This is the fifth year that Maryland has declared September as International Underground Railroad Month, honoring the brave men, women, and children who fought for freedom. It’s the month when Harriet Tubman (born here in Dorchester County, Maryland) made her first attempt to escape slavery (Sept. 17) and when abolitionist Frederick Douglass self-liberated himself in Baltimore (Sept. 3).
One way to mark the month is to take the road trip known as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. This self-guided, scenic driving tour includes more than 30 sites, including the “Beacon of Hope,” a 12-foot bronze sculpture of Tubman installed a year ago, the well-known “Take My Hand” mural, and the Harriet Tubman Visitor Center. Enrich your experience with the free audio guide.
You can also join in special events:
Day of Resilience – Sept. 9, 2023
The fifth annual Day of Resilience in Cambridge, Maryland – just a few miles from where Harriet Tubman was born – begins with a Drum Processional and Waterside Libations at Long Wharf Marina (High and Water Streets, Cambridge), led by Nana Malaya Rucker-Oparabea. Followed by a ceremony at the Dorchester County Courthouse (206 High St., Cambridge0, which will feature the official dedication of the Harriet Tubman “Beacon of Hope” sculpture to Dorchester County. There will also be a presentation for Melvin Foote, founder of the Constituency for Africa, who comes to this event every year with a delegation of ambassadors from African countries. The program continues at 2pm with a ceremony at the “Take My Hand” Harriet Tubman Mural in Cannery Way (400 block of Race Street, Cambridge), where there also will be vendors beginning at 12:15pm. There is also a “Nubian Queen” quilt exhibit at ArtBar2.0 (420 Race St., Cambridge). See more info and the full schedule.
Emancipation Day Celebration – Sept. 17, 2023, 10am-3pm
The event celebrates Harriet Tubman’s self-emancipation on Sept. 17, 1849. The day includes Tubman re-enactor Janice Curtis Greene, music, and family-friendly fun at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center, 4068 Golden Hill Rd, Church Creek, MD 21622.
10am-3pm: Traditional Children’s Games including marbles, mancala, and potato sack races.
10am-3pm: Original Team Tubman Park Quest: Get to know real stationmasters and agents on the Underground Railroad with this family-friendly scavenger hunt.
10:30-11;30am: Talk: “A Thread Runs Through Them: Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass Connections to the Eastern Shore, MD.” Join Deanna Mitchell, Superintendent of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park.
1pm: Meet Harriet Tubman. Hear Tubman’s story through a reenactment by the Official Griot for the State of Maryland, Janice Curtis Greene.
2:15pm and 2:45pm: Music by Not What You Think. This musical program will express the journey for equality, freedom, and peace exemplified by the life of Harriet Tubman. Not What You Think is an a cappella ensemble dedicated to social justice.
“Paths to Freedom: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Underground Railroad on the Eastern Shore of Maryland” – Sept. 16, 2023, 7pm
This black-box theatrical production by the Community Players of Salisbury happens at the Harriet Tubman Museum & Educational Center in Cambridge, Maryland. The production is based on the novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Audience members, including children, will learn about the causes and effects of the novel, as well as its impact on the Underground Railroad. Located at 424 Race St., Cambridge, MD. Free admission, donations welcome. Free, but reserve at 443-235-3272.