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Mt. Rushmore to feature projections of key women in the suffrage movement

A rendering of how Mount Rushmore will look with Mabel Ping-Hua Lee beside Washington and Zitkala-Sa beside Lincoln.
Christina Korp/Look Up to Her
Projection mapping partner: Quince Imaging
A rendering of how Mount Rushmore will look with Mabel Ping-Hua Lee beside Washington and Zitkala-Sa beside Lincoln.

While President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit Mount Rushmore as part of an Independence Day celebration later this week, plans are underway for another type of commemoration, marking the contributions made during the women’s suffrage movement.

Christina Korp is the producer of a project called Look Up to Her, and it is one of the ways the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commissionis helping celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which was written to guarantee and protect a woman’s constitutional right to vote.

Korp, a South Dakota native, is using an iconic part of her home state, Mount Rushmore, to do that. The event, to take place over a two-week span, will project the faces of women key to that battle for the right to vote. The faces of 14 women, including well known suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and lesser known figures such as Mabel Ping-Hua Lee and Ida B. Wells, will be projected in pairs, alongside Mount Rushmore’s four presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

Korp said she specifically did not want the projections to cover the faces of the four presidents.

“When I first started talking about it, everybody said, oh, you’re just going to replace the faces, and I said, no, no, you can’t erase history. I’m not trying to erase history and I’m not trying to say we don’t need men. I’m just trying to elevate women to the same level of honor and respect that those men have been given by being put up on that mountain,” Korp said.

Korp said she also wants the presentation to make it clear that many of the women being honored fought for women’s suffrage knowing that they would themselves not be able to take advantage of those voting rights because of the years involved in that struggle.

Korp  also said she specifically wanted to use photos of these women when they were young.

“Because I think understanding that this wasn’t just an old white ladies fight; that’s not what it was about. Most of these women including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were young women when they were doing this. They fought their whole lives and many of them just never even got to see it come to pass,” Korp explained.

The Look Up To Her presentation is expected to happen near the end of August and Korp said it will likely also be live-streamed online. 

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.