In commemoration of Harriet Tubman Day March 10, internationally renowned actress Gwendolyn Briley-Strand brought Harriet Tubman to the Halls of Congress, and she brought some passengers with her. Members of Local 1-2 of Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, Worcester County NAACP Branch, and HR 1242 Resilience Project were present to encourage Congress to introduce legislation to rename the Virginia Inside Passage as the Harriet Tubman Waterway.
At the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., Sept. 24, 2016, Briley-Strand was honored to introduce President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, and all the dignitaries and celebrities in attendance.
Wherever there was a waterway, it was an escape route for the enslaved. The Virginia Inside Passage, and several bays in Delaware and Maryland were the corridors for freedom along the Eastern Shore of Delmarva. These waters saw countless enslaved Africans take this route to emancipate themselves from the shackles of slavery. Tubman made 13 trips between her Delmarva Peninsula home in Dorchester County, Md., and Philadelphia. She knew the area, mastered the elements and never lost a passenger. The mouth of this waterway begins at the Chesapeake Bay, which was the entry point of many slave ships arriving from West Africa.
This legislation is designed to bring a wave of healing to the United States of America. In no way is this aimed to rewrite history, but to acknowledge the past, and move the country toward the future. This waterway will honor the enslaved people who traversed this route, and the abolitionists and Native Americans who gave refuge to them along the way. There are no funds or appropriations needed from Congress for the Harriet Tubman Waterway Act.
For more information, go to www.hr1242resilience.com.