Congress begins work on Tubman home national park

Jun 7, 2013

A congressional committee has begun taking up the designation of Harriet Tubman’s home in Auburn as a national park.

A House sub-committee on natural resources heard testimony Thursday from Rep. Dan Maffei, D-DeWitt, and the Rev. Daren Jaime of the AME Zion church and boardmember for the organization that runs the home of the former anti-slavery leader.

"Indeed we’ve waited many long days and nights for this moment to come," he told the committee. "The work before this sub-committee regarding honoring the legacy and life of Harriet Tubman will be transformational. It is no small matter."

The Harriet Tubman home in Auburn, N.Y. is a candidate to become a national park.
Credit Heather L / via Flickr

Jaime says the designation would have a major economic impact on Auburn, since it would attract more visitors.

"Ensuring future generations will have the benefit of knowing the iconic and beloved Harriet Tubman from whom the most humble beginnings, believed in the fundamental promise of America and helped to reshape the nation," he added. "We are better for her."

Along with the site in Auburn, land in Maryland would also become part of the national park.

Congressional representatives took some issue over the amount and use of the land in Maryland that would be part of the park.

The committee will move on the measure in the coming weeks. It would then need to go before the whole House of Representatives.

Maffei has been pushing the designation, and New York's entire congressional delegation is now co-signers.

Tubman is known for ferrying slaves through the Underground Railroad. She spent five decades at the Auburn home until her death 100 years ago.