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Harriet Tubman Welcomed to ­Government House

An invitation 193 years coming

At 193 years, this journey was long, even for one used to the arduous journeys of the Underground Railway. This week, Harriet Tubman — a criminal in her own time — was welcomed by Maryland’s first family into their home.
    She comes in bronze, as the first bust of an African American to be displayed in Government House.
    “In commemorating the life of Harriet Tubman, we’re ensuring that the healing light of those who shine against the darkness of human frailty will never dim,” said outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley of the addition to Maryland’s State Archive and the Government House art collection.
    The runaway slave who rescued more than 300 enslaved African Americans in one decade, is on a roll.
    Last month Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center is rising next to Blackwater Wildlife Refuge in Dorchester County. Already, drivers can tour the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.
    “I wanted to portray Harriet Tubman as a young woman in her 30s as she might have looked at the time of the Underground Railroad,” said sculptor Brendan O’Neill Sr., who donated his time and labor.
    He’s placed her on a pedestal of two woods, one the historic fallen Wye Oak and the second a sweet gum tree native to the Blackwater River region.
    Tubman’s great-great niece joined in the dedication.
    “This has been a long time coming, and now I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Valarie Ross Manokey.