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Former Baltimore Confederate statue site to be rededicated as Harriet Tubman Grove on Saturday

Former Baltimore Confederate statue site to be rededicated as Harriet Tubman Grove on Saturday
A portrait of Harriet Tubman, c. 1908. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore officials on Saturday will formally rededicate a portion of Wyman Park Dell — where a statue of two Confederate generals stood for decades — in honor of Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.

The Harriet Tubman Grove will be dedicated at 10 a.m. Saturday, which is the 105th anniversary of Tubman’s death.

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“Wyman Park Dell is Baltimore’s first rededication of a former confederate site. We can think of no better heroine than Harriet Tubman to lead us into this new era for our city and its residents,” said Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke in a press release about the ceremony.

The marshes, fields and forests of Dorchester County have awed visitors for decades at the <a href="https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Blackwater/" target="_blank">Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge</a>. Not all probably appreciated that the setting south of Cambridge was also the backdrop for the first act of one of the most extraordinary of American lives. Through video, exhibits and programs, the recently opened <a href="http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/eastern/tubman_visitorcenter.aspx" target="_blank">Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center</a> shows how Tubman’s experiences here — both as a slave and returning from the north to free others — made her who she was, and puts the placid scenery in a new light. The refuge and Tubman center are launching points for other recreational and educational opportunities, which often can be combined, such as the bikeable <a href="http://harriettubmanbyway.org/" target="_blank">Harriet Tubman Byway</a>.
The marshes, fields and forests of Dorchester County have awed visitors for decades at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Not all probably appreciated that the setting south of Cambridge was also the backdrop for the first act of one of the most extraordinary of American lives. Through video, exhibits and programs, the recently opened Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center shows how Tubman’s experiences here — both as a slave and returning from the north to free others — made her who she was, and puts the placid scenery in a new light. The refuge and Tubman center are launching points for other recreational and educational opportunities, which often can be combined, such as the bikeable Harriet Tubman Byway. (Karl Merton Ferron,The Baltimore Sun)

Last year Mayor Catherine Pugh ordered a 1948 statue of Confederate generals Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee at the park to be taken down. The statue, along with three other Confederate monuments, were removed overnight in August.

A city bill to rededicate the grove for Tubman was approved in February.

Pugh, Clarke and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young are expected to attend Saturday’s ceremony, along with officials from the city’s Department of Recreation & Parks and members of the Friends of Wyman Park Dell.

Others expected at the event include Marvin “Doc” Cheatham, Owen Silverman Andrews and Pastor Leah White of Greater Faith Baptist Church. The Morgan State Choir will perform.

In addition, the Friends group will announce creation of a Harriet Tubman Grove Tree Fund to support planting of trees in the area.

The event is one of several happening across the region to mark the anniversary of Tubman’s death.

Other commemorations are being held at the Banneker Douglass Museum in Annapolis and at the Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Church Creek, among others.

Reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.

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