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Arts & Culture

Effort Under Way to Preserve Akron Legacy of Abolitionist and Suffragist Sojourner Truth

A group of Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee members and sculptor Woodrow Nash pose with a prototype of the Sojourner Truth statue.
Jackie Derrow
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Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee
Members of the Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee pose with sculptor Woodrow Nash and a prototype of the Sojourner Trush statue. From left to right, committee member Edna Borders; Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro; committee member Theresa Carter; cculptor Woodrow Nash; committee chair Towanda Mullins

Abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth delivered her famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech 170 years ago Saturday in Akron at the Ohio women’s convention.

A local group wants to preserve Truth’s legacy with a statue.

Towanda Mullins from the Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee chairs the Sojourner Truth statue project and says it’s important to teach people about Truth and the connection Akron has to the suffragist movement.

"We are very proud here in Ohio to have this rich history," Mullins said. "And we’re simply just trying to honor the past."

Its effort has been informed by Paul Farber, director of Monument Lab, a Philadelphia-based art and history studio. He spoke to local groups in April and says statues can help us think about the way history was written and learn from it for the future.

"Perhaps our way forward is by addressing the harms and injustices of the past," Farber said.

Mullins says they hope to install the Sojourner Truth statue outside the United Way building in Akron in fall 2022.

For more information on the project, or to donate to the statue fund, visit
www.summitsuffragecentennial.com.