Sojourner Truth First African American Woman Memorial in United States Capitol

On April 28, 2009 American history was made. The National Congress of Black Women, Inc. (NCBW) introduced Sojourner Truth as the first African American woman to have a memorial bust in the United States Capitol building amidst hundreds of guests. After nearly a ten year effort spearheaded by the late Dr. C. Delores Tucker, former chair of NCBW, the memorial was completed by current National Chair, Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq. and members of NCBW.

The Celebration of Truth campaign included: The unveiling of the Sojourner Truth bust, a presentation of “Ain’t I A Woman,” by long time NCBW supporter and actress, Cicely Tyson. Music will be led by Lomax Spaulding, Yolanda Adams and Dorinda Clarke Cole at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center Emancipation Hall.

More than 250 donors, sponsors, guests and members of NCBW attended a celebratory Sojourner Truth Memorial Donors Luncheon at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, DC following the events at the U.S. Capitol. At the Donors Luncheon, the program included a Sojourner Truth dramatic presentation by singer/actress MZuri Moyo and a monologue by Brenda Strong, the narrator on ABC’s Desperate Housewives. Special music composed for the occasion was provided by gospel recording artist Lomax Spaulding.

“This accomplishment has been a struggle, but at the National Congress of Black Women, we have learned that it is from our struggles that we gain our victories. We never gave up no matter what stood in our way. This bust of Sojourner Truth in the U.S. Capitol is an honor to all women, and will forever serve as a part of our history that celebrates the right to vote for all women,” says Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq., National Chair of NCBW.

Williams further says, “The movement to bring Sojourner Truth’s memorial to the Capitol began more than 10 years ago. The effort began with my predecessor, the late Dr. C. Delores Tucker and NCBW members. Dr. Michelle Battle, our former COO, did a yeoman’s job to help us make this happen, and we are grateful to her and all who helped to make this day possible.

We thank Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rep. Diane Watson and their staffs who played key roles in this effort. We are also grateful to finally see ‘Truth in the Capitol’ getting the recognition she truly deserves. We could not have done this without our many donors from all over the country.”

Presenting co-sponsors of the Sojourner Truth Memorial include: Ford Motor Company, Shell Oil Company, Wal-Mart, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Capitol City Links, YWCA USA, Senator Ed Brooke, Events of the Heart and the Obama Family.

Sojourner Truth inspired generations of women to demand equality and who later would dare to reach for the ballot. Her Memorial, the first to a black woman in the U.S. Capitol, is a milestone, not just for African Americans and women, but for all Americans,” said President Barack Obama.

Supporters and Sponsors of Bill H.R. 4510 and the Sojourner Truth Memorial include: U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Rep. Diane Watson, Senator Arlen Specter and many more. Rep. Cynthia McKinney, Rep. Major Owens, Senator Carl Levin and Senator Chris Dodd also supported the earlier efforts to place Sojourner Truth in the Capitol.