“Freedom or die a slave!,” declared Harriet Tubman (1819/20-1913) who freed herself and 300 others from enslavement in the mid-19th century. Tubman’s legacy resounds today in the lives of heirs who move unrestricted and make choices with few constraints.
Call them daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, aunts, educators, nurses, doctors, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, bakers, filmmakers, artists, chefs, librarians, homemakers, landowners, students, realtors, musicians, even First Ladies – in roles nonexistent for women of color in America at the time of Harriet Tubman’s birth.
Call them liberators, revolutionaries, strategists, rainmakers and deep thinkers (as Tubman was), qualities considered “uncharacteristic” for Black women even a little more than a century ago at the time of her death in Auburn, NY in 1913.
Mrs. Tubman was this nation’s first nationally known woman leader, soldier, strategist, counselor, social worker. And beginning March 10, the 97th anniversary of her death, New Yorkers will join other groups throughout the nation in celebrating Tubman by honoring women of conviction.
Dr. Olivia Cousins, the artist/photographer/educator, comments: “In celebrating Harriet, we carry forth her legacy in the day-to-day work that we do to protect, nurture, advocate and uplift our people.” Following are March events that honor our journey and the Tubman legacy. See page 6.
Tuesday, March 9 at 7pm: The Spelman College Glee Club performs at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 279 Lafayette Ave. (corner of St. James Place). Concert is free and open to the public!!! Note to parents and guardians of young women: The Spelman College Glee Club has maintained a formal reputation of choral excellence since its inception in 1925. Its repertoire consists of secular choral literature for women’s voices with special emphasis on traditional spirituals, music by African-American composers, music from different cultures and other commissioned works. The Spelman legacy of song is inextricably entwined in the institution’s history. The founders of Spelman College, Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles, sought to establish and teach a curriculum that ensured a well-rounded educational experience. The beginnings of the Spelman College Glee Club can be traced back to 1882, just one year after the college opened.
Wednesday, March 10, 9:00am – 11:30am: The 7th Annual Harriet Tubman Day Celebration, In
, Brooklyn, hosted by Councilman Al Vann at Boys & Girls H.S., presents comments from Pauline Copes-Johnson of Auburn, NY and her sister, Geraldine Daniels of Rochester, NY, the great-great-grandnieces of “Aunt Harriet.” Brooklyn Public Library chief Dionne Mack-Harvin will keynote.
Wednesday, March 10, 10:00am: Wreath Laying in the Harriet Tubman Memorial Park at the base of the only statue in New York City of Harriet Tubman, a two-ton 10-foot-tall bronze sculpture designed by Alison Saar, at the intersection of Frederick Douglass Boulevard (formerly Eighth Avenue), St. Nicholas Avenue and 122nd Street. The event will include the participation of schoolchildren, City Government officials and the New York City Parks Department. Adrianne Riddick of Harlem, Ms. Tubman’s great-great-great-grandniece, will speak at the wreath-laying event. The statue is the brainchild of former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. Omoye Cooper of Albany, NY and Elizabeth Fulcher-Rankin of Brooklyn are co-chairs of the Black Women’s Leadership Caucus, Inc. (BWLC) host organization which was formed in 1999 during a meeting at the Tubman Homestead in Auburn, NY of women and men involved in the history of the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman. Currently, the group is producing a short documentary about Harriet Tubman, featuring interviews with descendants, historians and and distinguished educators, including Adelaide Sanfor, former Vice Chancellor, NYS Board of Regents. Open to the public.
Thursday, March 11, 11a-2p: Network Journal’s “Influential Women in Business Awards” Publisher/CEO Aziz Adetimirin and editor Rosalind McLymont will honor business leaders at the “Twelfth Annual 25 Influential Black Women in Business Awards” luncheon at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel, 1535 Broadway (between 45th & 46th streets). Among the honorees: Jackie Carter, Vice President & Publisher, Nonfiction Books, Scholastic, Inc.; Susan E. Chapman, Global Head of Operations, Citi, Realty Service, Citi Inc.; Chrysa Chin, Vice President, Player Development, National Basketball Association (NBA); Denise Coley, Director, Global Supplier Diversity Business Development, Cisco Systems, Inc.; Michelle Drayton, President & Publisher, Today’s Child Communications; Angela E. Guy, Senior Vice President, General Manager, SoftSheen-Carson; Gale Stevens-Haynes, Esq., Provost, Long Island University, Bklyn Campus; Vy Higginsen, Executive Director, Mama Foundation for the Arts; Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., Associate Dean, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons; and Mavis T. Thompson, Esq., President, National Bar Association; and others.
Saturday, March 20, 1p-4p: 2nd Women of Distinction Scholarship Luncheon at Boys & Girls H.S. The luncheon salutes distinguished women for their unwavering support of and service to the community and Boys & Girls High School and supports a great scholarship- creation opportunity for some of New York’s best and brightest graduating students. Money raised through ticket sales, a Silent Auction adn donations at the event go to the scholarships. As we see it, The Women of Distnction Awards refers to both the students and the distinguished honorees, who include Pamela Green, Weeksville Heritage Center; Crystal Bobb-Semple, founder and owner, Brownstone Books; educator Dr. Renee Young; guidance counselor Dorothy Harper, (celebrating 43 years in the education field); Miss Kelly Roberts, school safety agent; Dr. Sheila Evans-Tranumn, retired associate commissioner for the NYS Education Department; and Ms. Nebert Jackson, retired educator who taught for some 30 years at Boys & Girls H.S. The Boys & Girls H.S. graduating seniors who worked hard throughout the school year to raise funds for college needs, include: Alicia Rogers, Areya Cortes, Shatiqua Watson, Brittany George, Adana David, Melissa DeVore, Amandla McMillan, Shardei Lewis and Deborah Akinbowale. The event is the culminating activity of the year-long campaign, and anyone wanting to support the effort can donate items or services for the silent auction; food for the March 20 luncheon;and/or contributions to the students’ scholarship fund. Contact: Miss Andrea Toussaint of The Sisterhood.Tickets: $25. 718-467-1700.
Sunday, March 28: “Harriet’s Place: Underground Railroad and Beyond” at Magnolia – New exhibition of photographs capturing the essence of Harriet Tubman, the woman, by educator/artist/historian/preservationist Dr. Olivia Cousins, opens today at Magnolia Tree Earth Center of Bedford Stuyvesant. Details to be announced. Contact: Andrea Brathwaite at 718-387-2116 or Bernice Elizabeth Green at 718-599-6828. (See Cover)
Monday, March 29: Herbert Von King Park’s Third Phenomenal Women Awards Brunch: Culinary and Drama Teens at the Park, and Parks Administrator Lemuel Mial with volunteer instructor-wife Charlotte Mial, with community friends DBG Media and Legacy Ventures, at a closed, invitation-only event, will honor media women, the communicators, whose on-going good works keep positive stories and information about our communities at the forefront. Among the honorees: Mrs. Esther Jackson, Founder and Publisher, Freedomways; Nayaba Arinde, Editor, NY Amsterdam News; Freelance Journalist and Media Consultants Victoria Horsford and Fern Gillespie; Dr. Brenda Greene, Founder, National Black Writers Conference; Medgar Evers College, CUNY; Aminisha Black, columnist, Our Time Press; author-entrepreneur Monique Greenwood, now celebrating her popular Akwaaba Inns’ 15th year; writer Susan McHenry; Janel Gross, The Challenge Group; Jeanne Parnell, anchor, WHCR; Dr. Teresa Taylor-Williams, publisher, Trend Newspaper; and Gayle DeWees of the NY Daily News, also the former employer of the late Joyce Shelby, the adored journalist to whom this event is dedicated.
Mrs. Jackson and Tupper Thomas, head of the Prospect Park Alliance, will receive the Hattie Carthan Awards.
-Bernice Elizabeth Green