Syracuse University Faculty and Students Helped Establish the Harriet Tubman National Park

HarrietTubmanHeadRecently, the United States Congress approved the creation of the Harriet Tubman National Park in Auburn, New York. President Obama signed the legislation authorizing the park on December 19.

For more than a decade, Douglas Armstrong, a professor of anthropology at Syracuse University, and his students have worked at the historic site, which includes Tubman’s home, farm, and the Home for the Aged, which Tubman created for elderly African Americans.

Tubman's Home in Auburn, N.Y.
Tubman’s Home in Auburn, N.Y.

Tubman was born into slavery. After escaping to the North, she made numerous returns to the South to lead dozens of slaves to freedom. During the Civil War, she served a spy, scout, and nurse for the Union Army. After the Civil War, Tubman returned to Central New York. She died in 1913.

Professor Armstrong and his students have excavated the site finding ash from a 1880 fire at the Tubman residence and a well used at the farm. Professor Douglas stated that the designation of the site as a national park will provide “a new platform of administrative and financial support to ensure the preservation of the Tubman residence, farm, and Home for the Aged. We are happy to have contributed to the movement to recognize Tubman, look forward to the opening of Harriet Tubman National Park, and hope to continue as a collaborative partner in the illumination of Harriet Tubman’s life and contributions.”

 

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