The Delaware Department of Transportation, through the Delaware Byways Program and community leaders, is promoting the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and related activities as the state approaches the centennial anniversary of Tubman's death.
"We're recognizing the courage of Harriet Tubman in her efforts to lead people to their freedom. We're also hoping to educate the public on the importance of Delaware as one of the important stops in the Underground Railroad," said Delaware Department of Transportation Byways Program Coordinator Ann Gravatt.
On Friday, Gov. Jack Markell presented a proclamation for Harriet Tubman Day at the Old State House, and kicked off the first of ten days of commemorative activities leading up to the 100th anniversary of the passing of Harriet Tubman on March 10, 1913. The culmination of the ten days of events, on March 10, will include two separate relays/walks in Camden, and at the Wilmington Christina Riverwalk – both of which were stops on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad. For more details of these events, visit www.harriettubmanjourney.org.
Born as a slave in Maryland, Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist, humanitarian and main architect of the Underground Railroad which helped slaves escape to freedom in Canada. Tubman personally led 13 missions to rescue more than 70 slaves before the abolition of slavery in 1865. The Underground Railroad included a route from Maryland through Camden, Dover, Smyrna, New Castle and Wilmington, Delaware, and then continued north to Canada.
On Friday, the Department of Transportation also unveiled a Corridor Management Plan (CMP) which helps to preserve, promote, enhance and manage the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. The CMP includes a map of the Byway showing stops along the Underground Railroad. To view the stops, or get additional information, visit www.harriettubmandelaware.com.
"The Corridor Management Plan should be very helpful to tourists who wish to get a first-hand look at stops of the Underground Railroad, enjoy all of the surrounding attractions, and walk through an important part of American history," said Gravatt.
Upcoming Harriet Tubman Commemorative Events in Dover, Camden
Saturday, March 2:
DOVER: Dramatic play at the Old State House, The Green, 7 p.m., "Better Angels: Signs of the Times," about the 1848 Thomas Garrett trial in New Castle. Event is free but reservations are recommended as space is limited. Contact Nena Todd at (302) 744-5055 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, March 4:
DOVER: Tribute to Harriet Tubman: "Women of Color in Early Recorded Music," Johnson Victrola Museum, 375 S. New St., 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Contact Nena Todd at (302) 744-5054 or email@example.com
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Tuesday, March 5:
DOVER: Program and tour: Stories of the Underground Railroad, featuring the lives of Vincent Summers (theatrical portrayal) and Samuel Burris; brief walking tour of the Green, featuring the story of the "Dover Eight." 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m. at the Old State House, The Green (Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs/ First State Heritage Park). Contact Nena Todd at (302) 744-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org
DOVER: Public program, "Free and Enslaved Women on the John Dickinson Plantation," John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs). Contact Gloria Henry at (302) 739-3277 or Gloria.email@example.com
Friday, March 8:
DOVER: 6 p.m. - Lecture by Don Blakey on the research that influenced his theatrical play, "It Happened in Des Moines," a work about African American Women in WWII, at the Old State House, The Green (DONDEL Productions & DHCA). Contact Beverly Laing, at (302) 736-7437 or Bev.Laing@state.de.us NOTE: The play will be performed at Delaware State University, Humanities Theatre at 7 p.m., March 23, and at 4 p.m., March 24. Admission is free.
Saturday, March 9:
CAMDEN: Ceremony and walking tours featuring the Tubman and Underground Railroad story. Ceremony honoring United States Colored Troops at Zion AME Church and Cemetery, 20 Center St., 11 a.m., with guided walking tours to follow (Friends of Historic Camden). Contact Donna Reed at (302) 697-1099, firstname.lastname@example.org, or www.historiccamdende.org
Sunday, March 10 (Harriet Tubman Day):
SANDTOWN/CAMDEN/WILMINGTON: "Harriet Tubman Journey," two separate relays/walks in Camden (starts 8:30 a.m.), at the Wilmington Christina Riverwalk (8:30 a.m.), (Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and the Harriet Tubman Journey team). Check Facebook/HarrietTubmanJourney" and www.harriettubmanjourney.org or contact Penny Marshall at (302) 283-0521 or email@example.com
DOVER/NEW CASTLE: New Castle Court House Museum and the Old State House Museum will be open from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and featuring special topical programs, interpretations, Harriet Tubman Day celebrations (DHCA). Contact Beverly Laing at (302) 736-7437 or Bev.Laing@state.de.us