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Naomi Anderson sculpture unveiling to take place in Michigan City

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Naomi Anderson sculpture unveiling to take place in Michigan City

Sculptor Bernard Williams and Art Manager Lora Forberg pose by a Naomi Anderson sculpture that will be unveiled in Michigan City on March 19.

An unveiling of a 50-foot-by-30-foot steel sculpture of suffragist and civil rights activist Naomi Anderson will take place at Michigan City’s Charles R. Westcott Park later this month.

The eight-piece sculpture by sculptor Bernard Williams will be unveiled at 2 p.m. March 19 at the intersection of W. Michigan Street and E. Michigan Boulevard by the site of the former Elite Youth Center that Anderson helped build. Anderson's great- and great-great-granddaughters will be in attendance at the event, which will be followed by a reception at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts. 

The Michigan City Mainstreet Association landed a grant from Indiana Humanities and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to celebrate the community leader who advocated for equal rights.

Born in 1843, Anderson attended Michigan City's only public school even though it was segregated at the time. She became a teacher and mother of eight children who founded orphanages for children of color, wrote articles and published poems.

She delivered a fiery speech calling for women's suffrage at the first Women’s Rights Conference held in Chicago and went out to call for the women's right to vote and civil rights at public speaking events across the country.

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“Naomi Anderson’s story was constructed from so many pieces. But we know we captured her spirit and recognized her remarkable dedication to human rights. She was most definitely a gifted changemaker,” Celebrating Naomi Anderson Project Committee treasurer Gerry Jones said.

Her letters were published in newspapers nationwide at a time when women rarely had a voice.

“She was unceasing in her dedication to the betterment of humanity,” said Bonnie Schaaf, co-chair of the Celebrating Naomi Anderson Project Committee.

Naomi Anderson died at the age of 56 in 1899, two decades before women finally got the right to vote.

“Naomi Anderson was truly a visionary. Almost 200 years ago, she spoke of us all being ‘Americans’—not ‘Irish Americans,’ ‘German Americans’ or ‘African Americans’. She envisioned a celebration of unity, a sentiment expressed by many today,” said Nancy Moldenhauer, Celebrating Naomi Anderson Project Committee co-chair.


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Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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