Welcome to Rockford Women’s Suffrage Plaza

August 18th, 2020 marked 100 years to the day that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, recognizing women’s right to vote. The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Sculpture, Rockford’s first public art installation honoring women’s leadership and celebrating that momentous achievement, was dedicated on October 31, 2020.


Susan Burton, mosaic artist from Marseilles, Illinois, was contracted to create, orchestrate and guide the Rockford community in designing and building this installation. Burton was selected because of her reputable mastery of the mosaic art form and her storied experience with large, community-build art projects in other cities. Over 200 people in our community — children, adults, and seniors — worked on this project, learning about the women’s suffrage movement, identifying local and national women leaders, and experiencing first-hand the art of mosaic.

Susan Burton

Mosaic Artist

Women’s Suffrage Sculpture

The three-sided composition tells an inclusive, fact-based history, featuring Rockford suffragist Kate F. O’Connor, Rockford voting rights activist Dr. Constance Goode, and Future Voters. The ratification of the 19th Amendment, on August 18, 1920, prohibited the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of gender. White women were the first women able to vote without legal barriers and extreme discrimination (O’Connor). Only when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed — a landmark piece of federal legislation that prohibited racial discrimination in voting — could women of color exercise their right to vote (Goode). The group of diverse girls represent our future women voters and activists (Future Voters).

A gifted Rockford artist, Holly Gilbey, created each of the framed mosaic faces that appear on the three sides of the central monument.

The 36 stars wrapped around the tower symbolize the 36 states that were needed to ratify the 19th Amendment. The suffragists sewed a star on the Suffrage Flag as each state voted to ratify. Three colors used throughout the sculpture—purple, white, and yellow—were the official colors of the United States Suffragist Movement. Additional women of note are featured around the base of the tower; these women were chosen for their dedication to suffragist ideals, civil rights activism, and/or their distinguished careers.

Seventeen of the featured women are from Northern Illinois; their careers influenced our region in many aspects including education, the arts and humanities, politics, sports, science, civil rights, justice, and peace.

Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee

WSC2020 member groups: AAUW Rockford; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford; Midway Village Museum; Promoting an Inclusive Community (PAIC) – Rock Valley College; Rockford Area Arts Council; Rockford Branch NAACP; Rockford Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution; Rockford Public Library; SPoRT Makeup, IWBC; Womanspace Inc. of Rockford; Women’s March Rockford; YWCA Northwestern Illinois.