In the place where Christopher Columbus’ statue once stood, a monument honoring Harriet Tubman was unveiled.
Newark’s biggest names gathered to honor Tubman’s daring contributions to American history.
Queen Latifah, artist Nina Cooke John, Audible founder Don Katz, and others cut the ribbon to unveil a new Harriet Tubman statue.
“….We want people to know, to feel, to understand what was at stake and how incredibly brave Harriet Tubman was. I loved working with Audible, and I love working with them to share stories that empower and inspire people. And together, we’re committed to taking storytelling and black storytelling, in particular African American storytelling, the black experience, storytelling to the next level and make a real impact in our communities and around the world….” expressed Queen Latifah, Narrator, Shadow of a Face.
Until recently, the park was named Washington Park, after George Washington, and featured a statue of Christopher Columbus, which was taken down in 2020.
“This commission has meant a lot to me as an artist, as an architect, as a woman, and as a mother of black girls. It means a lot to me, not only because it provided me with the opportunity to create art in public space telling the multi-layered story of a powerhouse of a woman revealing the depth and strength of the network, of the many people of Newark who gave their time, skills and resources to support the efforts of abolition and beyond.” saidNina Cooke John, Architect, Shadow of a Face.
The monument honors a woman who risked everything to free enslaved people, all while a bounty was on her head.
“….. She is a woman of history. Many call her an American hero. And in our family, we simply referred to her as Aunt Harriet. She is Harriet Tubman, greatest conductor of the Underground Railroad. And Harriet said, I reasoned this out in my mind. There was one of two things I had a right to liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would have the other, and no man should take me alive.” added Michele Jones Galvin, Descendant of Harriet Tubman.
Several stops in New Jersey were part of the Underground Railroad, through which Tubman and others helped people escape lives of slavery.