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New York City in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial

Harriet Tubman Triangle

 
 
Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 30, 2017
1. Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial Marker
Inscription. This larger-than-life bronze sculpture depicts abolitionist organizer and Underground Railroad leader Harriet Tubman (c. 1822-1913), and stands at the crossroads of St. Nicholas Avenue, West 122nd Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard in Harlem. Douglass once said of Tubman that except for John Brown, he knew of "no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people."

Born into slavery in Maryland around 1822, Tubman escaped in 1849 via the Underground Railroad, the network of places and people dedicated to helping slaves find their way to freedom in non-slaveholding communities. Settling first in Philadelphia, then Canada, Tubman spent ten years returning to Maryland at great personal risk, to guide scores of friends and family members to freedom. Determined to end slavery, she later served the Union Army as a scout, spy and nurse in the Civil War. Settling in Auburn, New York after the war, she continued campaigning for equal rights for women and African-Americans. Her humanitarian work, including caring for the sick, homeless and disabled of all races, resulted in the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged in that community. She died in 1913 and was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn with semi-military honors.

The memorial, commissioned through the Department
Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial Marker - Wide View image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 30, 2017
2. Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial Marker - Wide View
The marker is visible in the foreground on the left.
of Cultural Affairs' Percent for Art program, was created by African-American sculptor Alison Saar. The artist has depicted Tubman "not as the conductor of the Underground Railroad but as the train itself, an unstoppable locomotive,” the roots of slavery pulled up in her wake. Saar designed stylized portraits of "anonymous passengers" of the Underground Railroad in Tubman's skirt, some of which were inspired by West African "passport masks." Around the granite base of the monument are bronze tiles alternately depicting events in Tubman's life and traditional quilting patterns.

The $2.8 million, multi-agency project, which included the landscaping of a formerly barren traffic triangle, was sponsored by former Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. Designed by Quennell Rothschild and constructed by URS, the renovated triangle features paving blocks and roughly hewn granite to create a natural setting. Plantings native to both New York and Tubman's home state of Maryland represent the woods and terrain traveled by Tubman and her Underground Railroad passengers, providing a contemplative space in which to consider Tubman's legacy.


 
Erected 2013 by City of New York Parks & Recreation.
 
Location. 40° 48.489′ N, 73° 57.17′ W.
Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 30, 2017
3. Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial
Marker is in New York City, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 122nd Street on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10027, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A. Philip Randolph Square (approx. 0.3 miles away); Oscar J. Hijuelos (approx. 0.3 miles away); Carl Schurz Monument (approx. 0.4 miles away); New York City Defenses During the War of 1812 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Houdini (approx. 0.4 miles away); Low Memorial Library (approx. half a mile away); Scott Joplin (approx. half a mile away); Battle of Harlem Heights (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York City.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Life of Harriet Tubman (NYhistory.org). Harriet Tubman's life was a monument to courage and determination that continues to stand out in American history. Born into slavery in Maryland, Harriet Tubman freed herself, and played a major role in freeing the remaining millions. After the Civil War, she joined her family in Auburn, NY, where she founded the Harriet Tubman Home. (Submitted on July 10, 2017.) 

2. It's My Park: Harriet Tubman Memorial (YouTube, NYC Parks, 4 min.). Meet Alison Saar, the artist who created "Swing Low: A Memorial to Harriet
Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial - Closeup of "Passport" Mask on Statue image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 30, 2017
4. Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial - Closeup of "Passport" Mask on Statue
Tubman" at West 122nd Street, St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
(Submitted on July 10, 2017.) 
 
Categories. Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansCivil RightsWomen
 
Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial - Decorative Quilt Detail: "Jumping the Broom" image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, May 30, 2017
5. Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial - Decorative Quilt Detail: "Jumping the Broom"
...In some African-American communities, marrying couples will end their ceremony by jumping over a broomstick, either together or separately. This practice is well attested for as a marriage ceremony for slaves in the Southern United States in the 1840s and 1850s who were often not permitted to wed legally.... Wikipedia, "Jumping the Broom"
<i>Harriet Tubman (1823 - 1913): Nurse, Spy and Scout</i> image. Click for full size.
By Harvey B. Lindsley, circa 1874
6. Harriet Tubman (1823 - 1913): Nurse, Spy and Scout
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 10, 2017. This page originally submitted on July 9, 2017, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 61 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 9, 2017, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 10, 2017, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.
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