Reporting Christie Ileto
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland’s famous conductor of the Underground Railroad could finally be honored with the two national parks lawmakers have been pushing for for years.
Christie Ileto explains how movers and shakers are hoping the fourth time’s a charm.
This could be the year Harriet Tubman is honored with two national parks. Local leaders say it will be a long time coming.
Harriet Tubman’s story of courage is a classic that’s still being told.
“She led slaves to freedom,” said Cole.
“Her nickname was the Black Moses,” said Quinn.
Philadelphia middle schoolers Quinn and Cole journeyed to Baltimore to learn Tubman’s heroic story. She led dozens of slaves out of the south and north to freedom. But local leaders hope the Eastern Shore native’s life can soon be shown at two new national parks, one of them slated for Maryland.
“Truly hope we can pass this legislation so that many Americans will understand this important legacy,” said Hilary Shelton, NAACP.
Among other things, the park will include one of the stops along the Underground Railroad and the farm where Tubman was a slave.
“I don’t think people know her private, personal life,” said Beverly Woods. “People will learn more with the park.”
The proposal has come to lawmakers three times before but failed to rally support.
“This year! Now! Do it now!” said Senator Barbara Mikulski.
Advocates are hoping this year will be the year, especially as 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of Tubman’s passing.
Critics have long opposed the parks, citing cost constraints.
“If we get it authorized this year, I’ll put it in the federal checkbook,” Mikulski said.
It’s a new way for future generations to learn about Tubman’s life’s work.
Supporters of the proposal say this will also create jobs and increase tourism.
For five years, local leaders have unsuccessfully rallied Congressional support for this proposal.