Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park

“I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

– Harriet Tubman

My wife and I took a few days off this week because of her spring break from teaching and headed for Maryland’s Eastern Shore. For being native Marylanders, we have spent surprisingly little time there. As a child, it was the road to Ocean City, and rarely was there a reason to stop.

We stayed two nights in Chestertown, home of Washington College. It’s a nice town, but it was quiet because of the college’s spring break.

On the second day we decided to visit Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, which we enjoyed. Next to it is the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. Tubman is getting more attention of late, partly because of the proposal to replace Andrew Jackson with her on the $20 bill. For so many reasons, it is a good idea. At the park, an exhibit indicated that it would take place in 2020. Not soon enough for me. I’ve attached an op-ed from the Baltimore Sun from Wednesday, March 13 advocating for it.

I would strongly recommend visiting the park. It was open about two years ago and is the first stop on the heritage trail which takes you through much of the lower and upper shore. The exhibit teaches about her life and contributions. I did not know she was a Civil War spy working in South Carolina? It also covers the tragedy of slavery and conditions that those in bondage faced. We need to do much more in educating ourselves about this period, and acknowledging this horrible period, but also recognizing the contributions of individuals like Tubman. She was a brave, tactful, determined, and generous person.

Here is a link to the park. It’s well worth a trip!

This is actually not from the park, but from the woods adjacent and is part of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. This is along the Harriet Tubman Road Trail. Can you image getting through this thicket leading slaves… and in the dark with dogs and slaveowners trailing you?
Baltimore Sun, Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Published by David J. Smith

I am a career coach, consultant, and head of a not for profit - the Forage Center - that offers humanitarian education training. I also teach at George Mason University and Drexel University. A one time lawyer, I spent many years teaching in a community college where I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Estonia. I'm the author of Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). I've been married to my best friend for over 31 years and we have two well adjusted adult children who teach me something new everyday. I live in Rockville, Maryland.

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