Limited Edition Sojourner Truth pin.
Copyrighted, stamped Inge, 1982
A former actress, artist and photographer, (Ruth) Inge Hardison sculpted “Negro Giants in History”. Included were busts of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, GeorgeWashington Carver, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Robeson and others. Her bust of JackieRobinson is installed at the Jackie Robinson Recreation Center in Harlem and her bust of Frederick Douglass is in Princeton University’s Library.
Born in Portsmouth, Va. on Feb. 3, 1914, Inge Hardison was the granddaughter of slaves. To escape segregation in the South, the family moved to Brooklyn, where she began a career on Broadway. In 1936, she landed the role of Topsy in “Sweet River,” George Abbott’s adaptation of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and starred in “The Country Wife” with Ruth Gordon. Also on stage with Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, it was then that she began making sculptures of actors.
She later studied and taught Vassar College, studied at the Art Students League of New York and was a founding member of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters.
In 1990, Gov. Mario M. Cuomo of New York presented her sculpture of Sojourner Truth, abolitionist and women’s rights advocate, to Nelson Mandela – the very sculpture that inspired the creation of her pins.
Hardison died in Manhattan on March 23, 2016. Looking back, her daughter, Yolande, remembers, “Her intent in creating the Sojourner Truth pin was to leave a legacy of heroism in the form of wearable art”.