The rainy weather on Sunday didn't prevent people from witnessing the much-anticipated unveiling of the Underground Railroad tribute sculpture at Facer Park.
To commemorate Sandusky's role in the Underground Railroad, artist Suzan Schultz designed a life-sized sculpture of a black man, his wife and child escaping to freedom. Eight hundred feet of chain was used for the sculpture, except for the face, arm and knee of the man, which is made of bronze.
The change to bronze symbolizes the "plain of freedom" the father crosses.
"I think it's wonderful. She did a great job. She put in a lot of work and she deserves all the fame and congratulations on all the work that she did," said Ulysses Thomas Jr., the model for the man's face.
During the presentation, Jerry Garrett and others explained the importance of the sculpture.
"The path to freedom commemorates Sandusky's involvement in the Underground Railroad," Garrett said. "We need to focus on this as a beacon for the present and where we go in the future."
John Bacon, Mack Iron and Sandusky Erie County Community Foundation, quoted Frederick Douglass during the ceremony, calling him the voice to the path of freedom.
"This contest has now ended. My chains are broken, and the victory brings me unspeakable joy," Bacon said, reading Doulass' words.
Schultz said she hopes the sculpture encourages people to remember the past, but most importantly, to think critically about the present and the future.
"Are we pushing or are we pulling," she said. "What are we doing today to help people be free?"
The sculpture was a collaborative effort. The idea was created from an Erie County LEADS program, the Sandusky Rotary and the Lange Trust funded much of the project. Schultz said she had a lot of help building the sculpture as well as additional support from other organizations.