WASHINGTON (JTA) — A rabbi delivered the benediction at the unveiling of a statue in the U.S. Capitol of Sojourner Truth.
The congressional leadership and First Lady Michelle Obama attended the unveiling Tuesday of the first statue of an African-American woman in the Capitol.
Delivering the benediction was Rabbi Amy Schwartzman of Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Va.
Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and a women’s rights activist who urged fellow feminists to unite in the cause against slavery.
“Just as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott would be pleased to know that we have a woman serving as the speaker of the House of Representatives,” Obama said, referring to U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, “I hope that Sojourner Truth would be proud to see me, a descendant of slaves, serving as the first lady of the United States of America.”
In her benediction, Schwartzman said of Sojourner Truth, “Could we but borrow a portion of her power, or a kernel of her wisdom, perhaps we might find the strength and insight needed to fight the injustices that plague our communities. Could we but embrace a fraction of her passion or a drop of her determination, we too might lift up the fallen, draw in the disenfranchised and wipe out the oppression and inequality that tragically still exist.”