ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Tuesday, to celebrate the Bicentennial year of Harriet Tubman’s birth, the State Canal Corporation dedicated tugboat to the famous abolitionist.
This was done to honor her life and legacy as a leading figure of the Underground Railroad movement, helping to free dozens of enslaved people. The great, great, great niece of Harriet Tubman, Geraldine Howard, still lives in Rochester. She was among the speakers at the Tubman boat dedication ceremony, and shined a light on her ancestor’s story.
“Years ago, my ancestor Aunt Harriet was forced to cross on the ground, scrubbing floors, toiling the land, picking cotton, catching muskrats for food,” she said. “Taking care of babies while she was only a baby herself. She did this from sunrise to sunset… She took a beating if that baby cried. It was no wonder why my Aunt Harriet decided to make a difference in the lives of herself and her family. She decided she had to be a free woman. If it had not been for her bravery to leave her plantation and chose her freedom – I or should I say many of us would not be here today.”
The tugboat dedication ceremony took place along the Genesee River spur of the Erie Canal in Rochester. The spot is near Tubman’s home and final resting place, which is in Auburn near the Finger Lakes.