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 will be a statue of Truth. It will depict Truth as a young girl, when she lived near the memorial site for two years as the slave of Martinus Schryver, a Revolutionary War veteran who owned a tavern. While Truth is always portrayed as a towering, simply clad elderly figure, this statue will show a different facet of her life, focusing on her formative years as a slave.
Besides permanently preserving the memory of a woman who devoted her life to the abolitionist cause as well as women’s rights, the memorial will also serve to raise public awareness of the institution of slavery in New York State, a little-known chapter of local history.
The Sojourner Truth Memorial in Esopus will be made possible through the donations of individuals, businesses and charitable foundations. The memorial greenspace is created from the site of the former Esopus Town Hall. Construction is made possible through the New York State Department of Transportation. The Sojourner Truth Memorial Fund is a non-endowed designated fund of the Ulster County Community Foundation (UCCF), a 501(c)(3) corporation under the Internal Revenue Code.
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.