Schumer: Tubman Park is a Long-Overdue Recognition of an Extraordinary American
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Department of the Interior (DOI) has completed the land transfer agreement that will allow NPS to formally establish the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park in Auburn, New York. The announcement follows Schumer’s successful efforts to ensure that DOI officials complete the final steps necessary for approval of the park. Schumer has been a longtime advocate for the establishment of the new historical park celebrating the life of Harriet Tubman at the site of her home in Central New York. He authored, introduced and passed legislation authorizing the park and has lobbied federal officials to finalize the project. Last year, he successfully pushed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to sign a land transfer agreement allowing the site to be established as an official unit of the National Park Service. With the land transfer agreement now complete, the Tubman Home awaits signature from the Secretary of Interior for formal establishment.
“As a New Yorker and an American, I’m deeply proud to see Tubman Park finally become a reality,” said Senator Schumer. “The Tubman Historic 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.”
Schumer has long fought to make Tubman Park a reality. Most recently, he wrote to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell urging her to complete the land transfer needed to secure final approval. Previously, he successfully pushed Attorney General Loretta Lynch to sign the General Agreement allowing the Harriet Tubman Residence in Auburn to be formally designated as a Unit of the National Park Service. In addition, Schumer authored and passed the legislation authorizing the establishment of the park. This legislation was passed as a part of the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included a provision that created two national historic parks, one in New York and one in Maryland.
The Auburn park will commemorate the later years of Harriet Tubman’s life, her work in the Women’s Suffrage Movement and her tireless commitment to providing for elderly African-Americans. The Harriet Tubman Residence in Auburn is an historic landmark in a region with a strong history of individuals rooted in social activism and justice. An escaped slave herself, Tubman used her Auburn home to shelter her parents and many African-Americans who escaped slavery – some of whom she guided herself. The Maryland park will trace Tubman’s early life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she was born and later escaped from slavery to become one of the leaders on the Underground Railroad.
Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester County, Maryland, where she spent nearly 30 years as a slave. She escaped slavery in 1849, but returned to the Eastern Shore several times over the course of 10 years to lead hundreds of African-Americans to freedom in the North. Known as “Moses” by African-American and white abolitionists, she reportedly never lost a “passenger” on the Underground Railroad. In Maryland, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park would include historically important landscapes in Dorchester, Caroline and Talbot Counties that are evocative of the life of Harriet Tubman.
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