Confederate site in Baltimore to be rededicated to Harriet Tubman

The park once honored men who enslaved Black people and it will now highlight the work of a liberator and abolitionist.

Harriet Tubman
(Photo: Johns Hopkins News-Letter/AP)

A park site in Baltimore that was once the home of Confederate monuments, will soon be rededicated to Harriet Tubman.

The Baltimore City Council passed legislation earlier this month that would rename a portion of Wyman Park Dell after the Maryland-born abolitionist who spent nearly 30 years of her life in the brutal institution of slavery.

Tubman eventually escaped. Historians estimate that over the course of a decade, the iconic figure led her family members and about 300 other Black people from slavery to freedom as a conductor of the Underground Railroad.

The move to honor Tubman comes after the city removed four Confederate monuments last year, including a statue of Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in Wyman Park Dell. Both men enslaved Black people. Tubman’s work freeing people in bondage was in direct opposition to the Confederacy, which sought to continue using the free labor of kidnapped Africans and their successive generations.

Tubman was a passionate freedom fighter.

“I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other,” Tubman is quoted as saying in her 1886 biography Harriet, the Moses of Her People written by Sarah Bradford.

–READ: White woman was dead wrong for defiling Harriet Tubman statue with ‘pink pussy hat’ in Harlem–

Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke told Johns Hopkins News-Letter that the site will be rededicated as the “Harriet Tubman Grove” on March 10. The politician introduced the rededication legislation in October 2017.

“Just as Harriet Tubman led hundreds from slavery and hundreds of Union soldiers during the Civil War, she is now helping lead Baltimore’s reclamation of our four former confederate sites, as a place of community gathering and peaceful contemplation,” she wrote.

Ryan Patterson, who is the president of the Friends of Wyman Park Dell board, said the idea for the rededication came from a petition brought to Councilwoman Clarke.

“It was more of a stance of ‘we’re here to really listen to our constituents,'” Patterson said.