Artifacts and images of the eight women featured on the outdoor sculpture Muted Belles:
A Monument to Women of Memphis are on display through March 31 in Caseworks. Gail
Rothschild created the outdoor sculpture 20 years ago in collaboration with AMUM and
University of Memphis students and faculty. AMUM is revisiting the sculpture during
Women's History Month.
Muted Belles refers to Southern women who could not be considered belles, in the usual
sense because of their race, economic or social position, or politically incorrect
behavior and views. Wrapped around the classical columns are shapes that look like
a cross between bells and hoop skirts (bells and belles). Bells may ring to celebrate
or warn, but these bells are silent. Around the entablature are the names of notable
Memphis women who are insufficiently recognized for their contributions to local history:
Annie Cook, Myra Driefus, Julia Hooks, Alberta Hunter, Suzanne Scruggs, Ida B. Wells,
Juanita Williamson, Frances Wright.