CAMBRIDGE, MD – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today announced $462,650 in federal funding for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Dorchester County. The funds were included in the fiscal year 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill. Senator Mikulski also announced she has requested $500,000 in this year’s annual transportation and housing funding bill to continue work on the Park.
“Harriet Tubman was a courageous fighter who delivered hundreds of slaves to freedom on her Underground Railroad,” Senator Mikulski said. “She was tireless in her commitment to fight for those who could not fight themselves. I am proud to announce funds for this Park to honor her memory.”
These funds will be used to design and construct the Park’s visitor center and recreational facilities, including a memorial garden with informational exhibits, walking paths, bike facilities, an access road, parking for buses and cars, and well and wastewater treatment.
Once complete, the new historical park is expected to attract an additional 200,000 visitors to the area each year, supporting tourism jobs on the Eastern Shore. Tourism is the fourth largest industry in Maryland.
Senator Mikulski, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin and Congressman Frank Kratovil, Jr., (all D-Md.) worked together to put the funds in the federal checkbook. In addition to the funds announced today, they won $475,000 for the project in fiscal year 2009, bringing the total in federal funds for the project to almost $1 million to date.
Senator Mikulski is a co-sponsor of the The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park and The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park Act, which when passed will officially establish this park within the National Park Service to honor the life of Harriet Ross Tubman, the most famous “conductor” of the anti-slavery resistance network known as the Underground Railroad.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” Senator Mikulski said. “Harriet Tubman knew that, and so do I. Her legacy continues to inspire me and I am proud to fight every day for the freedom and equality she dedicated her life to.”
Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. At the age of 27, she escaped from slavery and created the Underground Railroad, helping slaves travel northward to freedom. After the Civil War, she settled in Auburn, New York, where the Harriet Tubman Historical National Park has been created in her honor.