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Harriet Tubman 'Journey to Freedom' statue on display at Washington Square Park

A statue honoring Harriet Tubman was unveiled Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, in Rochester’s Washington Square Park. It is part of a traveling exhibit around the country, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s birth.
Max Schulte
/
WXXI News
A statue honoring Harriet Tubman was unveiled Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, in Rochester’s Washington Square Park. It is part of a traveling exhibit around the country, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s birth.

A statue honoring Harriet Tubman, who escaped enslavement to become a world-renowned abolitionist, has been placed in Rochester’s Washington Square Park.

The 9-foot-tall, 2,200-pound monument was unveiled Friday with dozens of people there for the ceremony, including descendants of Tubman’s family.

The statue depicts Tubman leading a child to freedom. It is part of a traveling exhibit around the country, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s birth. It was sculpted by North Carolina-based artist Wesley Wofford.

The statue will be in Rochester until Oct. 31.

The monument has special significance in this region; Tubman made her home for many years in nearby Auburn, where she also created a nursing home for freed slaves.

The statue depicts Tubman leading a child to freedom. It was sculpted by North Carolina-based artist Wesley Wofford.

The statue means a lot to Geraldine Howard, a great-great-great grandniece of Tubman’s. Howard, who lives in Rochester, said this statue helps symbolize the perseverance her ancestor showed in the face of the very steep odds against her.

“That was Aunt Harriet’s motto, just keep going. That’s what we’re doing,” Howard said. “I’m just so proud, and I just feel so warm. My heart is just so overflowing with joy to know that she’s finally getting the recognition that she’s so deserving of.”

Jacqueline Sprague, the project director for the local Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Celebration Committee hopes that learning about Tubman will inspire people in Rochester to talk about the importance of working together to effect change.

“It was a united community, it took a lot of people behind Frederick Douglass to make him successful, and Harriet Tubman has her unique experience and what she did that contributed to his success and to the success of the suffragists’ movements and the abolitionists’ movement,” Sprague said.

A new documentary, “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom,” premieres on WXXI-TV at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11. The film explores what motivated her to become one of the most notable freedom fighters in U.S. history.
Copyright 2022 WXXI News. To see more, visit WXXI News.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.