Philadelphia Art Commission approves work to begin on Harriet Tubman statue

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The Philadelphia Art Commission has officially selected the Harriet Tubman statue that will be placed outside City Hall in the coming years.

On Wednesday, the vote was made unanimously, which was needed for the city of Philadelphia to begin the contracting process with artist Alvin Pettit.

“Harriet Tubman was a beacon of light at a dark time in our nation’s history, and she helped Black people find freedom through the Underground Railroad,” Mayor Cherelle Parker said in a release. “Her recognition and this work of art in her honor, created by an artist of color, is overdue and welcomed. Hundreds of thousands will see this sculpture every year outside City Hall. As the first ever woman mayor of Philadelphia, and as a Black woman, I am thrilled that the first piece of public art to be approved under this administration will be this statue of a Black woman who fought for freedom here in Philadelphia — Harriet Tubman.”

Pettit’s statue design, “A Higher Power: The Call of a Freedom Fighter,” was selected from five finalists in a year-long process by the African American Historic Statue Advisory Committee in October 2023 following controversy over the initial selection process. The design showcases Tubman standing steadfast against strong headwinds with her fists clenched in prayer.

  • January 12, 2024
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