Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  03.13.2023

A new, 25-foot-tall monument honoring Harriet Tubman was unveiled late last week, CNN said yesterday (March 12). The grand sculpture has replaced a statue of Christopher Columbus after protests were held in 2020 demanding it be removed.

On Thursday (March 9), Newark, New Jersey Mayor Ras J. Baraka presented the artwork, titled, “Shadow of a Face.” It is found at the center of the recently renamed Harriet Tubman Square. “In a time when so many cities are choosing to topple statues that limit the scope of their people’s story, we have chosen to erect a monument that spurs us into our future story of exemplary strength and solidity,” the mayor shared. Baraka added, “We have created a focal point in the heart of our city that expresses our participation in an ongoing living history of a people who have grappled through many conflicts to steadily lead our nation in its progress toward racial equality.”

Citizens and stars alike celebrated the memorable day. “We hope the monument brings Harriet Tubman’s resistance and integrity to people everywhere who really need to hear it. We want people to know, to feel, to understand what was at stake and how incredibly brave Harriet Tubman was,” actress Queen Latifah said of the abolitionist. Born into slavery in Maryland in March 1820s, once Tubman escaped, she devoted her life to helping others find freedom. From 1850 to 1860, she embarked on dangerous quests to help other enslaved people by using the Underground Railroad — which had stops in Newark.

“This commission has meant a lot to me as an artist, as an architect, as a woman and as a mother of Black girls,” said Nina Cooke John, the designer of the sculpture. Tubman’s three-times great-grandniece also discussed the importance of the trailblazer’s sacrifice. “Let’s forever remember Harriet Tubman, for her compassion, courage, bravery, service to others, her patriotism, and her commitment to faith, family, fortitude and freedom,” she declared. March 10 marked 110 years since her passing.

See more tributes below.

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