Working feverishly throughout the last months of 2016, and early into 2017, has brought to fruition the establishment of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park located in Auburn, NY.
The Rt. Reverend Dennis V. Proctor, Presiding Prelate of the North Eastern Episcopal District and Chairman of The Harriet Tubman Home, Inc., joined by the host bishop, the Rt. Reverend W. Darin Moore, led the Washington, DC Signing Ceremony on January 10th at the United States Department of the Interior. Senior Bishop George E. Battle, Jr. and Retired Senior Bishop George W.C. Walker, Sr., both strong supporters of the Harriet Tubman Home could not be present on the chilly January day but the ceremonial room was filled with their spirits and the warmth of their prayers. National Park Service Acting Director Michael Reynolds presided over the ceremony. Former DOI Secretary, Sally Jewell welcomed Zionites and friends of the Harriet Tubman Home. Secretary Jewell gave remarks explaining the role of the National Park Service as the nation’s storyteller, and how important it is, now more than ever, for Tubman’s story to be known to all. Sec. Jewell lauded the stewardship of the A.M.E. Zion Church, thanking Bishop Dennis V. Proctor and praised Karen V. Hill, President and CEO of the Harriet Tubman Home, in working with the National Park Service to reach this milestone.
The New York federal elected delegation representing Auburn, NY spoke at the ceremony noting the journey and the significance of the accomplishment. United States Senator and Senate Minority Leader, Charles E. Schumer, an original sponsor of the federal legislation for the Tubman park spoke of the two decades long effort and complicating bureaucratic processes in thanking the A.M.E. Zion Church and the Harriet Tubman Home for it patience, perseverance and persistence. United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand thanked the church and the Tubman Home for the important telling of the story of Tubman’s life, noting that visitors to the home are impacted by what they learn about the African American heroine, Harriet Tubman. Congressman John Katko, pledged his ongoing support and talked of being affected by the deep spirituality of the Annual Harriet Tubman Pilgrimage, so much so, that he introduced with Rep. Elijah Cummings legislation to put Harriet Tubman on the face of U.S. currency.
Bishop Dennis V. Proctor addressed the audience on this august occasion noting the establishment of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park represented what’s possible when government, the church and the community come together around a common goal, a shared vision. Bishop Proctor thanked the DOI, NPS, the federal delegation and above all the faithful who have been responsible stewards for more than 113 years of the Tubman homestead.
The witnessing of this historic event by Mary Matthews, President of the Connectional Lay Council, Harriet Tubman Home Board Members, and the clergy and laity of the North Eastern and Mid-Atlantic Episcopal Districts, along with retired NPS Director John Jarvis, added to the solemnity and historic significance of the day. The Harriet Tubman Home is now also known as the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park. It is the 414th unit of the National Park System.
This site remains exclusively owned by the A.M.E. Zion Church and will be jointly managed and operated by the Harriet Tubman Home and the National Park Service.