. Wells mosaic, a monument of the fight for women's suffrage

While women of color have been sometimes overlooked throughout history, you can’t miss suffragist and civil rights icon Ida B. Wells inside Washington, D.C.’s Union Station right now. A new 1,000-square-foot art installation of the pioneering journalist’s portrait was unfurled onto the floor of the station’s cavernous main hall on Sunday. Made out of non-slip vinyl, the image is a mosaic of about 4,500 photos of past suffragists who dedicated their lives to the movement (along with some images of memorabilia from the movement). The public art project was commissioned by the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Helen Marshall, the British artist behind the installation, has created giant, photo-based mosaics for about 20 years. She said the mosaic focuses on Wells — a “rebel with a cause” — because she thought a lot of women today would be able to identify with her. “She was really brave,” Marshall said of Wells, “and she was a champion of investigative journalism.”

Video and photo by Amanda Rhoades/The People’s Picture, Purpose Entertainment, and the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission

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