Two board members of the National Women’s Hall of Fame addressed one of their most controversial inductees Tuesday.
Actress Jane Fonda, along with the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, activist Angela Davis and eight other groundbreaking women, will become the newest members of the hall in September.
Earlier this year, the hall faced a backlash for including Fonda in the class because of her protests of the Vietnam War. Seneca Falls leaders attempted to end town donations to the hall, which could have endangered its future. The hall fought it and that resolution failed.
Speaking Tuesday to Rochester Rotary, board members Judy Pipher and Sharon Stiller said controversy isn’t always a bad thing.
“There’s nothing wrong with controversy,” Stiller said. “It gets people talking, it gets people thinking. ... There are 276 inductees in the National Women's Hall of Fame, and I’ll bet you anything that in some respect each one of them created some controversy.”
“Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was one of the two prime movers behind the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, was the source of considerable controversy throughout her life. As was Susan B. Anthony, the Rochester native,” added Pipher.
Stiller and Pipher also talked about the historic mill that is being remodeled to be the hall’s new home. All is on track for an opening in time for next year’s class.
The Women’s Hall of Fame induction is Sept. 14 at the del Lago Casino in Seneca County.