New York will construct a statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her native Brooklyn

September 21, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg at her confirmation hearing / R. Michael Jenkins, Congressional Quarterly. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be recognized with a statue in her hometown of Brooklyn, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday, just one day after the death of the trailblazing icon. Born in 1933 to Russian-Jewish immigrants and raised in a clapboard house on East 9th Street in Midwood, Ginsburg attended the city’s public schools and later Cornell and Columbia Universities. In 1993, Ginsburg, who fought for gender equality her entire career, became the second woman to ever serve as a justice on the Supreme Court.

Cuomo said he will appoint a commission in the coming days to select an artist and provide recommendations for its design, location, and installation.

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg selflessly pursued truth and justice in a world of division, giving voice to the voiceless and uplifting those who were pushed aside by forces of hate and indifference,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“As a lawyer, jurist, and professor, she redefined gender equity and civil rights and ensured America lived up to her founding ideals — she was a monumental figure of equality, and we can all agree that she deserves a monument in her honor.”

The governor added: “While the family of New York mourns Justice Ginsburg’s death, we remember proudly that she started her incredible journey right here in Brooklyn. Her legacy will live on in the progress she created for our society, and this statue will serve as a physical reminder of her many contributions to the America we know today and as an inspiration for those who will continue to build on her immense body of work for generations to come.”

In 2018, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called on City Hall to rename the Brooklyn Municipal Building after Ginsburg after celebrating her 25th year as an associate justice on the Supreme Court.

“In an era where popular culture puts performing artists and sports stars on a public pedestal, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has risen to incredible levels of iconic admiration and love,” Adams wrote in the letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio two years ago.

“Society often waits to recognize a lifetime of accomplishment until after that lifetime ends. In this case, we can honor the life and service of Ruth Bader Ginsburg during what we hope will be a long and active remaining life.”

In a tweet on Saturday, de Blasio called Ginsburg an “unparalleled hometown hero,” and said the city will begin planning a memorial in her honor. “Her memory will live on. I promise you that,” the mayor said.

New Yorkers got a jump start on the memorial, leaving flowers and signs at her childhood home in Midwood and at James Madison High School, where Ginsburg was a student. And artist Adrian Wilson transformed the mosaics at the 50th Street subway station from “50th St.” to “Ruth St,” as Gothamist reported.


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