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Irvington News

Yesterday Arrives in Irvington

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May 24, 2023

By Barrett Seaman—

She arrived on the back of a giant flatbed truck with its own forklift, necessary to lower her dense weight to the pavement and then lift her onto a newly installed base atop a brick wall between Village Hall and the Main Street School. She’ll be just up the hill from where a statue of Rip Van Winkle lounges on the lawn.

“She” is Yesterday, a bronze sculpture set in marble mined in Minnesota. She is a depiction of a young African girl who was once enslaved by local farmers, sculpted by artist Vinnie Bagwell. Her existence and the history of enslavement in the rivertowns came to light through the research of Irvington’s Sarah Cox and Cathy Sears, the two researchers who discovered her and more than a dozen other enslaved Africans buried in a previously unknown cemetery just up the hill from the Trent Building.

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Sarah Cox and Cathy Sears with the plaque that will sit below Yesterday.

Cox and Sears later successfully lobbied the Irvington School Board to agree to placing the work on Main Street School property, not far from the newly named Madam C.J. Walker Plaza at the foot of Village Hall.

An official installation ceremony is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on June 10th.

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