To mark the anniversary of the passing of Harriet Tubman, there will be a Tubman Day Symposium on March 10 at 4pm at the new (and not yet officially open) Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Visitor Center. (NOTE: If construction issues prevent the event from happening there, the symposium will be moved to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center at 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, MD. Updates will be posted here closer to the event date.)

The title of the symposium is “Re-examining the Meaning of Freedom: Harriet Tubman’s Fervent Quest to Return.” The symposium is open to all. The objective of this symposium is to explore the African American journey towards freedom and the extent to which an “afterlife” is achieved. After freeing herself, Harriet Tubman returned to the Eastern Shore of Maryland several times to rescue several members of her family. Apparently, freedom took on a different face for a “lonely” Tubman and the idea of personal freedom without her love ones gave her greater determination to help others escape so to experience “freedom” with a sense of wholeness.

Invited panelists will take a closer look at their research to further examine the aftermath and true meaning of freedom for “runaway slaves” within a historical context. The overall goal of this formal interpretive program is to prompt opportunities to re-evaluate the historical question of “Freedom” within a 21st century paradigm. This scholarly discourse which will include a moderator, panelists and audience participation will essentially create new conversations on civil disobedience, resistance and the many assertions that the Underground Railroad becomes the backdrop for the modern American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and beyond. This special event seeks to challenge this and future generations to think more provocatively about American slave historiography and the longstanding Civil Rights movement leading up to the ever-changing present day “freedom” narratives across the globe.

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park Visitor Center is located on Route 335 adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.