When the 17-acre Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center in Church Creek, Md., near Cambridge, Md. officially opens March 11-12, UMES will be on hand playing an important role in opening activities.
The center, for which ground was broken four years ago on the 100th anniversary of Tubman's death, is a cooperative effort by national, state and local supporters to commemorate the life and legacy of the legendary abolitionist. Near Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, the Maryland State Park visitor center is adjacent to the 125-mile Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway opened.
UMES' Concert Choir will perform at a VIP reception. The next day, visitors to the new center will get another glimpse of the university's student talent through a visiting art exhibit.
Chris Harrington, Brad Hudson and Alissa Banks, fine arts faculty members, doled out assignments to generate art for the exhibit. Artworks from half a dozen UMES students will be on display in the exhibition room of the visitor center.
“What an extraordinary opportunity for UMES as a Historically Black Institution, to be an integral part of such an important landmark telling the story of Tubman's fight to freedom for African-Americans,” said Harrington, interim dean of the School of Education, Social Sciences and The Arts. “We are honored to have been invited to participate, exposing the fine work of our students and faculty to visitors to the center from across the nation and potentially the world.”
The Grand Opening Weekend (March 11-12) will feature special programs led by a living historian, Tubman biographer and scholar Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, Chris Elcock, the lead architect for the project sharing some of the hidden symbolism in the site plan and landscaping, Dr. Sonia Sanchez, the National Park Service's Centennial Poet Laureate presenting her award winning Haikus, and historian Tony Cohen leading participants on a walk to discover the skills and knowledge a journey on the Underground Railroad would have required.
An interpretive video "The Life and Legacy of Harriet Tubman" compliments the exhibits by providing an overview about the history of the Underground Railroad and Tubman's connections to it while highlighting the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.
For more information, call 410-221-2290, email htursp.dnr@maryland .gov or for opening events visit http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Documents/HTUGRR_grandopening.pdf.