Newark receives major funding for Harriet Tubman Monument

Dawn Furnas//March 14, 2022//

Newark receives major funding for Harriet Tubman Monument

Dawn Furnas//March 14, 2022//

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Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced March 10 — deemed Harriet Tubman Day — that the city received major funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Audible for the new Harriet Tubman Monument in Washington Park, which will be renamed Harriet Tubman Square later this year when the monument is installed.

The Mellon Foundation committed $350,000 to the project as part of its national Monuments Project initiative, a $250 million commitment to support public projects “that more completely and accurately represent the multiplicity and complexity of American stories,” according to a statement from the city.

Additionally, Audible, an Amazon subsidiary, will curate audio features that accompany the monument that will share stories of Tubman’s life along with Newark’s role in the Underground Railroad and free Black communities. Collaboration with Audible’s program and content teams is made possible by a $300,000 contribution to the construction and audio programming of the monument.

All told, the funds will cover the construction of the monument; visitor audio experience; and educational, cultural and historical programming in conjunction with the Newark Museum of Art, the Newark Public Library, the Newark City Parks Foundation, Newark Arts, Rutgers University – Newark, and local artists.

“Newark has continually been recognized for its forward-thinking leadership on reimagining our public spaces and creating public art that inclusively tell the story of our people,” Baraka said in a statement. “The Harriet Tubman monument will enable her life of heroic achievement to inspire present and future generations of Newark residents, and add a critical component to their ability to reclaim and tell their own story. I would like to thank the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Audible, and all of our cultural institution partners for helping us to make this vision a reality.”

Nina Cooke John’s monument design – Shadow of a Face – was chosen for Newark’s new Harriet Tubman Monument. – NINA COOKE JOHN/VIMEO

In June 2021, Baraka announced that Nina Cooke John’s monument design – Shadow of a Face – was selected to replace a statue of Christopher Columbus that was removed from Washington Park in the summer of 2020.

Upcoming events:

  • Residents are invited to attend a public meeting hosted by the Newark People’s Assembly and the Newark City Parks Foundation on plans for Harriet Tubman Square on March 22 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Newark Museum of Art.
  • Audio stories of Newark residents will kick off with the opening of a recording booth at the Newark Public Library on March 26 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The groundbreaking for the monument is scheduled to take place in honor of Juneteenth, with a formal unveiling in the fall.