American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who helped roughly 70 slaves to escape to freedom using the Underground Railroad, was remembered on Saturday at the ground breaking ceremony held at a Maryland state park in her honor.
Tubman was an escaped slave herself, who worked in bondage on the 17 acre land now chosen to be the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park located on the eastern shore of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. The construction of the park on the marshland and forests in Dorchester County marks the 100th anniversary of Tubman’s death.
Interestingly it also coincides with the opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125 mile drive with over 30 historical stops related to the abolitionist’s leader early life and the Underground Railroad. Some highlights on the stop include the Mason-Dixon line, a one room school, a historic village store with artifacts from the 1800’s and eventually of course the new park being constructed.
Patricia Ross- Hawkins who is a distant relative of Tubman said, “I think the byway is awesome, because we’re connecting the dots again. We’re telling the complete story.”
The park is slated for a 2015 opening and is located on the same land that Tubman worked as a slave before she escaped to Pennsylvania at the age of 27. It will be located near to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge; the park will feature walking trails, a garden and a visitor’s center with exhibits.
Tubman has long being considered an American icon, after leading the slaves to freedom and later went on to become a humanitarian and women’s suffragist.