New York Governor Hochul announces state park named after Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth State Park, located in Kingston, N.Y., along the Hudson River shoreline, will open to the public this spring.

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New York will be opening a new state park this spring and it will be named after Sojourner Truth. The news was announced by Governor Kathy Hochul in recognition of both Black History Month and Women’s History Month.

Sojourner Truth State Park, named for 19th century African American abolitionist and suffragist, will be located in Kingston, N.Y., along the Hudson River shoreline in Ulster County. It is the first state park to open in the city of Kingston, as well as the first opening of a new New York state park since 2019.

“It is fitting such a magnificent property with its cliffs and Hudson shoreline bears the name of a remarkable woman who started life right here in Ulster County,” Governor Hochul said in a statement sent to theGrio. “New York is committed to reflecting the diverse stories of its people, such as Sojourner Truth and her message of freedom and equality, that have influenced our state’s inspiring history.” 

Trailway located at Sojourner Truth State Park in Kingston, NY. (Photo provided by NY State Parks)

The naming of the park is relevant not only because Truth is a beloved icon of Black American history, but also because of her ties to the area where the park will be located.

Truth was born enslaved in Esopus, Ulster County, in 1797. After freeing herself from slavery in 1826, she made history by regaining custody of her son, who had been sold as a slave in the deep south. It was one of the first cases in which a Black woman won a court battle against a white person, according to the press release.

From there, she went on to become a preacher, work with the Freedmen’s Bureau, and crusaded not only for the freedom of Black slaves but for the voting rights of American women.

The more than 500-acre area where the park will sit is part of the former industrial property. The ex-cement production plant was transformed after a $13.5 million acquisition by State Parks, via funding from the state Environmental Protection Fund.

Map outline of Sojourner Truth State Park in Kingston, NY. (Photo provided by NY State Parks)

Before the purchase, State Parks partnered with Scenic Hudson, a not-for-profit environmental group, to protect the land from being used for large-scale private development. The public will have access to the park and its hiking trails later in the spring.

“The new park will support the ongoing economic revitalization of Kingston and the regional recreational tourism economy, said Erik Kulleseid, commissioner of State Parks. “It will benefit the quality of life for residents throughout the year, as well as provide a major new Hudson Valley attraction for users of the Empire State Trail.” 

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