The Lead

Harrisburg’s new monument a testament to 15th and 19th amendment and the old 8th Ward

By: - January 27, 2020 3:25 pm

A monument to Harrisburg’s 8th Ward and the 15th and 19th amendments is announced on the Capitol Steps.

On Monday morning a small crowd gathered in the Capitol’s main Rotunda for the news that Harrisburg would be getting a new monument.

The new monument will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 15th amendment and the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which granted the right to vote, respectively to African Americans and women.  

The monument will also honor the legacy of the Old 8th Ward, a black neighborhood in Harrisburg of nearly 11,000 homes that was razed to make way for the Capitol complex expansion in the early 1900s.

A monument at the Capitol will honor Harrisburg’s long-gone immigrant and African American neighborhood

By June, a bronze fixture will occupy the vacant corner of 4th and Walnut streets.

The statue will depict four figures. Jacob Compton, a member of the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War and coachmen to Simon Cameron; Thomas Chester, a war correspondent and lawyer during the Civil War; Abolitionist and editor, William Howard Day and Frances Harper Abolitionist and women’s rights advocate.

Speakers at the event said Harper’s likeness will be handing the 15th amendment document back to an unspecified man, as if to say that there’s “still work to be done” to include women.

State Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia, said the monument will be a testament to progress.

“Progress can be made, and has been made,” he said.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called the monument “long overdue.”


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.