HIGHLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Wednesday was a monumental day for the memory of Sojourner Truth.
She is part of a trio of women’s rights pioneers now enshrined in Central Park, joining Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
They are the first statues of real life women in Central Park.
RELATED STORY: Bronze Sojourner Truth Monument Unveiled In Ulster County
In Ulster County, where Truth was born and enslaved, she stands alone. A memorial was dedicated to her Wednesday morning.
Cory McLiechey, Truth’s sixth-great-grandson, was a guest of honor at the dedication of the monument to the abolitionist and women’s rights pioneer.
“She was fearless, outspoken, focused, determined, you know, brave,” he told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
The monument stands at the Ulster Landing of the popular Walkway Over the Hudson, eight miles from where Truth was born, the property of the Hardenbergh family.
Her journey was one for the ages.
Enslaved then emancipated, she fought to free her relatives, end slavery and win women the right to vote.
Truth was savvy and understood the power of celebrity. She sold promotional photos of herself, saying, “I sell the shadow to support the substance.”
That quote is on the statue in braille, a signature touch of artist Vinnie Bagwell, who fills her work with rich detail.
Enslaved children are on Truth’s skirt, along with images of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who along with Truth were breakers of chains.
“I want people to touch her, to make selfies with her, to make group pictures, to get up on the stone. She’s engaging, engageable,” Bagwell said. “I think she’s got a really good home.”
Cornell historian Margaret Washington says between this monument and the one dedicated earlier Wednesday in Central Park, Truth is finally receiving her due in public places.
“Because she should not be forgotten, and she’s still so relevant. We’re still fighting many of the struggles that she fought,” Washington said.
It’s a statue that tells a story and artwork intended to inspire.
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