It was a cold sunny morning and the streets were filled as Councilman Al Vann and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson unveiled the new street signage with Fulton Street co-named Harriet Ross Tubman Avenue.
speaking of the example Ms. Tubman set in risking unspeakable dangers to keep going back into slaveholding states and bringing African-Americans out of slavery, Vann admonished the assembled to, “Go back for those locked in poverty, go back for those political prisoners. Harriet Ross Tubman went back and we must learn from her example.”
Councilman Charles Barron, saying it was time for a Harriet Tubman jobs program and a Harriet Tubman free health care system, noted we still have a long road ahead to freedom.
Councilwoman Letitia James, who may be headed to Congress in 2008, told the crowd that in many ways we are still “captives of poverty” and called for the “Harriet Tubmans of today” to come forward and “work to maintain control of our communities.”
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery insisted that “It’s Harriet Tubman Avenue, period.” And that Tubman “gave her life for her people,” and that leaders today should follow her example.
Assemblyman Roger Green said that Harriet Tubman “understood the difference between liberation and freedom.” Citing the numbers of African-American in prison, Assemblyman Green called it evidence that “We still struggle for liberation.”
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz called Brooklyn the “African American capital of the United States. You are the power.”
Noting that Brooklyn has always been the trailblazer for African American freedom, he warned the crowd to “Turn off the television. Don’t let the children worship the false gods of TV.”