By Elizabeth Rankin-Fulcher
Sometime in early 2000, I received a call from the National Action Network inviting me to speak at its regular Saturday morning meeting about the Black Women’s Leadership Caucus, Inc. (“BWLC”) and its campaign to honor Harriet Tubman with a national holiday. Although I had demonstrated with the Rev. Sharpton on several occasions, even traveled to Washington, D.C., but at that time I was neither a member of nor had I ever attended a meeting at the National Action Network – I am now a member. To my surprise, Rev. Sharpton introduced me noting that I would be speaking on his radio broadcast. I was overwhelmed – I spoke for about 10 minutes and the media blitz began. Herb Boyd wrote an article for the Amsterdam News, Cicely Tyson mentioned our campaign during her interview on BET and WHUR Radio (run by Howard University) gave us a “shout out”, as did Marko Nobles — Debbie Allen agreed to serve as BWLC’s spokesperson for the Tubman Holiday campaign.
Although BWLC was unsuccessful in its Tubman Holiday campaign, on August 27, 2003, then-Governor Pataki signed legislation for the Harriet Tubman Day of Commemoration honoring Tubman every March 10 in New York State. Other states honoring Tubman on March 10 include Delaware, Maryland, Georgia and Texas.
BWLC invites the public to join in its wreath-laying celebration every March 10 at 10 am at the Harriet Tubman Memorial, located at 122nd Street/Harriet Tubman Square at Frederick Douglass Boulevard in the Village of Harlem, New York.
Thank you Rev. Sharpton for your generous spirit!