Harriet Tubman Monument Unveiled in Newark as Replacement for Columbus Statue
A new monument honoring Harriet Tubman was unveiled on Thursday, in the newly named square bearing her name, in Newark, New Jersey.
The monument, called “Shadow of a Face,” replaces a statue of Christopher Columbus which was removed in June 2020, and includes an audio installation of Tubman’s life narrated by singer and actor Queen Latifah, who was at the monument’s unveiling.
Footage livestreamed by the City of Newark, New Jersey, City Hall shows a crowd gathered at a ribbon cutting to open the monument. A press conference was also held.
“It’s incredibly beautiful to have it here in Harriet Tubman Square, down here in Newark. It’s incredible for me, to just be a part of it, something that started as a response to George Floyd’s murder and people all around the country pulling down statues that represented to them a history that was oppressive,” Mayor Ras J Baraka told reporters.
“And so we wanted to take it a step further, beyond just tearing something down, we wanted to build something, and as a result of that, this is what we got,” he added. Credit: City of Newark, NJ – City Hall via Storyful
- Really excited to be able to see this finally open to the public. Because really, it's about having people engage with the work, connect with each other, connect with the history, connect with the stories of the people of Newark. So a really exciting day.
[REPORTER ASKING QUESTION]
Well, I want them to feel the monumentality of it, right? It really holds its own in this park. So really understand that Harriet's legacy is really profound. But also, as we can see, which is-- you know, you can't see it behind the crowd here, but something that you can really connect to really directly, so that they feel not only inspired by the overwhelming legacy, but feel directly connected to the person and be that much more inspired to act after leaving here.
RAS J. BARAKA: It's outstanding. It's 100,000 times better than I anticipated. Nina Cooke John did an awesome, awesome job. I think that, and coupled with the work that Audible did, makes this probably one of the better monuments in the entire state of New Jersey. The quality of this monument is something that you would find in a capital city. When I walked up on it, it's incredibly beautiful to have it here in Harriet Tubman Square down here in Newark.
It's just incredible for me to just be a part of it, something that started as a response to George Floyd and a murder, and people all around the country pulling down statues that represented, to them, a history that was oppressive. And so we wanted to take it a step further beyond just tearing something down. We wanted to build something. And as a result of that, this is what we got. I say God is good. Today is incredible. I'm overwhelmed with emotion about our ability to cut the ribbon to see this done today.