Press Release

September 14, 2011

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) today met with advocates, state and local civic leaders, historians and descendants of Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, and hosted a noontime “Harriet on the Hill” luncheon in the U.S. Capitol Building 

Senator Cardin is the lead sponsor of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Parks Act (S. 247), which would establish the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties, along with the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, New York.  Senator Cardin spoke with Tubman supporters about his efforts to move the bill out of committee and to consideration by the full Senate.    

“Harriet on the Hill Day shows that there is strong support for the creation of two national historical parks to honor the legacy of Harriet Tubman, a true American patriot, for whom liberty and freedom were not just concepts,” said Senator Cardin.  “Harriet Tubman lived the principles of freedom and liberty and she 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.”

“I am pleased to support Harriet on the Hill Day to advocate for two national historical parks to honor such a great and courageous Marylander,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “Like Marylanders today, Harriet Tubman understood that we progress as a people not on the weakness, but on the strength of our neighbors. Together, with the help of our federal partners, we can educate and share the story of how Tubman and those like her changed the course of American history so our children and theirs will understand the importance of her life and legacy.”

Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (both D-NY) are original co-sponsors of the bill.  The bill is currently in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, which held a favorable hearing on the measure in May.  Senator Cardin has urged the Committee to hold a vote on the bill soon so that the full Senate can take action on the measure.

In August, Maryland received a federal grant to build the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Dorchester County.  The Visitor Center is scheduled to be completed in 2013, 100 years after Tubman’s death.  Construction of the Visitor Center will support approximately 225 local jobs and is a critical part of the effort to establish a national historic park.