(NEWARK, NJ) — On March 4, 2021, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka named the five finalists who have been chosen to propose designs for the new Harriet Tubman Monument Project. The city intends to rename Washington Park to Tubman Square in 2022 when the new monument will be installed, replacing the statue of Christopher Columbus that was removed in June 2020. The heroic abolitionist made Newark an important stop on the Underground Railroad as she personally led enslaved African-Americans out of the South to freedom.
“Harriet Tubman’s courage, valor, activism, and spirit of self-sacrifice made her a role model in times of civil unrest and Civil War. She personally led runaway slaves through Newark, working with local abolitionists to hide them from slave-catchers in our churches. Her entire life speaks to us today, teaching us about unity and selflessness in time of struggle,” Mayor Baraka said. “The monument will serve as encouragement to our present and future generations, allowing them to draw inspiration from the artists who will put a modern view on Ms. Tubman’s life and works.”
The finalists selected are five critically acclaimed artists: Abigail DeVille, Dread Scott, Jules Arthur, Nina Cooke John, and Vinnie Bagwell.
The finalists were recommended by a diverse 14-member jury of art experts, historians, and community stakeholders led by the City of Newark’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Director fayemi shakur. The jury members’…