In the video embedded below, NBC’s Morgan Radford provides exclusive footage of today’s unveiling, where “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry recites words from Sojourner Truth’s speeches. Goldsberry’s voice is so very beautiful. The video also contains interviews with Brenda Berkman of Monumental Women, the organization that made this statue possible, and concludes with the unveiling itself.
In another video from “The Today Show,” news anchor Hoda Kotb spoke with Coline Jenkins, the great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Marika McLiechey, a descendant of Sojourner Truth, who believes her ancestor would say that the great work she began is far from finished today. You can watch their full conversation in the video embedded below.
Last year, a significant step was taken to add Sojourner Truth to this first-ever statue of women suffragettes in New York City. Sculptor Meredith Bergmann, working with the non-profit organization Monumental Women Statue Fund originally envisioned her statue to include American suffragettes Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. This decision was rightly criticized for its failure to feature the African American activists who fought for women’s right to vote, women such as Ida B. Wells, Mary Church-Terrell and of course, Sojourner Truth.
A longtime heroine of mine, Ms. Truth had somehow been relegated to a “hidden figure” status in contemporary history. She was a suffragette, abolitionist, speaker, mother, consultant to presidents, leader of a land ownership movement and is one of the most iconic characters in human history. And yet, until recently, there were no plans to include her in the Central Park statue honoring champions of women’s rights. It’s as if we heard Sojourner Truth’s plaintive call from the grave, “Ain’t I a woman?”