Harriet Tubman – Veteran of the Underground Railroad

Last week we talked about how the movie “Current Wars” made us think about Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey. This week we saw the movie “Harriet” about Harriet Tubman and we thought it would be a fitting time to share our visit to Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in New York.

About Harriet Tubman National Histical Park

Just one of the many places honoring Harriet Tubman, the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn New York showcases her home, where she lived from 1859 until she died in 1913. The museum there is full of photos that tell her story as well as of the many others who risked their lives to help slaves escape to the north and freedom.

It is a relatively new park, taken over by the National Park Service and administered by the The Harriet Tubman Home Inc. When we were there, they were hosting a school group – which was wonderful to see, but it did limit our ability to see everything. You probably should check on operating hours and availability before you go.

An unusual highlight of our visit was Harriet Tubman’s gravesite at Fort Hill Cemetery. This was not part of the national park unit, but it was an interesting place to visit. It is a peaceful place with majestic old trees and it’s own rich history. Walking through the cemetery and seeing her simple grave made us reflect on how this woman dedicated her life to freedom.

The movie “Harriet” really brought this out – showing how determined she was to go back to Maryland repeatedly in order to rescue members of her family as well as others. She made this treacherous journey 13 times and brought some 70 slaves to freedom.

We actually learned quite a lot from the Harriet movie. Something else we didn’t know (or didn’t remember) was that she was the first woman to lead an armed regiment in the Civil War… so it is fitting to talk about her on veteran’s day!

Don’t forget, the National Parks Service offers FREE admission on Veteran’s Day - the last free day of the year.

Getting to Harriet Tubman National Histical Park

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park is in Auburn, New York – just a 40 minute drive from Syracuse. Once you get to Auburn, the park units are at four different locations. Check the directions on the National Park website.

This is really pretty region of the country, right by the “finger lakes”. Take some time to drive around and visit the area. It’s a great place for a holiday.

You also will not be far from another really interesting national park unit – Women’s Rights National Historical Park – just 16 miles away in Seneca Falls New York. Suffrage was one of the may causes that Tubman fought for, along with many other brave women. Read more about it on our blog about women’s voting rights.

Other Harriet Tubman Sites

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park is not the only place honoring Harriet Tubman. A new national park are is the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. Currently there are no services in the park and it is a mix of public and private land, preserving the places that Harriet (or Minty, the young slave girl) would have known.

Both of these Harriet Tubman parks are relatively new and will definitely be worth revisiting as they evolve.


Need Help Planning Your Visits?

If you would like to explore this or other National Park Units, but need a bit help in the planning, please give us a call at (480) 609-3978. We are happy to offer customized trip planning.