Washington, DC -- Today, President Obama designated the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. The monument honors the life and actions of Harriet Tubman, who worked to free herself, her family and countless other enslaved peoples at great personal risk. The monument encompasses places and lands important to Tubman’s life, including her birthplace, the Jacob Jackson home site, the Brodess Farm, and approximately 11,750 acres of land within the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
“Today’s designation rightly honors an American icon and gives long-deserved recognition to the contributions of our nation’s women and minorities. Harriet Tubman’s story serves as a beacon of inspiration to those who strive for equality; a story that will now be rightfully enshrined permanently through this new national monument” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “We’re pleased that President Obama has honored one our nation’s greatest heroes and the land she knew so well with this new national monument.”
Within the new monument natural areas blend with cultural history. The woods, fields, marshes and the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay make up a unique piece of American history. Thanks to the new designation this iconic land and its history will be protected from encroaching development.
“The Harriet Tubman National Monument is important for our nation and for Maryland in particular. It is a reminder of our long quest for freedom,” said Hilary O. Shelton, NAACP Washington Bureau Director and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. “This monument preserves an important piece of the past, while also encouraging a bright economic future based on tourism and local business development. This is one of the opportunities for our nation to do good and do well.”
The State of Maryland, both state senators, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development, county governments, and local residents all demonstrated support for the national monument, which builds on the state’s designation of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and the development of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway.
“As this designation shows, there remain many places of both historic and natural importance that lack needed protections. We encourage President Obama to continue his legacy of safeguarding these important places through the designation of new national monuments,” said Brune.