A glorious statue of iconic abolitionist, human rights activist, and heroine Harriet Tubman was recently unveiled in front of the City Hall, as part of efforts to celebrate her great legacy.
The bronze made monument, standing at nine feet tall, titled “The Journey to Freedom” was sculpted by the renowned Wesley Wofford and was organized by Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy.
‘The Journey to Freedom’ was unveiled at Philadelphia’s City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 11. It will be erected through Black History Month and Women’s History Month, now – March 31 before departing for New York then continue to tour the U.S.
“It’s an honor to celebrate the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman here in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Telling these stories through public art is vital for learning and reflection, connecting with our communities, and understanding our histories. I am particularly proud that the City of Philadelphia is hosting the temporary installation of Harriet Tubman on the North apron of City Hall.”
Alongside these celebrations, Tubman’s 200th birthday will also be commemorated.
“I am honored that the City of Philadelphia is hosting my sculpture ‘The Journey to Freedom’,” said award-winning sculpture Wofford.”
“Philadelphia holds a specific relevance to Harriet’s story as the city she found safe harbor in after her escape from Maryland, as well as staging many of her returning raids to free others from the bondage of slavery. To be able to help amplify Harriet Tubman’s heroism and determination in a world that desperately needs her ideals is one of the greatest honors of my life.”
The city of Philadelphia holds significance as where she safely hid after her escape from Maryland, as well as where she staged her freeing many others from the bondage of slavery.
The sculpture represents Tubman’s “courageous journey to free enslaved people and beautifully illustrates her determination despite the intense opposition she faced” the release said.
“Harriet Tubman’s legacy as an abolitionist, political activist, liberator, nurse, hero, and human rights advocate has made her an icon of courage and determination,” said Tumar Alexander, managing director for the City of Philadelphia. “These values are what we want represented when people visit City Hall. I hope the presence of this monument reminds Philadelphians of the importance of taking action to improve our communities and fosters a pride of place.”
The sculpture was previously displayed in Cape May, New Jersey; Newburgh and Peekskill, New York.; Cambridge, etc.
The city Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy also announced a schedule of more than 30 programs that will celebrate Tubman’s legacy.
These virtual and in-person programs, in partnership with local cultural organizations, will happen throughout Philadelphia and will “reflect the themes of activism, role models, heroes, human rights, freedom, resilience, determination, contributions of strong women, equality.”
“To build on the excitement of hosting the Harriet Tubman sculpture in Philadelphia, OACCE partnered with local cultural organizations to develop a schedule of thematic programs happening from the installation through the end of March,” said Kelly Lee, chief cultural officer and executive director of the city department, in the release.
“We wanted to amplify Philadelphia’s celebration of Harriet Tubman while highlighting and promoting the programs of our local cultural organizations. I encourage Philadelphians and visitors to visit creativephl.org to participate in the full schedule of celebration events.”