On Saturday, March 9th, a special groundbreaking ceremony was held to welcome the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park at Maryland’s eastern Shore. The 17-acre stretch is also the land that Tubman actually covered in her journeys through the Underground Railroad.
The park comes as part of a 125-mile tour with 30 historical stops related to Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Those stops include the Mason-Dixon Line, a one-room children’s school, and a historic village store filled with artifacts from the beginning of the 19th century. The ceremony also comes on the centennial year since the death of Harriet Tubman.
The ceremony at Maryland eastern shore included a group of over 200 onlookers, including speaker Patricia Ross-Hawkins, 51, who is a distant relative of Harriet Tubman. Though there are several existing parks dedicated to Harriet Tubman in Wilmington, Delaware, Knoxville, Tennessee and Boston, interest groups continue the 10-year battle to increase the amount of memorials dedicated to Tubman.
The new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park is expected to bring in $200,000 tourist dollars per year. Plans exist to expand the $21 million dollar project to Ontario, Canada. The new state park will be funded by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the State Highway Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation.