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Archaeologists say Harriet Tubman's home discovered in Maryland

Archaeologists say Harriet Tubman's home discovered in Maryland
© Courtesy of Smithsonian

Maryland state officials said in a news release Monday that archaeologists working on land owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believe they have discovered the home where abolitionist legend Harriet Tubman lived as a young girl.

A news release from the State Highway Administration stated that the home, owned by Tubman's father, Ben Ross, is where she lived before beginning her quest to free dozens of slaves from captivity in the South.

“This discovery adds another puzzle piece to the story of Harriet Tubman, the state of Maryland, and our nation,” said Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) in the news release.

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“It is important that we continue to uncover parts of our history that we can learn from, especially when they can be lost to time, and other forces. I hope that this latest success story can inspire similar efforts and help strengthen our partnerships in the future," he said.

The property, acquired by Fish and Wildlife in 2020, was purchased with the intent of preserving marshland and outdoor recreation areas, according to the news release. Fish and Wildlife's National Wildlife Refuge System chief, Cynthia Martinez, said that the area is expected to turn into a marsh due to environment changes brought on by climate change.

“When we protect vulnerable habitats, we help preserve the stories of those who came before us, like Harriet Tubman’s father, Ben Ross,” Martinez said. “Acquiring Peter’s Neck last year was a critical addition to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, as the area is predicted to naturally convert to marsh by 2100 because of sea-level rise. We look forward to working with our partners to create more opportunities to connect people to nature and strengthen the bond between the land and community.”

The discovery was made in part by an archaeologist with the State Highway Administration, Julie Schablitsky, who told The Washington Post in an interview that it began with the finding of a coin dated 1808.

“A lot of us think we know everything … about Harriet Tubman. This discovery tells us that we don’t, and that we have the opportunity to … understand her not just as an older woman who brought people to freedom, but … what her younger years were like," Schablitsky told the Post.