Delaware Public Media

First State celebrates Harriet Tubman Day with weekend events

Mar 10, 2017

Delaware is celebrating Harriet Tubman Day with a string of weekend events celebrating her life and role in Delaware’s Underground Railroad.

March 10th – the anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death – was chosen to commemorate her life years ago, since her date of birth is not known.


But some states  - like Delaware - haven’t yet officially proclaimed March 10th Harriet Tubman Day.


Debbie Martin with Delaware’s Underground Railroad Coalition says that’s starting to change.


Martin points to a proclamation Saturday focusing on Delaware’s inclusion in the Harriet Tubman byway and driving guide, along with Maryland.


“We are a two-state byway, now – we’re really excited about that and we even have a little bit extending into Pennsylvania. And we have hopes that someday it will go to Canada and tell the full story.”

Martin says the sites, designed around information in Kate Larson’s biography of Tubman, are intentional, following a path runaway slaves would have taken to freedom.


“Sort of – south to north in a logical way, so it really is an alternative to getting on the highway, which is what byways are all about," Martin said.


After the proclamation, the Delaware History Museum will hold a family program connected to its exhibit “Deliverance in Delaware: The Underground Railroad in the First State.”


One story is that of runaway slave John Tillman – whose story is preserved in a fugitive narrative part of the Delaware Historical Society’s collection.


The Wilmington Friends Meeting House, The New Castle Court House Museum, Seaford Museum and the Green in Dover are also featuring programs related to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.