Among other notable qualities, the strength to persevere helped make Harriet Tubman the American legend that she is.
Born on a Maryland plantation in 1820, Tubman overcame injustice one fight at a time. After escaping slavery to the relative safety of Philadelphia, she returned to Maryland time and again to lead others north — toward the promise of a better future.
She eventually ended up in Auburn, where she continued working to abolish slavery in the United States and later joined the fight for women's rights.
The effort to properly honor Tubman's achievements in Auburn and elsewhere is also going to require perseverance, too, and we urge anyone and everyone who can help make it happen to stand up and fight for it.
Last week, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand joined their Maryland colleagues in introducing a bill in the Senate to authorize the establishment of Harriet Tubman National Historical Park sites in Auburn and Maryland. On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei introduced the same bill in the House.
But asking for a national park isn't the same as getting one.
Similar legislation was introduced in 2008, 2009 and 2011 but has yet to come before Congress for and up or down vote.
We believe that momentum is building, and we hope this is the year that persistence pays off. But good wishes alone aren't going to be enough, and the introduction of this legislation must not be left as a wait-and-see proposition.
We urge our local and state officials to rally support. Auburn and Cayuga County leaders should partner with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to lend any help they can to our representatives in Washington.
Harriet Tubman never backed down from a fight. Our local, state and congressional leaders need to honor her legacy by being just as steadfast in the pursuit to honor her legacy.