The traveling nine-foot, 2,400-pound bronze sculpture of Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom arrived in Kingston last Tuesday, November 1 at the Harambee Pine Street African Burial Ground. A parade followed the truck from there to the Ulster County Office Building at 240 Fair Street where the sculpture was installed on the front lawn. Mayor Steve Noble declared the month of November Harriet Tubman Month.
Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was an American abolitionist, political activist, liberator, nurse, war hero and human rights advocate. Born Araminta Ross, a slave, in Dorchester, Maryland, she later married John Tubman, a free man. In 1849, hoping to escape slavery and the constant fear of being sold south, she made the treacherous journey north. She settled in Philadelphia and changed her name to Harriet, after her mother. Over the following years, she returned to Maryland, making at least 13 missions to liberate approximately 70 enslaved people through the Underground Railroad. Tubman began guiding fugitives farther north into British North America and helped them to find work and establish a new life. During the Civil War she worked for the Union Army, first as a nurse, then as a scout and spy. In 1863, Tubman became the first woman in the war to lead an armed expedition which led to the liberation of more than 700 slaves. Later, she was active in the Women’s Suffrage movement and advocated for the impoverished former slaves and elderly population surrounding her home in Auburn, NY.
The Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom statue will be in Kingston until January 2. A calendar of events surrounding this event can be viewed at www.visitulstercountyny.com.