Harriet Tubman Home and SU Professor Excited About the US Senate Passage of National Park Status

Dec 17, 2014

For more than a decade the non-profit group that owns the Harriet Tubman Home and grounds in Auburn, New York have been trying to get the historical place designated as a national park. Last Friday, the US Senate voted to pass the measure by a vote of 89 to 11 and now it’s waiting for President Obama’s signature. Harriet Tubman Incorporated President and CEO Karen Hill wants that as a Christmas gift.

Harriet Tubman's brick residence.
Credit David Armstrong - Syracuse University

“That security of knowing that the historic buildings and grounds  at the Harriet Tubman Home will be properly maintained by the federal government, immediately. That’s huge for us. Particularly as we are entering the winter season.”

Hill adds it’s the time of year that causes additional building repairs.  Anthropology Professor Douglas Armstrong from Syracuse University has led teams of students to the site that have uncovered hidden gems.  He went with Hill to Washington, DC last week to see the Senate vote.

 “…Significant in that this is the first national park to recognize an African American woman of her efforts. In terms of our region, it’s important because this is a facility. The Harriet Tubman Home is really an amazing set-up in terms of (a) place where Harriet Tubman lived and the location where she established her home for the aged.”

2012 Syracuse University Field School, directed by Douglas Armstrong. Photo includes SU students along with Reverend Paul Carter and Christine Carter of the Harriet Tubman Home. Photo shows excavation of Tubman’s well with her brick house in the background.
Credit David Armstrong - Syracuse University

Armstrong says there are steep costs to run the Harriet Tubman Home. He feels by getting the US Park Service involved, it will help with staffing and infrastructure.