July 15, 2009

CARDIN TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE COMMITTEE IN SUPPORT OF CREATION OF HARRIET TUBMAN NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARKS

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today testified before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks in support of legislation he has written to honor the life of Harriet Ross Tubman, the most famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad.

 

Earlier this year, Senator Cardin was joined by Senators Barbara A. Mikulski, (D-MD), Charles Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand (both D-NY) in co-sponsoring S. 227, which would create the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland and the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in New York.  

 

"Harriet Tubman was a true American patriot, for whom liberty and freedom were not just concepts," said Senator Cardin.   "She lived those principles and shared that freedom with hundreds of others.   These two parks will make it possible for Marylanders and the entire nation to trace her life's work and remember all that she was able to accomplish."

 

In 1999, Congress directed the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a Special Resource Study to determine the appropriateness of establishing a unit of the National Park Service to honor Harriet Tubman.   In January, the NPS recommended that a Park include two geographically separate units.   The Park Service formally threw its support behind the Cardin legislation at today's hearing.

 

"Since there are very few structures still left on the Eastern Shore associated with Harriet Tubman's life, it is entirely appropriate that the Maryland Historical Park be comprised of landscapes on the Eastern Shore that are evocative of the time in which Ms. Tubman lived.   I am pleased that the Park Service supports my call to include within the Park boundaries a number of important properties that are associated with her life, including the homestead of her father and the farm in which Harriet Tubman worked as a slave," Senator Cardin told the Subcommittee.   

 

S. 227 would authorize $11 million in grants for both Maryland and New York.   In Maryland, funds could be used for the construction of the Harriet Tubman Discovery Center and for easements or acquisition of properties inside or adjacent to the Historical Park boundaries. In New York, funds could be used for the preservation, rehabilitation, and restoration of the Auburn properties.