On the Highland side of the Walkway over the Hudson, only eight miles from where she was born, stands a statue of the renowned speaker, abolitionist, and suffragist Sojourner Truth (c.1797-1883).
Born as Isabella Baumfree into slavery, she was sold three times throughout her life. At the age of 29, after her master refused to grant her the freedom he promised her, she escaped with her infant daughter, leaving her four older children behind. Two years later, a year after the New York State Emancipation Act passed, she sued her previous owner for selling one of her children and became the first black woman to sue a white man in a US court and win. At 46, she heard a calling from the spirit of God to become a preacher of the truth, and she changed her name to Sojourner Truth. She embarked on a lecturing tour throughout the state, speaking of abolition and universal suffrage, becoming one of the leading activists for racial and gender equality and a role model for the future civil rights and women’s equality movements.
The 7-foot-tall bronze statue was dedicated on August 25th, 2020, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. It depicts Sojourner Truth standing tall, reaching her right hand to the people while holding her cane in her left hand. The engravings on her skirt represent events from her life, such as an image of an enslaved mother comforting her child, a slavery sale sign, and a poster for a women’s suffrage march. On the bottom of the skirt is an inscription of one of her most famous quotes: “The Truth is Powerful, and It Prevails.” After visiting the statue, take a walk on the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, and cross the bridge to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Hudson River.
According to its creator, the artist Vinnie Bagwell, the statue intends to inform the viewers about Truth’s life and encourage critical thinking.
It is the second public statue of the Vinnie Bagwell; the first statue she created stands across the Hudson River in Yonkers, NY; it honors the jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.
Sojourner Truth Statue Unveiled at Walkway Over the Hudson in Highland, N.Y.
Sojourner Truth statue artist Vinnie Bagwell of Yonkers, NY and 5th generation grandson of Truth Cory McLiechey of Grand Rapids, Michigan speak at unveiling ceremony at Walkway Over the Hudson in Highland, NY August 26,2939.
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Sojourner Truth Statue Unveiled at Walkway Over the Hudson in Highland, N.Y.Sojourner Truth statue artist Vinnie Bagwell of Yonkers, NY and 5th generation grandson of Truth Cory McLiechey of Grand Rapids, Michigan speak at unveiling ceremony at Walkway Over the Hudson in Highland, NY August 26,2939.
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