ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today officially proclaimed 2022 as “The Year of Harriet Tubman” in Maryland as the state celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the nation’s most renowned freedom fighter. The governor announced the designation at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center in Church Creek as the kick-off to a full weekend of 200th birthday events celebrating the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad.
“I want to encourage all Marylanders to take time this year to come here to visit Dorchester County, to travel the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway, to visit the countless immersive exhibits, which cover every period of Harriet Tubman’s life from slavery to freedom, or to come to see the amazing artifacts from the Ben Ross cabin site, which was confirmed just last fall to have been the home of Harriet Tubman’s father,” said Governor Hogan. “It is truly inspiring to think about how we can walk along the same path she did, where she forged her indelible legacy of freedom.”
This weekend also marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, which is co-managed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Park Service, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. Since opening in 2017, the park has welcomed more than 300,000 guests from nearly 70 countries—despite a lengthy closure and limited capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those visitors, more than 18,000 youngsters have been sworn in as Harriet Tubman State Park Junior Rangers, following activities that teach about Harriet Tubman’s life and legacy, and the importance of the Underground Railroad.
“This bicentennial year is a perfect time for people to experience Harriet Tubman’s life and legacy by touring the byway and visiting our 17-acre state park and visitors center,” said Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. “Throughout ‘The Year of Harriet Tubman,’ the park will offer programs and immersive experiences about Harriet Tubman’s life, surrounded by the landscape that looks much like it did during her time.”
As the birthplace of Harriet Tubman, Maryland is uniquely positioned to celebrate her lifelong achievements and provide visitors and residents places to learn more about Harriet Tubman, her life, and the Underground Railroad. Her stories are told at destinations across Maryland through attractions, special events, curated exhibits, and driving tours.
“Maryland’s Eastern Shore was named in two prestigious travel magazines—National Geographic World Best Places to Travel in 2022 and Fodor’s Best Places of 2022—because of our history, heritage, and connection with Harriet Tubman,” said Secretary Mike Gill of the Maryland Department of Commerce. “I personally encourage everyone to celebrate Tubman’s extraordinary life by traveling in her footsteps, especially along the Tubman Byway.”
The 125-mile-long Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad All-American Road Scenic Byway, which traverses a living land-and-waterscape similar to what Tubman would have experienced in her lifetime, serves as the perfect vehicle for exploration. In addition to sites along the byway, Maryland attractions with permanent exhibits on Harriet Tubman include:
- Banneker-Douglass Museum, Annapolis
- Great Blacks in Wax Museum, Baltimore City
- Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center, Cambridge
- Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History, Baltimore City
Following the kick-off, Tubman 200th Birthday Celebration Weekend, planned Year of Harriet Tubman events, exhibits, and activities include:
- Exhibit of numerous artifacts from Tubman’s life—many in public for the first time—including the receipt from a midwife for Tubman’s birth, Tubman’s “runaway” advertisement, and items recovered from the site of her father Ben Ross’ cabin. (March 1-31, 2022 at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, Church Creek)
- “Birding on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway” Join Harriet Tubman Tours and Delmarva Birding Weekends for our guided, self-driven tour. Learn about the life and times of the famed freedom seeker and human rights activist known as “The Moses of Her People,”and experience some of the best birding and Bald Eagle watching on America’s Eastern Seaboard. (April 9, 2022 and various dates through October)
- Not What You Think, an a cappella ensemble dedicated to social justice is joining the ongoing celebration of Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday with a musical performance. (April 22, 2022 at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, Church Creek)
- “We Walk with Harriet History Walks” – Narrated history tours in Caroline, Dorchester, and Talbot counties which include walking, sailing, and horse and buggy rides. (Thursday-Saturday during the last weekend of every month April-October, led by Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center)
- “Beacon of Hope,” a new 12-foot bronze sculpture of Harriet Tubman, created by Wesley Wofford Sculpture Studio, will be dedicated at the Dorchester County Courthouse – a former site of slave auctions and a daring escape to freedom engineered by Tubman in the mid-1800s. The ceremony will happen during the annual Day of Resilience event. (September 10, 2022, Dorchester County Courthouse, Cambridge)
- “Emancipation Celebration” During Maryland’s International Underground Railroad Month, celebrate Harriet Tubman’s decision to self-liberate with programs and activities throughout the day. (Sept. 18, 2022 at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, Church Creek)
- “Lead On, Harriet!” Interactive history program for ages 9 and up. Take a ride on the Underground Railroad with the famous Maryland-born conductor. (Oct. 15 and Dec. 3, 2022, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Chesapeake Children’s Museum, Annapolis)
- PBS will premiere “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom,” a documentary produced by Maryland Public Television (MPT), directed by Stanley Nelson and narrated by Oscar®-Nominated and Emmy® Award-Winning Actor Alfre Woodard. (Oct. 4, 2022)
- “Bike the UGRR: Harriet’s Journey Home” Join in a bicycling event inspired by Harriet Tubman and her daring journeys to freedom. Choose from a 25-mile or 43-mile ride along and around the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (Oct. 15, 2022)
To further immerse yourself in the Tubman Byway, download the audio guide complete with new AR/VR experiences or request a free copy of the byway map and guide. Share your travel highlights on social media using the hashtag #MDinFocus and #Tubman200. For even more inspiration on planning your Harriet Tubman journey in Maryland, visit www.visitmaryland.org.