Monument to the Matriarchs of Liberia, a sculpture installed at the Soapstone Baptist Church in Liberia, South Carolina
dedicated March 2021
The history of the African American Appalachian community of Liberia, South Carolina is a remarkable story of tenacity, foresight, solidarity, and community. Outstanding individuals, both women and men, have contributed to this 170-year-old history. This history includes elements unique to an African American community, but it is also a universal human story - a story that focuses on individual and community development, the successful confrontation of hostile external factors, and the intergenerational solidarity and love that allow humans to create a better world.
The sculpture is located on the hillside behind and below the current Soapstone Baptist church. From below it takes the form of the original church burned by White supremacists in 1967. The uphill side is dominated by representation of a strong, middle-aged woman in a long dress. This is the “other mother”, the strong matriarch who supports and guides the community generation after generation. Because this figure represents multiple generations of women, the facial features and clothing are undetailed.
The monument blends into the soapstone outcroppings and is located between and above the two vertical soapstone monoliths that already exist in the area. It is a short walk away from the historically important, renovated schoolhouse.
It measures over 2 meters in height and 1.3 meters in width and is made of rebar-reinforced, dyed concrete.
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