She became in her own time and ours an inspiration to Blacks, to women, to the poor, and to the religious. She was a remarkably honorable figure for us to focus on, when we look to the past and seek heroes or heroines. She was a woman who struggled against terrible odds and poverty all of her life.
Carleton Mabee, author of Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, & Legend
Sojourner Truth Esopus Memorial
Sojourner Truth, who was born a slave, overcame enormous obstacles to become a nationally known speaker and activist for equal rights and justice. To commemorate this remarkable woman, who spent her first 32 years in Ulster County, in 2009 the Town of Esopus Board established the Sojourner Truth Memorial at the corner of Route 9W and Salem Street in Port Ewen.
The centerpiece of the memorial is a statue of Truth. It depicts her as a young girl, when she lived in what became the village of Port Ewen as the slave of Martinus Schryver, a Revolutionary War veteran who owned a tavern in town. While Truth is always portrayed as a towering, simply clad, elderly figure, this statue shows her as a child, living in slavery, going about her daily work.
Besides honoring the memory of a woman who devoted her life to the abolitionist cause in particular, and the cause of human rights in general, the memorial also serves to raise public awareness of the fact of the institution of slavery in New York State, and is a reminder that child slavery continues to exist today worldwide.
The statue is the work of sculptor, Trina Greene, of New Paltz NY. Ms Greene did a wonderful job in creating the face and figure of a young, leggy girl, living a difficult, lonely life, but filled with determination and hope for the future.
The Sojourner Truth Memorial in Esopus was made possible by donations of individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, and a grant from the New York State Assembly obtained by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill. The memorial greenspace was created on the site of the former Esopus Town Hall. Construction was made possible through the New York State Department of Transportation.
For more information about Sojourner Truth:
- Mabee, Carleton. Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet & Legend
- Painter, Nell Irvin. Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol
- Washington, Margaret. Sojourner Truth’s America
- Williams Meyers, A.J. Long Hammering; Essays on the Forging of the African American Presence in the Hudson Valley
List of Honors
- 2009 – Statue placed in the U.S. Capitol’s Hall of Emancipation
- 1997 -- The NASA Mars Pathfinder names its robotic rover "Sojourner Truth.”
- 1986 -- U.S. Postal Service issues a commemorative postage stamp.
- 1981 -- Truth is inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
- Anne Gordon, Chair, New Paltz
- Tim Allred, Ulster Park
- Evelyn Clarke, Port Ewen
- Corinne Nyquist, New Paltz
For further information about the Town of Esopus Memorial to Sojourner Truth in New York’s historic Hudson Valley, please contact:
Ulster County Historian Anne Gordon
100 Woodland Pond Circle, #635
New Paltz, NY 12561