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In conformity with the federal Truth In Digital Images Act of 2001, Agence-Vleeptron Presse discloses that the new version of this photograph has been digitally edited to remove a gardener, who was leaning over and showing her butt to the photographer.
I filled up the roll of 35mm film in my disposable camera with images in my neighborhood.
This is a 5-year-old statue of the freed slave, anti-slavery activist, and early champion of women's rights, Sojourner Truth, who came to my neighborhood -- Florence, Massachusetts -- to join a pacifist, abolitionist school community in which both genders and all races were equal. She lived in a small house in the village of Florence for the rest of her life, which was the headquarters of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a quite famous and radical community in its day.
Northampton just spontaneously has always had a history of lefty and somewhat Utopian activity. I am constantly surprised at how closely it resembles my vacation planet of Vleeptron (which abolished slavery of human beings and cats and dogs 975,000 years ago).
I just learned an odd bit of trivia about my neighbor S.J. She wasn't a stereotypical slave in the American South. She was born into slavery in New York state, owned by a Dutch-American household, and until she was a young adult, the only language she spoke was Dutch. After a series of sales from owner to owner as New York state was on the verge of abolishing slavery, a Quaker family bought her, freed her, and paid her last owner money to compensate for a year's worth of her slave labor.
The sculptor is Thomas Jay Warren, and I was shocked at how fine a statue it is compared to most modern representational statues I've seen.
The text below is from her famous speech, "Ain't I a Woman?", made at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851.