A Gathering at the Crossroads pays tribute to voting rights, Harrisburg’s Old Eighth Ward, and four African American civil rights leaders of the 19th century: Thomas Morris Chester, Jacob T. Compton, William Howard Day, and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. It was installed in 2020 in commemoration of the 150th and 100th anniversaries of the 15th and 19th amendments, respectively, and the voting rights of all people, It is on Equity Circle, on the grounds of the State Capitol.
The monument, sculpted by Becky Ault, includes four life-sized bronze figures: Thomas Morris Chester the first African American war correspondent; Jacob T. Compton, a pastor and musician who helped President-elect Abraham Lincoln evade an assassination attempt; William Howard Day, the first African American school board president and advocate for the 15th Amendment; and Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, a poet and African American advocate for suffrage and education.
The monument’ also includes a bronze-cast orator’s pedestal including historical images of the city’s “Old Eighth Ward,” a once thriving and diverse community northeast of the Pennsylvania Capitol. The names of 100 prominent men and women from the neighborhood are listed on its base and a relief map of the Eighth Ward is on top. The Equality Circle itself is also new.
This statue grouping was inspired by Lenwood Sloan, an artist and facilitator for cultural and heritage programs across the United States. In 2016, he was part of a conference, where Louis D’Amour, executive director of the International Institute of Peace Through Tourism (IIPT), was keynote speaker. Recently retired, Sloan put together a coalition to make this a reality in Pennsylvania.