Standing nine feet tall and made of bronze, “Harriet Tubman, The Journey to Freedom” was sculpted by Wesley Wofford of Wofford Sculpture Studio and presented on the northeast corner of Philadelphia's City Hall last Tuesday. The statue will remain there until the end of March when the city plans to honor the anniversary of her birth in March of 1822.
The statue depicts Tubman accompanied by a child who would be the last person she led to freedom. Eventually, she adopted the child.
Mayor Jim Kenney said the statue has an important story to tell.
“Harriet Tubman’s incredible legacy of heroism, resilience, hope, and activism is a story we can all learn from as individuals as well as a community, Kenney said. “The presence of stories like these in the form of public art is vital for learning and reflection, connecting with our communities, and understanding our mutual histories.”
Kelly Lee, the city’s Chief Cultural Officer, hopes that the statue will be more than just another piece of art.
“This traveling monument by sculptor Wesley Wofford represents Harriet Tubman’s courageous journey to free enslaved people,” Lee said. “It beautifully illustrates her determination, despite the intense opposition, she faced.”
In celebration of the installment of the statue, a slate of programming including exhibits, screenings of the movie, Harriet, and a birthday party for the esteemed abolitionist and activist will mark the occasion. Wofford will also participate in panel discussions.
Lee said the sculpture tells a specific story about Tubman, who led over 70 people to freedom from chattel slavery, but it also conveys a message about the quest for liberation
“It’s also a universal story of what she represented and the determination that she had,” added Lee.