Martha Hughes Cannon statue headed to US Capitol

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SALT LAKE CITY — An iconic statue of Martha Hughes Cannon will soon leave Utah.

Cannon, who lived from 1857 to 1932, was Utah's first female state senator and a pioneer in women gaining the right to vote. Her statute, currently sitting on the third floor of the Utah Capitol, outside the old state Supreme Court Chambers, will soon be on its way to Washington to take its place in the U.S. Capitol after a long COVID delay.

Per federal law, each state has two statues placed in the National Statuary Hall to represent it. In 2018 Utah passed a law to send Cannon's statue to replace Philo Farnsworth and stand alongside Brigham Young. Farnsworth was a pioneer of electronic television. His statue will now head to Utah Valley University.

"We want Utah's women's suffrage history to be acknowledged nationwide," said Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, who was instrumental in the legislation passed when she was a state senator.

Utah congressman Blake Moore also acknowledged the importance of Martha's statue coming to Washington.

"(It's a) pretty neat experience. Utah has a very rich history with the suffrage movement from Sarah Young again to Martha Hughes Cannon. That's something that we need to celebrate," Moore said.

Henderson and Moore say women in America have the right to vote because of women like Cannon, who was a leading voice in challenging the status quo. In 1896, Cannon won an election against her husband to take the state senate seat.

"(She was) a woman who, once she helped other women earn a voice in their state government, she showed them how to be a representative in their state government," Henderson said.

She hopes that when Cannon's statue is placed where the nation will see, it will continue to serve as the blueprint for American women.

"Utah women were far ahead of their time in terms of equality, in terms of voting rights, in terms of education, access ... And that's a fact that's often overlooked and missed out on in the rest of the country today. And it's time that we reclaim our history," she said.

The statue will travel by truck to Washington. There will be a public send-off party at the Utah Capitol on June 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. that the public is invited to attend. There will be live music, food from local food trucks and activities for children and families.


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Lindsay Aerts
Lindsay is a reporter for KSL-TV who specializes in political news. She attended Utah State University and got a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She previously reported for KSL NewsRadio.


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