It’s time to celebrate Harriet Tubman’ 200th birthday! The world is honoring Harriet Tubman throughout 2022, marking 200 years since her birth in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. People from far and wide are sharing and reflecting on her remarkable story. For more than 25 years, Tubman was trapped in the bonds of slavery before escaping – and then returning to Maryland time and again, risking her life to lead her family and friends to freedom. She went on to work as a scout, spy, and nurse in the Civil War. Later, she was part of the suffrage movement. And throughout her life, she was a humanitarian, always thinking of and doing for others.
It was in Dorchester County that she grew up in a hard life of slavery. It was here she learned important outdoor skills, from navigation to foraging for food. It was here that she loved her family so much that when she escaped to freedom by herself in 1849, she found it wasn’t the same without them. And it was here that she returned, risking her life more than a dozen times to lead her loved ones on dangerous journeys out of slavery. She went on to blaze new trails in the Civil War (as the first U.S. woman to lead an armed military raid), in the suffrage movement, in humanitarian causes, and more. In short, her life was remarkable and still offers lessons for us today.
So how can you mark the Tubman Bicentennial? Several events are happening in March 2022 (as historians think that March 1822 is when she was born) and throughout the year. Many of them are happening along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a self-guided driving tour that begins in the places where Tubman lived in slavery as a child and ends in Philadelphia, where she found freedom.
Events include a special weekend of programming at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park & Visitor Center on March 11-13, 2022, a series of inspiring talks about how ordinary people can do the extraordinary, performances, music, and the installation of a new sculpture of Tubman at the Dorchester Courthouse in Cambridge, Maryland in September. See a roundup of 2022 Tubman Bicentennial events along the Tubman Byway.
Of course, you don’t have to wait for an event to learn more about Tubman’s life. This year is a great time to experience the road trip known as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, with more than 30 sites in Dorchester and Caroline Counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, plus more in Delaware and Pennsylvania. The byway visitors we hear from talk about how inspiring it is to learn about her life, her courage, her selflessness.