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  • Writer's pictureDelanie West

Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza Dedication: A Beacon of Equality and Justice in Akron

Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza Dedication on May 29 Commemorates Activist Truth and the 100-year Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

The Kent Area (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is a proud patron of the project honoring Sojourner Truth, born Isabelle Baumfree, an abolitionist and women's rights activist. Truth, enslaved in New York until adulthood, became a powerful voice for equality, challenging stereotypical gender and race roles.

Her famous speech in Akron highlighted the intersectional issues of race, class, and gender. "She spoke up for the quest for equality," Mullins said, reflecting on her impact.

Recently, Congresswoman Emilia Sykes, County Executive Ilene Shapiro, and Akron Mayor Shammas Malik unveiled a life-size statue of Truth. Malik hopes this memorial will educate Akronites about Truth's connection to the city and serve as a gathering place for addressing ongoing issues like public safety and racism. “Together, we can do anything in this community,” he said.

Located beside the United Way building on High Street, this project has been in the works for twenty years. Summit and Medina United Way CEO Jim Mullen highlighted the community effort involved, saying, “This project brought the community together for today and the future.”

Designed by Summit Metro Parks landscape architect Dion Harris, the life-size sculpture of Truth was created by Akron native Woodrow Nash. Nash thanked the committee and his wife for their support during the creation process.

Though the “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech's exact wording is debated, Truth’s message of women's rights and equality remains powerful. Mullins expressed hope that the statue and plaza will inspire future generations, saying, “I am confident the plaza will become a sacred space for reflection and understanding.”

The Kent Area (OH) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated is honored to support this project, celebrating Sojourner Truth’s enduring legacy.

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