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Steuben County officials to unveil statue to abolitionist Sojourner Truth

(Photo Supplied/ ABC Angola- Fremont)

ANGOLA, Ind. (WOWO): The Downtown Angola Coalition will be hosting a ceremony to unveil a life-size statue of abolitionist and suffragette Sojourner Truth at the Steuben County Courthouse on the Public Square in downtown Angola on Sunday, June 6, at 2 p.m.

The statue commemorates the June 2, 1861, speech given by Truth on the porch of the Steuben County Courthouse and her month spent in Steuben County at a time when the Indiana Constitution forbade Blacks from setting foot in the state.

The Sojourner Truth memorial unveiling will culminate a week of events centered around Truth and her time spent in Steuben County. Events are being held daily from June 2-5 to mark the event, leading up to the June 6 celebration. In addition, there has been instruction in schools about Truth and a community read, as well as a display at the newly opened Pleasant Lake History Museum. Truth was believed to have spent a significant amount of time in Pleasant Lake, a lake community four miles south of Angola.

“We are so proud to present this sculpture.  For the first time, we are commemorating a woman as part of our community’s history in our downtown.  Sojourner Truth spoke in our county when it was illegal to do so and that says so much about her courage.” said Colleen Everage, president of the Downtown Angola Coalition. “We look forward to this sculpture being an integral part of our historic downtown and will serve as a reminder of strong, righteous and forward-thinking women of the past and will encourage women of the future.”

The statue was made possible by a Preserving Women’s Legacy Grant awarded by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana Humanities. Local support came from First Federal Savings Bank of Angola and many other private partners and volunteers. The Downtown Angola Coalition, an affiliate of Mainstreet, was one of three Indiana entities to receive Preserving Women’s Legacy Grants in August 2020 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

The Sojourner Truth statue was created by Colorado sculptor James Haire, a native of Crawfordsville, Indiana.

The unveiling ceremony will feature an historic reenactment of Truth’s speech in Angola, authors who have written about Truth, state officials and descendants of Truth who are traveling to Angola for the event.

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