Celebrating a historical icon in the very place she left her mark on history
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“May I say a Few Words?”

In 1851, abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth visited Akron, Ohio, and made history. Speaking at the Old Stone Church, Truth addressed a mostly white crowd at the Ohio Women’s Convention. As a Black woman and former enslaved person, Truth spoke out on behalf of those whose voices were ignored or silenced. Her iconic speech, now considered one of the greatest in American history, is remembered as “Ain’t I a Woman?” – though she probably never spoke those exact words.

Akron’s Newest Landmark

Located at the site of Truth’s 1851 speech to the Ohio Woman’s Convention, the Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza was designed by Dion Harris, landscape designer for Summit Metro Parks, and features a floral motif inspired by Truth’s family roots in Ghana. At the center stands a life-size bronze sculpture of Sojourner Truth by nationally renowned Akron artist Woodrow Nash. Additional architectural work was provided by GPD Group and construction was done by the Ruhlin Company. The Plaza opened officially on May 29, 2024 – the 173rd anniversary of Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. Additional artworks for the plaza were created by Derin Fletcher and Alexandria Couch.

Interested in visiting the plaza? Visit here for more information.

About the Sojourner Truth Project

The story of the Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza began more than twenty years ago, when University of Akron professor emeritus Faye Hersh Dambrot proposed the creation of a statue of Truth and renowned local artist Woodrow Nash first developed a prototype. But without sufficient funding, the project was put on hold.

In 2019, the Summit Suffrage Centennial Committee, convened by Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage, revived the project. Working with Woodrow Nash and a new coalition of partners – including United Way of Summit & Medina, which provided the site for the project – the Committee brought the new landmark, more than two decades in the making, to life.

Members of the Sojourner Truth Project Core Committee:

  • Towanda Mullins – Chair – Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Akron Alumnae Chapter
  • Theresa Carter – Fundraising – President, Synthomer Foundation
  • Pamela Hickson-Stevenson – Communications – Executive Director, Akron-Summit County Public Library
  • Margaret Maurer – Education – Women’s Interfaith Spiritual Heritage (WISH)
  • Woodrow Nash – Design Team – International Sculptor
  • Ilene Shapiro – Summit County Executive
  • Lisa King – Fundraising – Executive Director, Summit Metro Parks
  • Leianne Neff Heppner – Project Historian – CEO, Summit County Historical Society of Akron, Ohio
  • Jackie Derrow – Communications – Past President, League of Women Voters of Akron
  • Dion Harris – Design Team – Landscape Architect, Summit Metro Parks

Thank you to the sponsors and donors who have made this important work possible.
Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza Sponsors

About Woodrow Nash

Born in Akron,  Ohio in the late 1940s, Woodrow Nash works in the tradition of the greater masters to build a sense of mystery and charisma into each of his sculptures. Through his pieces, Nash achieves his goal of integrating expression, complex symbolism and sophisticated aesthetics to yield striking embodiments of the human soul and sensuality.

Today, the work of Woodrow Nash is collected internationally. His collectors’ demographics have no racial boundaries and include everyone from working professionals to affluent sports figures and entertainment superstars. Learn more.

About Alexandria Couch

Alexandria Couch is a visual artist from Akron, Ohio, where she received her BFAs in Printmaking and Painting at the University of Akron Myers School of Art. She received her Printmaking and Painting MFA at Yale University.  She is currently an artist fellow at the NXTHVN residency in New Haven, CT. Couch has shown her art in multiple exhibitions, including the 2019 and 2020 AXA Art Prize, the Ross-Sutton Gallery’s Presentation for 1-54 NY, Heaven at New Image Art, Comfort/(Dis)Comfort at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking, the 2022 Front Triennial and A Signal Not Urgent But Breaking at the Perrotin gallery in NY. During recent years, Alexandria has had the honor of working on multiple local art projects including her mural with Land Studio in Cleveland, and the We Are project with artist Micah Kraus through the Downtown Akron Partnership.

About Derin Fletcher

Derin Fletcher is from Akron, Ohio. She became serious about pursuing an art career during her senior year at Firestone High School. After receiving a BFA in Industrial Design from Savannah College of Art & Design and an MFA in studio art, she came back to Ohio and became a freelance artist/designer working with some of the biggest brands and companies, including Hulu, NBA, Dove and many more. She still resides in Northeast Ohio where she continues to connect and create artwork within the community.