I recently learned that Harriet Tubman now has not one but two National Parks dedicated to her, in Maryland, where she was born into slavery in 1822, and in Auburn, New York, where she made her home for much of her adult life. Harriet Tubman is the most well-known person associated with the Underground Railroad. She escaped to freedom as a young woman. Then, she returned over and over to lead other enslaved people to freedom. Tubman said, "I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger," meaning she never lost her way and everyone she helped successfully made their way to freedom.
Her home in Auburn, New York and some related buildings have been open to the public through a private organization dedicated to preserving them. Now, the National Park Service will become their custodians, and they are now known as the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park. The Park Service plans to refurbish Tubman's home and the other buildings that are part of the park, including her church.
This month, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park visitor's center on Maryland's Eastern Shore opened to the public. The new visitor's center is there to provide context and information that will enhance people's experience on Harriet Tubman Underground Railway Scenic Byway. From the park's website: "This new national historical park preserves the same landscapes that Tubman used to carry herself and others away from slavery." The park sounds like it has more in common with a park like Gettysburg or Valley Forge, which I think is an important way to honor Tubman's legacy and the people who lived in slavery by preserving the terrain in which they lived and had to cross to get to freedom.
I think it's fitting that the woman who will one day be pictured on the $20 bill should have her legacy preserved and protected, and I hope I have a chance to visit these places sometime soon!