On April 28, six NWHM Board Members and Advisors attended the dedication of the Sojourner Truth bust in Emancipation Hall of the new Capitol Visitor Center. She becomes only the 10th statue of a woman to stand in the U. S. Capitol building, out of 211 statues.
The Hall was filled with excitement and pride. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted that the event was long past due, Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged standing on the shoulders of the women who came before and Michelle Obama said that as a descendant of slaves, Sojourner Truth must be pleased to see her standing there as first lady.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke in honor of the dedication – good speeches but not near so impassioned as the women’s. The female speakers understood the indebtedness that they owed Truth. They had a vested interest and it showed.
One of the highlights was Cicely Tyson’s reenactment of Truth’s famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. It brought the house down. She made the words – and Truth – come alive.
In the most poignant of the Truth quotes, she described herself as “so tall within – I felt as if the power of a nation was within me.” Through her conviction she became larger than life; through her determination she called on higher powers and through her resolve she transformed the nation – just look at the three women sitting on the dias. A slave who can have that amount of impact inspires us to follow in her footsteps to take a stand against injustice and make this a better world.
May we all be sojourners of truth and for truth.