The resilience and bravery of trailblazing abolitionist Harriet Tubman will reverberate for generations to come, and the city of Philadelphia is immortalizing her legacy through the addition of a monument, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
A nine-foot statue paying homage to the heroic sacrifices made by Tubman along her quest towards liberty was recently unveiled in front of Philadelphia City Hall’s North Apron. The structure—dubbed “The Journey to Freedom”—illustrates her deep roots in Philadelphia. After escaping slavery in 1849, she traveled to the city from Maryland. She went back to Maryland a year later to lead her niece’s family to freedom in Philly.
“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person,” Tubman recalled in the memoir “Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman.” “There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.” Tubman cultivated a network of churches and homes in Philadelphia to help free nearly 70 people who were enslaved in Maryland.
The monument—created by award-winning artist Wesley Wofford—depicts Tubman guiding a young girl to freedom, crossing the Pennsylvania state line and leaving the shackles of slavery behind.
“Philadelphia holds a specific relevance to Harriet’s story as the city she found safe harbor in after her escape from Maryland, as well as staging many of her returning raids to free others from the bondage of slavery,” Wofford shared in a statement, according to the news outlet.
The statue, which has traveled throughout the country since 2020, will be on display in Philadelphia through March to commemorate Tubman’s 200th birthday. The Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy has joined forces with institutions like the African American Museum in Philadelphia and other local nonprofits and businesses to curate events that delve into different aspects of Tubman’s life.
News about the sculpture comes nearly a year after it was announced a monument honoring Tubman would be created in the city of Newark. Designed by artist Nina Cooke John the multisensory structure—dubbed “Shadow of a Face”—will serve as a piece that is reflective of Tubman’s journey and highlights New Jersey’s connection to the Underground Railroad.