REGISTER VIEWPOINT: Path to unity

Maybe it can be a symbol of the unity for which Sandusky ought to strive. The "Path to Freedom" statue that was unveiled last
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Maybe it can be a symbol of the unity for which Sandusky ought to strive.

The "Path to Freedom" statue that was unveiled last Sunday in Facer Park is, on its face, meant to stand for Sandusky's role on the Underground Railroad, the path by which escaped slaves sought freedom, largely in Canada.

Sandusky artist Susan Schultz designed the statue, born out of an idea generated by Leadership Erie County, and used the face of her friend, Ulysses Thomas Jr., as the model and inspiration for the black man who has led his family to the threshold of freedom. The name comes from two local students, Katy Fleitz and Jeremiah Hinkle, who hit on the name independently of each other.

The symbolism is striking: The figures of a man, woman and child are formed of welded chain -- except for bright bronze where the man has crossed the figurative boundary between bondage and freedom.

Already there are questions, mostly anonymous and partly hateful, on our Web forums as to why there is no art "just for white" folks.

The easy answer, and one properly contemptuous of that hateful ignorance, is that "white" art is all over the place, and needs no special emphasis.

The better answer, the human answer, is this: The artist is white, as are the students who named the statue. The man who was the inspiration is black. This art, black and white, cold iron and bright bronze, is the community's art, for all of us, because it is part of all of us.

And that's what we should want.