Monuments to Resistance

Dublin Core


Monuments to Resistance


The monuments and memorials in this section commemorate the enslaved and free men and women who resisted bondage and worked to end the institution of slavery. In her book, The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition, historian Manisha Sinha examines the long history of Black resistance to chattel slavery. Resistance to enslavement took many forms—from rebellions aboard slave ships and on plantations to the enslaved slowing the pace of work, breaking tools, feigning illness, and escaping from bondage.

The works in this section honor these diverse histories of resistance. The Amistad Memorial in New Haven, Connecticut, recognizes Sengbe Pieh, who led a revolt of abducted Africans against their captors on the Spanish slave ship, the Amistad, while the Edmonson Sisters Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, celebrates the abolitionists and formerly enslaved sisters Mary and Emily Edmonson.


Written by Grace Yasumura


Renée Ater

Collection Items

Amistad Memorial (New Haven, CT)
The Amistad Memorial centers around a large bronze triangular prism adorned with sculptural reliefs, depicting scenes from the life of Sengbe Pieh.In 1839 Pieh led a revolt of abducted Africans against their captors on the Spanish slave ship, the…

Edmonson Sisters Memorial (Alexandria, VA)
Two young women emerge from a large rocky outcrop, their hands clasped tightly as they stride forward. The over life-sized work depicts the abolitionists and former slaves, the sisters Mary and Emily Edmonson. The statue is located on the site of the…

Denmark Vesey Monument (Charleston, SC)
The work is dedicated to Denmark Vesey, a carpenter and self-educated black man who planned one of the most extensive slave revolt in U.S. history in Charleston, SC in 1822. Vesey, elegantly dressed in a collared jacket, trousers, and an exceedingly…

Henry "Box" Brown Memorial (Richmond, Virginia)
The memorial commemorates Henry "Box" Brown's harrowing journey to freedom. On March 23, 1849, with the assistance of James Caesar Anthony Smith, a freedman and white abolitionist, Samuel Alexander Smith, Brown shipped himself in a two-by-three-foot…

Dred and Harriet Scott (St. Louis, MO)
A figurative statue of Dred and Harriet Scott. Dred Scott wears a suit with tie. He reaches his left arm behind Harriet Scott, embracing her; they also hold hands. Harriet Scott wears a full-length dress and turns her head upward.
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