United Way of Summit & Medina dedicates green space and additional funding to Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza

Jul 25, 2023

The organization has set aside an additional $400,000 for completion.

The future site honoring abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth will now permanently include a dedicated green space.

Following a July 24 vote from Akron City Council authorizing a land swap agreement between Akron Public Schools (APS) and the City of Akron, United Way of Summit & Medina will acquire the former APS administration building on 70 N Broadway Street and surrounding property extending to Rte. 59, in between High St and Broadway. United Way of Summit & Medina will work with partners in the community to fully assess the condition of the former Akron Board of Education building and property and to develop options for future use.

By dedicating the area beside the plaza to permanent green space, United Way will ensure that the space remains accessible to all, with a view of the surrounding landscape that will enhance its purpose as a location for tranquility and remembrance.

Situated where Truth gave her historic speech, now known as “Ain’t I a Woman?”, the Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza will celebrate the life and impact of the famed orator and activist. Originally conceived by the Sojourner Truth Project committee – which sprang out of the Summit Suffrage Centennial committee – the project gained momentum last year when United Way of Summit & Medina offered a portion of its grounds to house the plaza. Once the plaza is completed, United Way will be responsible for the plaza’s preservation and upkeep.

In addition, the executive committee of United Way’s board of directors has authorized the allocation of an additional $400,000 for the completion of the project. Drawing from its reserves, the organization will replenish the funds through a dedicated fundraising campaign for the plaza, in continued partnership with the Sojourner Truth Project Committee.

“When United Way of Summit & Medina first became involved in the project to build a statue of Sojourner Truth, we knew we wanted it to be a tribute worthy of her legacy,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina. “This dedicated green space and the additional funding will help ensure that the very place she made history with her groundbreaking speech will live on as a place for education and reflection.”

After capital costs for construction are covered, additional fundraising will continue to go toward ongoing upkeep of the plaza, as well as educational programming, in partnership with the Sojourner Truth Project committee, to help spread awareness of Truth’s life and impact. For those interested in supporting the upkeep of the Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza, donate online at uwsummitmedina.org/sojourner-truth-legacy-plaza.

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