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State Park to Honor Harriet Tubman
March 10, 2013

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A new Maryland state park will honor Harriet Tubman, the "Moses of Her People." Ground was broken to mark the 100th anniversary of her death.

Speaking at the ceremony was Patricia Ross-Hawkins, one of Tubman's distant relatives. Also on the program were a speech by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and a stage presentation by a Tubman re-enactor, and songs by a local church choir.

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park will take shape next to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, on marshlands and forests in Dorchester Country, on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. A visitor center offering educational exhibits will be the centerpiece. The 17-acre property will include walking trails and a garden. The park will open in 2015.

The park includes land on which Tubman once toiled as a slave, before she escaped and became one of the Railroad's guiding lights. In all, Tubman helped dozens of people escape slavery, risking her own life time and again during a number of years.

Also opening soon will be the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125-mile-drive featuring dozens of sites related to Tubman's life and to the Railroad itself. The state park will be a stop on the byway.

Tubman is the focus of a number of local parks in the area and in a few other states. She is also the subject of a new Congressional bill advocating a national park in her honor. Similar efforts in the past have not garnered enough support to ensure passage.

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