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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Cambridge in Dorchester County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge-Taking Refuge from Slavery

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway

 
 
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge-Taking Refuge from Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 28, 2014
1. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge-Taking Refuge from Slavery Marker
Inscription.  It is no accident that for years more fugitives escaped from slavery in Maryland than any other state—the 1850 census recorded 259 runaways. Location played a critical role in these escapes. Networks of black and white abolitionists helped fugitives across borders to adjacent free states. Local terrain contributed too.

In the 1840s and 1850s, settings like Blackwater offered refuge to Rit Geen Ross, Harriet Tubman’s mother, when she successfully hid her son Moses in Greenbriar Swamp, so that he could not be sold to a Georgia slave trader.

Remember, when you bike or drive the refuge’s Wildlife Drive, paddle the rivers, or walk a trail, that for slaves fleeing the area, knowledge of the rivers, marshes, fields, and forests meant the difference between freedom, perishing, or a return to slavery.

“The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears.”
Frederick Douglas-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas.

(Inscription under the painting at the top)
Bernarda Bryson Shahn-In Hiding, ca. 1935. Ink and watercolor

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge-Taking Refuge from Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 28, 2014
2. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge-Taking Refuge from Slavery Marker
Art-Estate of Bernarda Bryson Shahn/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

(Inscription under the photo in the bottom)
A sunset over Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge-Courtesy of Becky Gregory
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican Americans. In addition, it is included in the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway series list.
 
Location. 38° 26.814′ N, 76° 7.134′ W. Marker is in Cambridge, Maryland, in Dorchester County. Marker is on Key Wallace Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Cambridge MD 21613, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Welcome to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Welcome to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Why Use Native Plants? (approx. 0.2 miles away); Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel (approx. ¾ mile away); The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway (approx. 1.1 miles away); Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center (approx. 1.1 miles away); Pool One at Wildlife Drive (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cambridge.

 
Driving Tour-Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, November 7, 2014
3. Driving Tour-Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge-Taking Refuge from Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 19, 2018
4. Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge-Taking Refuge from Slavery Marker
In Hiding image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 19, 2018
5. In Hiding
ca. 1935 Ink and Watercolor by Bernarda Bryson Shahn.
Close-up of image on marker
Sunset over Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, November 19, 2018
6. Sunset over Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
Courtesy Becky Gregory
Close-up of photo on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 3, 2018. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 431 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 11, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland.   4, 5, 6. submitted on November 20, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Sep. 21, 2020