With news that Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20, it is a good chance to revisit Little Rock’s Harriet Tubman sculpture.
In preparation for the opening of the Clinton Library in 2004, a series of sculptures were placed which linked a walkway between the River Market and the Clinton Presidential Park.
One of these sculptures is entitled Harriet Tubman. Since she was from the era of President Lincoln, it seems fitting to feature this sculpture on this, Lincoln’s birthday.
The bronze sculpture, by Jane DeDecker, depicts Miss Tubman grasping the hand of a young boy and leading him on a walk. DeDecker captures both compassion and a steely determination in the features of Miss Tubman’s face. The folds of their clothes indicate that they are on a journey.
Whether their walk is a part of the Underground Railroad or simply a walk along the path in post-war times is immaterial. Miss Tubman understood that there is always some form of oppression one must struggle against.
Etched into the base of the statue (and repeated on plaque on the pedestal) is a quote attributed to Miss Tubman. “Children, if you are tired, keep going; if you’re hungry, keep going; if you’re scared, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”
The statue was originally located in Riverfront Park near the site of the current Game and Fish Nature Center. It was relocated during the construction of that facility and now anchors the entrance to Clinton Presidential Park. Harriet Tubman was a gift of Haskell and Peggy Dickinson to the City of Little Rock.