Harriet Tubman | WYPR

Harriet Tubman

Tom Pelton

The sun was setting behind a sea of pink and steel gray clouds at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern shore when a few dozen, then hundreds, then thousands of migrating geese rose into the sky with an explosion of wings.

Next to these wetlands is a futuristic-looking building with an array of solar panels and green roof.

This is the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitors Center, which the Maryland Department of Natural Resources opened last year. It honors Tubman, the antislavery freedom fighter, who lived and hid runaway slaves here among the trackless marshes and loblolly pine forests surrounding the Blackwater River.

Angela Crenshaw, assistant manager of the facility, said the center focuses in part on nature because Tubman was a master of surviving alone in the wilderness.  She was a slave who escaped through the woods to freedom in the North and then returned a dozen times to personally rescue about 80 more people.

“Harriet Tubman was the ultimate outdoorswoman, which is the aspect of her life that I like to talk about the most,” Crenshaw said.

  

Jonna McKone

 

Before the Civil War, it was a crime in some states for an enslaved person to read, write or attend school.

The restored Stanley Institute seeks to capture the initiative black communities took then to establish their own schools, despite the hazards.

Tracing The Byway: The Bucktown Store

May 8, 2017

 

Nearly 200 hundred years after Harriet Tubman’s birth, a visitor’s center, byway and state park near her birthplace in Dorchester County, honor her memory and work as an Underground Railroad operative and later, as a spy and nurse during the Civil War. 

 

The Bucktown Village store, at a crossroads of what was a bustling agricultural region in Tubman’s day, is one of dozens of byway sites open to visitors. It had fallen on hard times before Thomas Meredith’s family bought it 20 years ago and began restoring it to its original appearance.

 

Nearly 200 years after her birth, Harriet Tubman, who led escaped slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad, was honored over the weekend with the opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center near her birthplace in Dorchester County.

The $22 million park on the edge of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, was eight years in the planning. Then-President Barack Obama named the site a national monument in March of 2013, the 100th anniversary of her death. The visitor center rises from the marshes, fields and woodlands that still look much as they did during  Tubman’s life.

A week from tomorrow the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center opens to the public in Dorchester County, on a 17-acre park on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The center illustrates Tubman’s life and her work as a liberator. We speak to Chris Elcock, a senior associate at the Baltimore firm GWWO, Inc. Architects.  He tells us how the center's design references Tubman's courage and the history of slavery in Maryland. Plus, historian Tony Cohen, founder of The Menare Foundation, describes what escape on the Underground Railroad was like.