A public park space in Baltimore that once honored two Confederate Army generals has been renamed for civil rights icon Harriet Tubman.
Hundreds of people, including city officials and Tubman family members, gathered in Wyman Park Dell for the ceremony on Saturday, held on the 105th anniversary of her death, The Baltimore Sun reported.
“We stand on the shoulders of this great woman,” Ernestine Jones-Williams, a 71-year-old descendant of the abolitionist leader who spoke on behalf of the family, said. “We are overwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Thank you, and God bless you.”
The site, now named Harriet Tubman Grove, features a barren pedestal that once held bronze statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on horseback. Mayor Catherine Pugh’s administration ordered the removal of all four of the city’s Confederate monuments in August following the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s unclear when or if the three other former Confederate memorial sites will be rededicated.
Ciara Harris, chief of staff to Baltimore Recreation and Parks Director Reginald Moore, said the space now dedicated to Tubman has become a gathering place for “city residents of all backgrounds” since the Confederate monument’s removal, according to the Sun.
“Harriet Tubman Grove will provide the city an opportunity to correct historic injustice to a Maryland native,” Harris said. “Our city is properly recognizing an African-American hero.”
Tubman was one of the most well-known conductors of the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses and passageways used by slaves in the mid-19th century to escape from the South to freedom. She guided over 300 slaves into liberation and raised money to open schools for African-Americans after the Civil War, according to the Harriet Tubman Historical Society.