Martha goes to Washington

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Martha Hughes Cannon, renowned as the nation’s first female state senator, is making history once again as she becomes the first woman from Utah to be honored in the Hall of Statues in Washington, D.C.

Before leaving Utah, people visited the Utah State Capitol to learn more about her and celebrate her legacy.

At one booth, ballot boxes represented the election in which Martha ran and won against her husband, marking the first time a woman ran for elected office.

Kelly Jones, a Better Days volunteer and a leading member of the Utah Equal Rights Amendment coalition, shared that Martha’s story is inspiring and will hopefully continue to inspire.

“Her story will continue on and it should. We haven’t always acknowledged women’s accomplishments in the ways that we should have, their stories have often fallen through the cracks,” Jones said.

Martha was also a doctor. She was among the first women to attend medical school and helped establish the Deseret Hospital in Salt Lake City. At This is the Place Heritage Park, there is a replica of the hospital where people can go and learn more about Martha’s pivotal role in healthcare.

“We at This is the Place have known about her for a while now so it’s really nice to be able to share her story with so many others throughout the nation,” BreAnne Bailey, a This is the Place Heritage Park performer, said. “She did a lot for our public health and so that’s really fun to be able to share her with everybody else and let them know how amazing she is.”

To conclude the celebration, Governor Diedre Henderson gave a speech.

“It’s been such an honor and a privilege to serve in the state of Utah, to walk in the footsteps of Martha Hughes Cannon, to stand on her shoulders, to represent the people of the state the way she did,” Henderson said.

As Martha’s statue departed for Washington, crowds waved flags, bidding farewell. Martha Hughes Cannon’s legacy will live on at her new home in Washington, D.C. (Elsa Bray)

Currently, the statues representing Utah in Washington, D.C. are of Brigham Young and Philo T. Farnsworth. Martha will be replacing Farnsworth, and will be the first woman Utah has had in the Hall of Statues.

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