BCN Staff – Feb. 26, 2021 — Mayor Frank Scott and the Little Rock officials on Wednesday unveiled a Harriet Tubman sculpture in front of City Hall as part of city’s Black History Month celebration.
At the ceremony, Mayor Scott, City Director Dean Kumpuris, Haskell Dickinson, and Little Rock civil rights leader and guest honoree Annie Abrams attended the City Hall event. Scott shared anecdotes concerning Tubman’s contributions to American history and the importance of setting aside Black History Month to recognize her and so many others.
Scott opened the ceremony by detailing the importance of this commemoration taking place during this month. “We all know that Black history is American history. One of the iconic, critical, everlasting figures in Black history, American history, is the woman by the name of Harriet Tubman,” said Scott.
In October, Mayor Scott issued a proclamation declaring it Arts and Humanities Month in Little Rock. At the time, he said the Tubman sculpture was looking for new homes after it was relocated from Riverfront Park in the downtown area.
According to city officials, the Harriet Tubman sculpture by Jane DeDecker was first installed in Little Rock in November 2004 as one of the original seven sculptures placed downtown to link Riverfront Park and the River Market with the Clinton Presidential Park. Placed by the forerunner of Sculpture at the River Market, these seven sculptures were dedicated prior to the opening of the Clinton Presidential Center.
Hubman’s sculpture was donated in honor of Carrie Remmel Dickinson by her family. Mrs. Dickinson, who was present at the November 2004 ceremony, passed away in March 2005 at the age of 85. Haskell Dickinson represented the family at this week’s event.
The sculpture was originally placed in Riverfront Park near the current site of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. Due to the construction of that facility, in 2007 it was relocated to President Clinton Avenue at the entrance of Clinton Presidential Park.
In 2020, due to I-30 construction, it was one of four sculptures removed to be relocated to other places downtown. One of the four was placed in Clinton Presidential Park, one is now in Riverfront Park and the third is sited on Main Street in front of the Tech Park.
In consultation with the Dickinson family, the decision was made to place Harriet Tubman at City Hall in front of the West Wing, which was built in 1912 as the Central Fire Station. Over the past several months, Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department crews have constructed a plaza in front of City Hall West Wing in which the sculpture will be the focal point.
This is the second sculpture on the City Hall grounds. In April 2020, Theresa Dyer’s Little Rock was installed at the corner of Markham and Broadway. Dyer’s piece won the Sculpture at the River Market 2019 Public Monument competition.
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