Harriet Tubman National Historical Park one step closer to reality

Dec 4, 2014

A move to designate the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn as a National Historical Park is nearing reality.

The proposal has been attached to the Defense Authorization Bill that Congress has to approve every year. Sen. Chuck Schumer told reporters Wednesday he was very pleased the New York congressional delegation was able to get the amendment included.

“We have been working long and hard to get the Harriet Tubman homestead made a National Historic Park. And we have been able to get it [on] a so-called must pass bill and will pass the House this week and the Senate next week,” said Schumer.

Schumer says a national park would provide a big boost to tourism in Cayuga County.

“What this will mean is a whole lot of new jobs and tourism for Auburn and central New York. So we’re really excited about it,” said Schumer.

In addition to Tubman’s home, the Auburn park would also include the Tubman Home for the Aged, the Thompson Memorial AME Zion Church and Rectory, and the cemetery where she is buried.  

Tubman is famous for her work in the Underground Railroad, which provided thousands of slaves an escape route to freedom, in the years before slavery was abolished.

Passage in the House and Senate in the next week would send the proposal to the president’s desk. Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) had also worked to get Congress to approve the Tubman National Historical Park. While the Senate passed a bill making the designation earlier, the House of Representatives never did.

The bill would also establish the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland, where Tubman was born and spent her earlier years.