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, George Washington Carver, W.E.B.


Du Bois, Paul Robeson and others. Her bust of Jackie Robinson 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 at Vassar College, studied at the Art Students League of New York and was a founding member of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters.


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”.


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.