On May 29, 1851, Sojourner Truth delivered her iconic “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention in Akron. Today, the Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee, a committee of local women leaders of Summit County, aims to recognize the importance of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote and to honor Sojourner Truth and her tireless advocacy for women’s rights.
The committee has been raising funds and working with local artist Woodrow Nash who has created a prototype statue of Sojourner Truth. The statue will serve as an ongoing opportunity to educate the public on the progress made over the last 100 years and honor the fight for voting rights for all women — especially many women of color who were excluded from voting until the 1960s.
To support the education goals, committee members are partnering with Akron Public Schools, Akron-Summit County Public Library, the Summit County Historical Society and others to develop curriculum that will teach the story of Sojourner Truth’s journey from slavery to women’s rights advocate while inspiring future leaders to realize that personal goals are attainable.
As the location of Sojourner Truth's historic speech, which challenged the exclusion of women of color from the antebellum women's movement, Akron plays an extraordinary role in the fight for voting rights for all women.
“Summit County has a rich history of strong women leaders and we are excited to honor that history,” says Lisa King, Executive Director of Summit Metro Parks and fundraising committee co-chair. “The Sojourner Truth statue will stand as a reminder of the work that is still necessary to ensure all women are included in the fight for equity.”
Learn more and stay up to date with the progress of the statue project by visiting www.truthstatue.org. Donations can be made on the site through the Akron Community Foundation which will aid the Sojourner Truth Project-Akron in ensuring the ongoing efforts to educate the community and support the future of equity for all women.
About the Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee
Women community leaders in Summit County came together in 2019 to establish the Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee to recognize the importance of the Suffrage Centennial in Summit County. From this committee, the Sojourner Truth Project-Akron was born. This project is a renewed effort to establish a Sojourner Truth statute in Akron, the site of Truth's famous speech that challenged the exclusion of women of color from the women’s rights movement.