Rev. Dr. Peter Ives and Rev. Carol Rinehart: Sojourner Truth painting to be unveiled

Published: 01-29-2023 8:26 PM

On Feb. 4, the Forbes Library will unveil a painting of Sojourner Truth by the highly regarded local artist Richard Yarde. This is a gift from the Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee. The event is part of a reception celebrating several additions to Forbes’ collection of works by regional BIPOC artists In 2008, Mr. Yarde gave this portrait, valued at $4,000, to be sold as a boost to our Sojourner Truth Social Justice Award scholarship program. Wendy Sinton, a steadfast advocate for community awareness of Sojourner Truth’s years in Florence, suggested a creative way to see that the local community could enjoy the painting rather than have it go into a private collection.

In exchange for special donations to the scholarships, some major donors including Florence Bank and Wohl Dentistry might display the painting on their walls for a period of time. A high-resolution copy of the original was given to the Lilly Library in Florence as well as the winning maquette originally submitted. We like to think Yarde would be pleased that his generous donation has been a gift that keeps on giving.

As of 2022, 49 graduating high school seniors have received the award for essays connecting Sojourner Truth’s legacy to their own social justice projects. The award has grown from $500 per student to $1,500. The number of annual awards has grown, and qualifying seniors from Hampden County as well as Hampshire County public schools are encouraged to apply. The full list of awardees can be found at This year’s seniors can find the application guidelines on the site or through their school guidance office. The application deadline is April 25.

Please join us at Forbes Library reception on Feb. 4 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to celebrate the new home for this wonderful gift to our community.

Rev. Dr. Peter Ives and Rev. Carol Rinehart, Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee