Harriet Tubman: “All around us”

News of Harriet Tubman making it on the front of the $20 bill in 2030 -14 years from now prompted one of my sons, a history professor, to email me: “You should write something about your work on documenting monuments – markers to historic women- people don’t have to wait for the new money- as you have chronicled – these monuments are all around us.”  So, here is my list to Harriet Tubman:

Harriet Tubman, Abolitionist, Scout, Spy, Nurse, Women’s Rights Advocate

Canada 5 markers in St. Catharines, Ontario, including:

Harriet Ross Tubman Marker: Geneva Street just north of North Street, St. Catharines, Ontario

Harriet Tubman Bust and Marker: North side of BME Church, 92 Geneva Street, St. Catharines, Ontario


Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway: Sandtown to Centreville, Delaware routes 10, 15, 9, 52, and US 13

District of Columbia

Harriet Tubman circa 1820-1913 Marker: The Extra Mile, 1340 G Street NW, Washington, D.C.


Harriet Tubman Birthplace Marker, Greenbriar Road, Cambridge, MD

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument: 2145 Key Wallace Drive, Cambridge, MD

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway: follows Choptank River to Delmarva, 125-miles; map and guide at Dorchester Visitor Center, 2 Rose Hill Place, Cambridge, MD

Harriet Tubman Memorial Garden, Route 50 near the intersection of Washington Street Cambridge, MD

“Finding Freedom” Marker: intersection of Taylors Island Road and MD Route 335, Church Creek, MD (Park and Ride lot)

“Sailing Away to Freedom” Marker: Holly Park Drive, Harmony, MD

“Malone’s Church-Ties That Bind” Marker: White Marsh Road, Madison, MD

“Preparing for Freedom” Marker: Madison Canning House Road, Madison, MD


Harriet Tubman Park; Pembroke Street and Columbus, Ave., Boston, MA

“Step on Board/Harriet Tubman Memorial”: Statue by Fern Cunningham; Pembroke Street and Columbus, Ave., Boston, MA


“Harriet Tubman”: Statue by Jane DeDecker, 119 West Michigan, Ypsilanti, MI

New York

“Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial”: Statue by Aiison Saar, 122nd St and Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, NY

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, under development, Cayuga County, NY;

Harriet Tubman Plaque: 24 South Street, City Hall, Auburn, NY

Harriet Tubman Home:180 South Street, Auburn, NY

Grave, Forest Hill Cemetery, 19 Fort Street, Auburn, New York

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Favorite Photo

img080I recently received the April-May issue of my favorite little literary magazine “BookWomen A Readers’ Community for Those Who Love Women’s Words” with the 250-word piece I was asked to write about my favorite photo of me with 2-year old Quinn and Balan. Their Dad, David, took the picture.

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Women’s Equality

Hurrah! Today President Obama designated the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equallty National Monument in Washington, D.C.. adding it to the National Park System. Formerly the Sewall-Belmont House, it was the home of the National Woman’s Party, led by Alice Paul, a instrumental leader in women’s fight for the vote. “I want young girls and boys to come here—10, 20, 100 years from now—to know that women fought for equality. It was not just given to them,” Obama said. “I want them to come here and be astonished that there was a time when women could not vote. I want them to be astonished that was a time that women earned less than men for doing the same work…. that there was ever at time that a woman had never sat in the Oval Office.” p.s. I would add that everyone, not just “young girls and boys” should come and “be astonished.”

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Frances Perkins

FPcoverIMG_0207Remembering Frances Perkins, born on this day – April 10 – in 1880. As secretary of labor, the first woman in a presidential cabinet, Frances Perkins, a woman who got things done,was the architect of some of the most far-reaching and important reforms and social legislation for working people ever enacted in America, including the establishment of Social Security. Perkins lived during tumultuous and contentious times; always, she said, sustained by words from the Bible – “Be ye steadfast.” The photo is of a large, evocative poster that has hung on my office wall ever since I wrote “A Woman Unafraid: The Achievements of Frances Perkins.” Several years before her death in 1965, Perkins said: “I hear people say that the world is in a crisis . . . I think crisis has occurred in the world’s history many times . . . . You just can’t be afraid . . . if you’re going to accomplish anything,”

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The Equal Rights Amendment: Unfinished Business for the Constitution http://equalrightsamendment.org/

rallyIf I could choose an amendment to add to the Constitution it would be the Equal Rights Amendment. I think we have achieved that through legislation, but legislation can be repealed, it can be altered. So I would like my granddaughters, when they pick up the Constitution, to see that notion – that women and men are persons of equal stature – I’d like them to see that is a basic principle of our society. Ruth Bader Ginsberg

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New Moon

img087Recently my favorite magazine for girls-“New Moon Girls”-asked my advice on how to find landmarks to historic women.  My answers, “Find Her! Secret Sheroes,”  are in the March/April edition.  Sidebars include information about the “Put Women on the Map” app; three young women who lobbied to get a bridge in Dublin, Ireland, named after Rosie Hackett, an activist woman; and a group of women in Paris who rectified the fact that fewer that 3 % of the streets are named for women. (One night they covered 60 signs with the names of historic women.) img088

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Dorothea Lynde Dix

DLDPark“It was a cold, blustery day on March 28 . . . ” so I wrote in my first biography “Breaking the Chains: The Crusade of Dorothea Lynde Dix.” The year was 1841 – 175 years ago – when Dix “arrived at East Cambridge jail to teach Sunday school to the prisoners. But, first, with her characteristic curiosity, she insisted on having a tour of the jail. To her horror she discovered two indigent mentally ill women confined in cages made of rough boards – disheveled, shivering people whose only crime was their illness. No stove heated their bare, filthy pens. Why was there no heat, Dix asked the jailer. Because ‘lunatics’DLDnew don’t feel the cold, he replied.” Thus began Dorothea Dix’s legendary forty-year crusade for the humane treatment of people with mental illness. Year after year, the indomitable Dix traveled thousands of miles by stagecoach, boats, horseback, and trains to investigate and expose the horrendous conditions and advocate and ensure reforms. It’s not wonder I was drawn to write about DLD: my father was a psychiatrist and we lived for many years on the grounds of a state mental hospital. “Redbook” magazine once published a story about us titled “The Strangest Place to Find a Happy Family.” (Although I didn’t find it a strange place & my family was no more or no less happy than any other.) The photo is of the Dorothea Dix Park, located on the land where the Dix house once stood in Hampden, ME. The plaque reads: “In Memory of/Dorothea Lynde Dix/ who by devoted care to sick and wounded soldiers/during the Civil War earned the gratitude of the Nation,/ and by her labors in the cause of prison reform and of humane treatment of the insane/ won the admiration and reverence of the civilized world.1802-1887/Her Birthplace.” DLD once proclaimed: “It is time that people should have learnt that to be insane is not to be disgraced; that sickness is not to be ranked with crime.”

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PSTriangle08Remembering the 146 young women workers who died today – March 25 – in 1911 in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist fire, a transformative event witnessed by Frances Perkins who dedicated her life to fighting for safe working conditions and workers’ rights. I first visited the memorial at the site while writing my biography of Perkins, who became the first woman in a presidential cabinet (1933-1945) and was the architect of some of the most far-reaching reforms and social legislation ever enacted in America, including the establishment of Social Security. Every year a memorial service is held at the site. The photo shows me and my granddaughter Sophie, then four years old, visiting the site in 2008. (Originally the Asch Building, now the Brown Building, part of New York University, the site is located at 23-29 Washington Place, New York, NY)

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River Otter

River OtterOn our walk along the Hudson River today we spotted a river otter swimming in the Hudson River, just north of the George Washington Bridge!

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Death of Susan B. Anthony

Remembering Susan B. Anthony, nationally and internationally revered leader in the fight for woman suffrage, who died March 13th-in 1906. Anna HSBAgraveoward Shaw, an ordained minister and a medical doctor, who became a full time fighter for woman suffrage and a close friend of Susan B. Anthony, pronounced the final farewell at Anthony’s funeral:  “There is no death for such as she.  . .  Her words, her work and her character will go on to brighten the pathway and bless the lives of all people . . . Her cause, perfect equality of rights, of opportunity, of privilege for all, civil and political – was to her the bed-rock upon which all true progress must rest.”  As for what Susan B. Anthony had once said about her funeral: “Remember that I want there should be no tears. Pass on, and go on with the work.”

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