Activists walk Auburn to promote Tubman national park

Aug 5, 2013

More than 100 people walked an Auburn street this weekend to help unveil a highway sign commemorating the work of abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The walk is part of an effort to put Tubman’s home one step closer to becoming a national park.

Harriet Tubman’s great-grandniece Geraldine Copes-Daniels of Auburn believe her ancestor is long overdue for national recognition.

“Tonight we’re trying to do what she did, but hers was a longer way…People of today don’t realize what she’s done,” said Copes-Daniels.

Activists walked the two miles from Auburn’s city hall to Tubman’s home and sang hymns Friday evening. It’s just one thing local leaders have done since a bill was introduced in Congress earlier this year to establish Tubman’s home and surroundings as National Park.

Auburn Councilman John Comardo is hopeful the legislation will become reality, “The walk will give attention to her home becoming a national landmark.”

And like Tubman’s struggle for civil rights, Sean McLeod of Auburn, who joined the walk, says he knows it may take a while, but, “I think it’s kinda just time. Some things just happen ‘cause it’s time.”

Central New York Cong. Dan Maffei is one of the sponsors of the bill that would make Tubman’s Auburn home and several surrounding buildings a national park. The bill has support from the entire New York delegation. But it still has many more steps to take in Congress – it needs to pass a House of Representatives subcommittee, the full House and the Senate --before it can become law. The bill also calls for Tubman’s birthplace in Maryland to become a national park.