History looms large over the town of Lexington, from pre-Colonial times through the American Revolution and to the present day. Now, the women behind much of that history stand in silhouette on banners made by local Girl Scouts.
Girl Scout Cadette Troop 66265 created the banners in collaboration with LexSeeHer, a local group that is working to establish a permanent monument to women in Lexington.
The banner project was part of the troop’s efforts to earn Silver Awards, the second-highest honor a Girl Scout can receive. The banners show 42 women from Lexington who have made their mark locally, nationally, and around the world.
The banners will be displayed along Massachusetts Avenue through the end of August.
Lauren Kennedy, leader of the seventh-grade troop, said she hopes the project can raise awareness of LexSeeHer’s efforts to erect a statue honoring Lexington women.
Kennedy, who belongs to LexSeeHer, brought the project to the troop’s attention last year and helped the girls learn about important local women. They discussed figures such as Margaret Tulip, an enslaved woman who used the court system to win her freedom in 1768; Revolutionary activist Anna Harrington, who organized a 50-person “Spinning Bee” to protest British taxes on textiles; novelist Ada Clapham Govan, who wrote and published “Wings at my Window” in 1940; and present-day human rights advocate Carol Rose, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.
At one point, Kennedy and the troop went to the Lexington Historical Society to see the exhibit “Bold Women of Lexington.” Even as many activities were canceled during the pandemic, the girls worked on their banners.
“Our first step was to figure out which women to make visible. We met with people in town who helped us learn more and we did individual research,” said Girl Scout Andrea Le in a statement from LexSeeHer.
After months of research, the girls dressed up in period clothing reflecting the times in which the various women lived. Kennedy photographed them, turned the pictures into silhouettes, and designed the banners.
“For our Silver Award project, we wanted to show people the importance of women in our history, and we wanted to bring to light some of the women who have done important things in our past,” troop member Meghan Caldera said in the statement.
“We wanted to educate people about the women in Lexington and encourage people to use their voice and speak up,” added Ainsley Cuthbertson.
Kennedy says LexSeeHer has raised $200,000 in private donations for the statue and is attempting to raise another $100,000. A private donor has promised to match $50,000 if LexSeeHer hits that benchmark to help the group reach its fundraising goal.
The monument’s proposed location is on the lawn of Massachusetts Avenue near Buckman Tavern, according to LexSeeHer’s website. Additionally, Kennedy said three artists are under consideration, including Meredith Bergmann, the artist behind the Boston Women’s monument on Commonwealth Avenue.
Diana Bravo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.