Monument Commemorating Voting Rights Bill To Be Built In Harrisburg

Jan 28, 2020

A monument honoring voting rights for African American men and women will soon be built on Pennsylvania's Capitol grounds.

The monument will also commemorate former residents of the Old Eighth Ward, a black community in Harrisburg that was demolished to make way for the state Capitol Complex. The monument will be located on the Capitol grounds outside the K. Leroy Irvis Office Building, PennLive.com reported Monday.

The multi-purpose monument, called “A Gathering at the Crossroads,” will feature four bronze lifesize statues of abolitionists and orators who fought for equal rights. The orators — William Howard Day, Thomas Morris Chester, Jacob T. Compton, and Francis Ellen Walker Harper – will be gathered around a pedestal inscribed with the names of 100 leaders of the Old Eighth Ward.

Groundbreaking for the $400,000 monument will be held on March 25 and the dedication is scheduled for June 15.

Lenwood Sloan, executive director of the monument committee, announced the start of an eight-week fundraising campaign at a news conference on Monday. He said $290,000 has been raised to date.

The committee also hopes to locate descendants of people who lived in the Old Eighth Ward to attend the monument's dedication, Sloan said. Messiah College history professor David Pettegrew and his students have found more than 40 people people so far.

(Photo credit: Gov. Tom Wolf/Flickr)