Harriet Tubman statue was unveiled in Philadelphia on Tuesday. The nine-foot statue is expected to reside at Philadelphia’s City Hall’s North Apron until the end of March when the city will be celebrating her 200th birthday.
Harriet’s connection to Philadelphia dates back to 1849 when she made her way to this city after escaping slavery in Maryland. Upon getting here she took it upon herself to speak at different public podiums including Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church. It’s also in writing that Harriet used the Underground Railroad’s network of homes and churches in Philadelphia to help free over 70 slaves from Maryland.
The monument features the Pennsylvania state line and the Maryland-Delaware peninsula and Harriet who is shown leading a young girl to freedom at the top. According to Wofford, creator of this statue, the monument shows the last person Harriet brought to freedom and it shows her protecting the worried girl with her body and one foot on the Pennsylvania border. He notes, “ Philadelphia holds a specific relevance to Harriet’s story as the city she found safe harbor in after her escape from Maryland, as well as staging many of her returning raids to free others from the bondage of slavery”.
Philadelphia’s mayor, Jim Kenny had this to say, “I am particularly proud that the city of Philadelphia is hosting the temporary installation of Harriet Tubman on the North apron of City Hall while a monument to another important Black activist, Octavius Catto, lives on the South apron. Harriet Tubman’s incredible legacy of heroism, resilience, hope and activism is a story we can all learn from as individuals as well as a community. The presence of stories like these in the form of public art is vital for learning and reflection, connecting with our communities and understanding our mutual histories”.
Plans underway to celebrate Harriet Tubman 200th anniversary in Philadelphia
The city of Philadelphia has put in place plans to celebrate Harriet’s 200th anniversary one of them being installation of the travelling monument by sculptor Wesley Wofford. Besides this statue the city of Philadelphia will hold a birthday party for Harriet, exhibits and screenings of the ‘Harriet’ movie.