Maryland’s U.S. senators are reintroducing their legislation to erect a statue in the U.S. Capitol to Harriet Tubman, the Eastern Shore woman who led slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
Democrats Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, along with Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, announced their legislation Wednesday — on national Harriet Tubman Day. The bill calls for the statue to be paid for with donations and delivered within two years to the Capitol, where it should hold a place of prominence, according to the senators’ bill.
“Her courageous story is one that must be told in the halls of Congress and with every visitor to the U.S. Capitol from across the country and around the globe,” Cardin said in a news release. “I can think of few greater examples of bravery and valor about which to teach our future generations. Harriet Tubman’s legacy is an essential part of American history that recognizes the importance of African Americans and women in creating the fabric of our nation.”
Tubman was born into slavery in 1820 on a plantation on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. She escaped the plantation and returned many times to lead other slaves to freedom. She became known as the “Moses to her people.” Tubman died March 10, 1913; her holiday falls on March 10 of each year.
“Every American should know her name — and her conviction and courage in fighting the evil of slavery,” Van Hollen said in a news release. “I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation today, in recognition of Harriet Tubman Day, and I will keep pushing until the Harriet Tubman statue is placed in the Capitol.”
In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation creating the Harriet Tubman Statue Commission to raise money to hire a sculpture artist to donate for display in the U.S. Capitol. Congress must pass its own legislation to accept the donations.