History in Bronze: Sojourner Truth

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ESOPUS, N.Y. (NEWS10)—The bronze statue of Sojourner Truth by Trina Green was dedicated in 2013, all thanks to the work of retired Ulster County Historian Anne Gordon.  The figure depicts Truth at the age of 12 with her face a composite made from photographs of the child’s relatives.

“We don’t know when she was born, sometime around 1797,” Anne Gordon said Friday. “She was born on the other side of Esopus by the Wallkill River.”

The bronze statue sits on a slab of granite brought from Africa and symbolizes where Sojourner Truth’s family was taken from.

Truth lived in the area for 30 years before deciding to walk away in 1826 to become an abolitionist and women’s rights activist.

One of several homes Truth lived in that is still standing in Esopus, N.Y.

Green’s statue shows how life was hard for slave children in New York. In both hands, Truth is holding two large alcohol bottles because at the time she was owned by a tavern owner. On her back are whipping scars from another owner. According to Gordon, she was whipped because she did not speak English. Truth is in rough, coarse clothing that was too small for her, showing how slaves dressed.

The deep scars from being whipped as a child stayed with her throughout her life.

This bronze history is in the heart of downtown Port Ewen just off Route 9W, with convenient parking right beside it.

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