The fate of a proposal to establish a Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn - a move that would bring more than $7 million in federal funds - is now in the hands of the U.S. Congress.
Sens. Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Rep. Michael Arcuri introduced legislation to create national historic parks for Auburn- and Maryland-based Tubman properties as a means to preserve, honor and promote the life of the woman who played an important role in the Underground Railroad.
Tubman was born in Dorchester County, Md., but spent much of her adult life in Auburn.
The park in Auburn - which would be managed by the National Park Service in conjunction with Tubman Home owners AME Zion Church - would encompass Tubman's home, the Home for the Aged, the AME Zion church in Auburn and the Fort Hill Cemetery, where she is buried.
The bill authorizes $7.5 million in grants for the preservation, rehabilitation and restoration of these properties. Another $200,000 will be available annually as grants to historically Black colleges and universities as well as minority institutions for research into the life of Tubman and the African-American experience during the years of her life.
The National Park Service engaged in a Tubman preservation study at Congress' behest in 2000. The service unveiled a progress report last month indicating its preference for establishing a national park.