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Work Underway to Create NYS Tubman Underground Railroad Corridor


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Efforts are underway to create the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Corridor in New York State.

The Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State is working to develop the corridor that would stretch nearly 500 miles from Manhattan to Niagara Falls and include multiple locations in the Finger Lakes and along the Erie Canal.

While the consortium is the lead agency pushing for the corridor, The Cayuga County Tourism Office is taking a leading role in the project due to the area’s deep connection to the famed abolitionist, Karen Kuhl, Executive Director of the Cayuga County Office of Tourism told Finger Lakes News Radio.

“Us here in Cayuga County, as Harriet Tubman’s chosen hometown and the site of the National Park Service, are taking a leadership role in getting the message out there and developing [the corridor],” said Kuhl.

Cayuga County is home to several sites with a connection to Tubman. The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park consists of the Thompson Memorial AME Zion Church and Parsonage on Parker Street in Auburn and the Harriet Tubman home. The home and its properties are jointly managed by the NPS and Harriet Tubman Home Inc. Other sites related to the Tubman story include the Seward House Museum and Tubman’s gravesite within Fort Hill Cemetery.

Kuhl added that the goal of the corridor is to honor and highlight the route taken by Tubman and other escaped slaves as they made their way to freedom in Canada.

“[The corridor] is to honor and elevate the history of the freedom seekers throughout New York State as part of the grander story of Harriet Tubman coming from Dorchester County, [Maryland] and her travels north seeking freedom, untimely as far north as going into Canada,” she continued.

As part of the effort to create the corridor, the consortium is holding a series of public meetings along the proposed route to allow residents and businesses to give their opinions, ask questions, and provide feedback about the proposal. One such meeting will be held May 13 at 6:00p at the Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn.

Once the corridor is established, the consortium will seek designation as an official scenic byway by the New York State Department of Transportation.

As for a timeline, Kuhl said nothing is set in stone but she hopes to have all the groundwork laid in 2024 as well as pick which sites will be featured. In 2025, the hope is to launch the corridor as a marketing brand as well as submit a corridor management plan to the DOT in order to create a scenic byway.

The ultimate goal is to create an international byway that would connect Dorchester County, Maryland where Tubman escaped slavery to St Catharines, Ontario in Canada where Tubman brought escaped slaves to freedom.


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