Cardin, Harris meet with Tubman advocates
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and Rep. Andy Harris spoke Wednesday with advocates who are hoping to build support in Congress for a national park system in Maryland and New York that would honor Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.
Cardin is the lead sponsor of a bill that would create a park in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties – along with a separate park in Auburn, N.Y. – to remember the Eastern Shore woman who was born into slavery but ultimately lead dozens of slaves to freedom.
“Harriet Tubman is one of our heroes in America,” the Maryland Democrat told the advocates, who gathered on Capitol Hill. “Her story is an incredible story. We are fortunate in Maryland that the landscape still exists.”
“Now is the time,” Harris, a Baltimore County Republican who represents the Eastern Shore, told the group.
The parks bill is currently pending in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which held a hearing on it in May.
During the legislative session in Annapolis this year state lawmakers considered sending a statue of Tubman to the U.S. Capitol. Because each state may submit only two statues to the Capitol, Maryland would have had to remove a statue of founding father John Hanson. The legislation ultimately did not pass.
Maryland received a federal grant earlier this year to build the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Dorchester County. The Center is scheduled to be completed in 2013, 100 years after Tubman's death.