(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY) introduced a bill to establish the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn as National Historical Park, which will also encompass the Tubman Home for the Aged, the Thompson Memorial AME Zion Church and Rectory. The bill also establishes the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland. Schumer and Gillibrand are sponsors of the Senate legislation, in conjunction with Senator Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski (both D-MD) and Maffei is the sponsor of the legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Auburn’s Harriet Tubman was one of the bravest and most selfless civil rights leaders in our nation’s history, boldly helping African-Americans escape slavery via the Underground Railroad; she also put her life on the line behind-enemy-lines in service to the cause of the Union during the Civil War,” said Senator Schumer,” said Schumer. “In an age when African Americans and women were expected to be seen not heard, she became an icon due to her extraordinary courage, deep convictions and unwavering commitment to justice and equality. She taught all America that evil can – and must – be confronted and defeated. Born a slave in Maryland, she lived her days – and directed her work – from Auburn in Upstate New York. It is essential that we preserve Upstate New York’s rich history and Harriet Tubman’s legacy by establishing the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn as National Historical Park. By creating these parks we’ll create new jobs, boost the economy, and better the culture of the region. This year marks 100 years since Harriet Tubman’s death; now is the time honor one of our great American role models.”
“Harriet Tubman is a remarkable American hero who continues to inspire me today,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Her unwavering commitment to helping others while risking her own life in the long fight for equality has left an indelible legacy. This National Historic Park in Auburn, N.Y. would provide an important place where men and women of all backgrounds can come together and reflect on the significance of her life.”
“Today I introduced the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park and The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park Act,” said Representative Dan Maffei. “Not only will the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park educate future generations of Americans about her inspiring work and contribution to our country; it will also attract countless visitors to learn Central New York’s rich history and help grow our economy. As March 10, 2013 will mark the 100th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death and February is Black History Month, it is fitting that we honor Harriet Tubman’s legacy. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and my counterparts in the Senate to pass this legislation which is long overdue.”
The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park would include several important historical structures in Auburn. They include Tubman’s home, the Home for the Aged she established, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church, and the Fort Hill Cemetery where she is buried.
The Cayuga County Office of Tourism estimates approximately 70 new jobs would be supported and tourism spending in Cayuga would increase by $3.12 million annually as a result of the bill.
The tourism industry currently provides $355.73 annual tax relief for every Cayuga County household. Relief would increase to $370 per household as a result of additional spending resulting from the legislation.
Annual attendance would increase by an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 visitors per year as a result of the legislation, based on data from similar national parks.