Posted on July 14, 2022

Newark’s Washington Park Renamed After Harriet Tubman

Amsterdam News, June 23, 2022

Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka hosted a ceremony this week to re-name Washington Park as Harriet Tubman Square and announce plans to create the Newark Arts and Education District, at the square, to mark Juneteenth.


“Today, as Mayor Baraka renames this park in Harriet Tubman’s honor, we, as New Jerseyans, can feel pride in our state’s role in the Underground Railroad. At the same time, however, we cannot forget that New Jersey was the last of all northern states to abolish slavery,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “There is no doubt that the effects of that evil continue to ripple through our communities today, making our work to expand opportunity in business, education, and homeownership, and to achieve equity in representation, health outcomes, and much more not just important, but our moral imperative.”

As part of the announcement, Baraka officially renamed Washington Park as Harriet Tubman Square. Following calls for racial justice and representation in civic public art in 2020, the city issued a public call for designs for a new monument honoring Harriet Tubman and New Jersey’s role in the Underground Railroad to be the new centerpiece for the re-named square, replacing a statue of Christopher Columbus removed by the city in summer 2020.

The new monument, designed by New Jersey artist and architect Nina Cooke John with support from Newark-based apprentice artist Adebunmi Gbadebo, is proposed to be unveiled in fall 2022 and serve as a community gathering space and a centering point for the new Arts and Education District. {snip}