Newswire: Harriet Tubman’s lost family home found in Maryland

Harriet Tubman

 

By: DeMicia Inman, The Grio

Maryland state officials announced the landmark discovery of Harriet Tubman‘s family home, found by archaeologists working on land owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In a press release, the State Highway Administration (SHA) conducted research that led to discovering the historic homesite once owned by the father of famed abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, born Araminta Ross. The home belonged to her father, Ben Ross, and is believed to be where she spent her childhood and teenage years. “This discovery adds another puzzle piece to the story of Harriet Tubman, the state of Maryland, and our nation,” said Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford.  “It is important that we continue to uncover parts of our history that we can learn from, especially when they can be lost to time and other forces. I hope that this latest success story can inspire similar efforts and help strengthen our partnerships in the future.” Descendants of Tubman were also present at the reveal. According to the press release, Tina Wyatt, Harriet Tubman’s great-great-great-grandniece and Ben Ross’ great-great-great-great-granddaughter expressed excitement for the historic find.  “Discovering the location of patriarch Ben Ross Sr.’s home and artifacts he used has humanized a man responsible for giving us a woman of epic proportions, Harriet Ross Tubman,” Wyatt said.  “This brings enlightenment, revealing how he lived his daily life making it a real-life connection to and for me, a great-great-great-great-granddaughter. The world benefits also from the study of these artifacts concerning objects used by the enslaved; are they common to this plantation, to his position, or to this region? It gives us so much more to explore, explain and exhibit.” Archeologist Julie Schablitsky shared with the Washington Post how the discovery of a coin dating to the 1800s was vital in locating the homesite and other artifacts. “A lot of us think we know everything … about Harriet Tubman. This discovery tells us that we don’t and that we have the opportunity to … understand her not just as an older woman who brought people to freedom, but … what her younger years were like,” Schablitsky shared with the Post. She added, “It’s not just one artifact that tells us we have something. It’s the assemblage. It’s the multiple pieces.” According to the release, the newly-uncovered home site of Ben Ross will be highlighted on the historic Thompson Farm where he and his family were enslaved. The property was acquired in 2020 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as an addition to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County, Maryland. “When we protect vulnerable habitats, we help preserve the stories of those who came before us, like Harriet Tubman’s father, Ben Ross,” said USFWS Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System Cynthia Martinez.  “Acquiring Peter’s Neck last year was a critical addition to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, as the area is predicted to naturally convert to marsh by 2100 because of sea-level rise. We look forward to working with our partners to create more opportunities to connect people to nature and strengthen the bond between the land and community.” In January, theGrio reported the President Joe Biden administration wants to ‘speed up’ effort to place Harriet Tubman on the $20 note.  U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty has been working tirelessly for Tubman’s image to be placed on the $20 note. Now that Biden is in office, Beatty is hoping to speed up the process of the “Woman on the Twenty Act of 2021” bill and replace Andrew Jackson’s image with a portrait of the late abolitionist