Harriet Tubman Visitor’s Center Opens In Maryland

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This weekend is the grand opening of a new visitor’s center honoring Harriet Tubman.

It is located in the same area of Maryland where Tubman was born a slave, and where she later returned to free others along the Underground Railroad.

Dozens of Harriet Tubman’s family members attended an emotional opening ceremony.

“Aunt Harriet bringing family back together,” said Ernestine Wyatt, a Tubman family member.

The ribbon cutting for the new Underground Railroad Visitor Center.

“It is in honor of her, and her service, recognizing what she did,” said Wyatt.

The center sits on land Tubman knew as a child, and navigated as an adult.

“I want them to feel it, and see it, and experience it,” said a park ranger working at the center.

Tubman was born into slavery just five miles from here, and fled to freedom when she was 27.

She repeatedly risked her life by returning to help free other slaves, using a network of pathways and safe houses: The Underground Railroad.

The exhibits tell the stories.

“This Combahee River section strikes me the most,” said the ranger.

That’s when Tubman became the first woman to lead Union troops on an armed raid.

“They freed 720-to-800 people in one of the largest emancipation events in the United States’ history,” the ranger explained.

“We had a mission. It was to tell the truth,” said Kate Clifford Larson, the project’s historian, about how Tubman endured the brutality of her bondage and eventually waged her own war against slavery.

“She lived it, she endured it, she came out of it,” said Larson.

And still continues to inspire people around the world.

Admission to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor’s Center is free.

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