Harriet Tubman’s residence near Auburn, New York is now closer than ever to becoming an official national historic park, the Associated Press reports.
According to New York state senator Charles Schumer, the Department of the Interior has finalized a land transfer agreement that allows for the National Park Service to create the park. Now, all the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park needs to become a reality is approval from the secretary of the interior. (Congress approved legislation to create the park in December 2014, along with a similar park near Tubman's birthplace on Maryland's Eastern Shore.)
In 1859, the famed Underground Railroad conductor moved to the Auburn area—then home to a strong abolitionist community—after New York senator William Seward offered to sell her his home. Tubman lived there with her parents, and in 1896, purchased 25 acres of adjoining land to build a housing community for elderly African-Americans, eventually called the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged. In 1903, Tubman deeded the home to a local church, the Thompson Memorial AME Zion Church, on the condition that they manage the home.
The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park will include several properties, Syracuse.com reports. The land transfer deal approved by the Department of the Interior allows for the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. and AME Zion Church to sell its ownership of the church and the Home for the Aged Rectory to the federal government. Meanwhile, Tubman’s former home, the Home for the Aged, and a historic barn will be jointly run by the National Park Service and Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. through a preservation easement.
"As a New Yorker and an American, I'm deeply proud to see Tubman Park finally become a reality," Schumer said in a statement quoted by Syracuse.com. "The Tubman Historic Park in Auburn will be a magnet for visitors that will tell the amazing story of Harriet Tubman's life, an extraordinary American, and her story deserves to be shared with our children and grandchildren. This park will serve that solemn purpose and preserve her legacy for countless generations to come."
[h/t Travel + Leisure]