Philadelphia Searches for African American Historical Figure to Celebrate

The PBS documentary HARRIET TUBMAN: VISIONS OF FREEDOM premiered on October 4, 2022.

From Frederick Douglass to the CIA, Harriet Tubman’s singular contribution to American history is recognized. Yet Philadelphia, the city where Tubman first experienced freedom, is scrounging around for an African American historical figure to celebrate. Without explanation, the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) is seeking public input “for a permanent statue that celebrates Harriet Tubman’s story or another African American’s contributions to our nation’s history.”

The survey asks five questions, all of which beg the question: Why is OACCE searching for random African American historical figures to replace Harriet Tubman? OACCE is heading down the same path of lack of transparency and incoherence that led to the reversal of their plan to award a no-bid commission to a white artist. OACCE Director Kelly Lee and Public Art Director Marguerite Anglin are cruising for another bruising.