Sponsors of Harriet Tubman Park legislation commended

The Chesapeake Conservancy today commended Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Congressman Dan Maffei (D-NY) and Congressman Andy Harris (R- MD) on their introduction of bills in the Senate and House (S. 247, H.R. 664, and H.R. 513, respectively) to create a Harriet Tubman National Park.

The Chesapeake Conservancy has been steadily working to get Harriet Tubman the recognition she deserves as a heroic conductor on the Underground Railroad and early leader for women’s rights. “We are hopeful the effort will pay off soon with national recognition – a park or a National Monument – to honor this great abolitionist and worker for human rights,” said Joel Dunn, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Conservancy.

“We are pleased that Senator Cardin, Senator Mikulski, Congressman Maffei, and Congressman Harris have advanced this cause,” Dunn added.

The “Harriet Tubman National Historical Parks Act” proposed in the bills would create the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park at locations in Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot Counties, Maryland and the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, New York. Similar legislation was introduced in the previous session of Congress.

With the centennial of Tubman’s death quickly approaching, a National Park designation would be a fitting tribute and appropriate way to honor her legacy.

The Chesapeake Conservancy helped facilitate the initial legislation for a Harriet Tubman National Park and garnered the support from organizations involved. The effort has also gained strong support from Governor Martin O’Malley and would complement Maryland’s plans to create the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park.

The proposed National Park and Maryland State Park together would create a place to explore Tubman’s life, and conserve the landscape in southern Dorchester County where her story began. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is adjacent to the proposed National Park. The refuge, the State Park, and the National Park together protect one of the nation’s premier waterfowl habitats and bird watching destinations.