New park unit commemorates work of fearless Underground Railroad conductor during her later years in life
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined U.S. Senators Charles Schumer, Kristen Gillibrand and U.S. Congressman John Katko as well as community and park partners at a signing ceremony formally establishing the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park (NHP), in Auburn, New York as the 414th unit of the National Park System.
The new park commemorates the work of the fearless Underground Railroad conductor during her later years in life, when she was an active proponent of womens’ suffrage and other causes. The park is located at the site where Tubman lived and worshiped in Auburn, New York, caring for family members and other formerly enslaved people seeking safe haven in the North.
“It is our great privilege to share in the stewardship of two national historical parks devoted to commemorating the life and work of Harriet Tubman,” said Secretary Jewell. “These two parks preserve and showcase a more complete history of one of America’s pivotal humanitarians who, at great personal risk, did so much to secure the freedom of hundreds of formerly enslaved people. Her selfless commitment to a more perfect union is testament that one determined person – no matter her station in life or the odds against her – can make a tremendous difference .”
Also recognized for their foresight in protecting the Tubman Residence, the Thompson Memorial African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church and the Tubman Home for the Aged in the wake of Tubman’s passing in 1913, Bishops and Church Leaders were thanked for their important and historic role in the preservation of important sites in the life of Harriet Tubman.
“The establishment of this park symbolizes our country honoring Harriet Tubman for her entire life of service as a soldier for God and country,” said Bishop Dennis Proctor, Chairman, Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. and Presiding Prelate of the North Eastern District, AME Zion Church. “As a partnership park it represents the best of the National Park Service to ensure the duality of its resiliency and the goal of diversity. For the Harriet Tubman Home and her beloved AME Zion Church, the park ensures our ability to continue to lift up more dynamically Tubman’s core values of freedom, family, faith, community, justice, self-determination and equality. Lastly, the park designation will spur economic engines of progress for Central New York.”
U.S. Senator Schumer, who initiated a study process and championed legislation to establish the park, expressed his gratitude to all involved in the formal establishment of the park unit. “As a New Yorker and an American, I’m deeply proud to see Tubman Park finally become a reality,” said Senator Schumer. “The Tubman Historical Park in Auburn, New York will be a magnet for visitors that will tell the amazing story of Harriet Tubman’s life, an extraordinary American whose story deserves to be shared with our children and grandchildren. This park will serve that solemn purpose and preserve her legacy for countless generations to come.”
A sister site, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Cambridge, Maryland, was created as a national monument by Presidential proclamation in March 2013.