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Harriet Tubman National Historical Park Becomes Reality

Image: Harriet Tubman's Auburn, New York Home
This photo provided by the U.S. Department of Interior shows Harriet Tubman's home, now officially recognized as a national park. U.S. Department of Interior

Federal parks officials have formally established the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in upstate New York.

Members of the state's congressional delegation joined U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Washington, D.C., for the official signing ceremony Tuesday that makes the park part of the National Park Service system. It encompasses the site of Tubman's old home on the outskirts of Auburn, about 25 miles west of Syracuse, and a nearby church where she worshipped.

The New York park will focus on Tubman's work later on in her life when she was an active proponent of women's suffrage and other causes. It will be a sister park to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland.

Image: Harriet Tubman National Historical Park Memorandum Signing
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell signing a memorandum formally establishing the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, New York. U.S Department of Interior

“These two parks preserve and showcase a more complete history of one of America’s pivotal humanitarians who, at great personal risk, did so much to secure the freedom of hundreds of formerly enslaved people,” Secretary Jewell said. “Her selfless commitment to a more perfect union is testament that one determined person, no matter her station in life or the odds against her, can make a tremendous difference.”

Speaking of Tubman’s heroism and courage, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who pushed legislation to create the park says it will carry on her legacy.

“She didn't just secure the blessings of liberty for herself. She risked her life to secure it for others,” Schumer said. “The Tubman Historical Park in Auburn, New York will be a magnet for visitors that will tell the amazing story of Harriet Tubman’s life, an extraordinary American whose story deserves to be shared with our children and grandchildren. This park will serve that solemn purpose and preserve her legacy for countless generations to come.”

The Maryland-born Tubman died in Auburn in 1913 and is buried there.