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Feedback on “Who Gets Set in Stone?”

I came across “Who Gets Set in Stone?” (Fall 2019) and found it an interesting read. When I saw the question regarding influential women who should be recognized with a statue at the Capitol, I immediately thought of Josie Johnson. MPR shared her story earlier this year and I think it is one that deserves to continue to be told and shared. I have truly enjoyed hearing and learning about her story and the path she’s paved for so many.

Shanequa Williams (M.A. ’08) Minneapolis

Winona LaDuke, Amy Klobuchar, Sarah Stommen, Mary Gibbs, Marlene Johnson, Kim Norton, Judge Pamela Alexander, Anne McKeg, Diana Murphy, Leila Anderson, Cora M. Fuller, Marvel Cooke, Louise Erdrich—a good start....

Nadine Meyer (B.S. ’98) Silver Bay, Minnesota

I believe Maria Louise Sanford should be considered for a statue at the Capitol. For President Folwell, it was certainly a courageous and wise decision to offer her a professorship at the University of Minnesota. [Ed. note: Sanford was a educator who taught at the U of M from 1880 to 1909. She is honored as one of two notable Minnesotans with a statue in the U.S. Capitol Building. Folwell was the first president of the University.]

Gary T. Pederson (B.S. ’68, D.D.S. ’68) Salem, Oregon

And a Statue…at Last

I was first elected to the Minnesota legislature in 1996. When I walked around the Capitol, I realized that there were no statues or busts of [either] women or Blacks from Minnesota. I tried to think of people who warranted recognition from those categories and realized the woman many consider the greatest civil rights leader in Minnesota history, Nellie Stone Johnson, clearly filled both roles. In addition to her leadership on civil rights, she was a leader on women’s rights, on workers’ rights, and on education for people of color.

I authored legislation to put a bust of her in the Capitol. It passed the House but failed in the Senate. I kept working on it and 17 years later, I got the bill signed into law. We had to raise $80,000, which took a few years, [but] it looks like we will have a life-size statue of her next year. We think there are no other statues in state capitols of Black women and believe the only statue of a woman is in Kentucky.

Joe Mullery (B.A. ’67, J.D. ’71) Minneapolis

Former DFL member of the House of Representatives

Another Artist Alumnus

I was delighted to discover “The Hand of the Potter” about Warren MacKenzie in Minnesota Alumni (Fall 2019). I write to call attention to another of the region’s legendary potters, Peter Leach.

Peter and I were both in the School of Architecture in the ’60s. Ralph Rapson was the dean and a firm believer in the integration of art and architecture. We were enrolled in studio arts classes with leading artists of the region, which included MacKenzie; Josephine Lutz Rollins, watercolor; Alonzo Hauser, sculpture; and painter Freddy Muñoz.

Peter determined early on that the opportunity for individual expression, the feel, the magic of clay, and the artist life was far more closely aligned with his interests than designing buildings. Peter’s leadership as a founder of the Northern Clay Center brought ceramics into the lives and homes of tens of thousands throughout the Midwest and beyond.

Richard L. Gilyard (B.A. ’61, B. Arch. ‘64) Minneapolis

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