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Underground Railroad Byway Traces Tubman's Path

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(28 Jun 2017) Beside a quiet stream on Maryland's Eastern Shore, a 19th century brick house that once served as a way station on the Underground Railroad can bring present-day visitors to tears as they gaze at the path where escaped slaves made their way to freedom.The Jacob and Hannah Leverton house is among 36 sites along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. The 125-mile route has been getting fresh attention in recent months as the nation and the world take more notice of Tubman's heritage as a hero of freedom.Tubman, who escaped from slavery in antebellum Maryland to become a leading abolitionist, helped other slaves escape by guiding them north on the Underground Railroad and served as a Union spy during the Civil War.The designated sites and nearby landscapes offer a comprehensive look into Tubman's life and the final legs of journeys along Underground Railroad, an informal network that helped escaping slaves evade capture and reach free states such as nearby Pennsylvania.After about 18 years of planning, the first stops along the byway were designated in 2013 to coincide with the centennial of Tubman's death.The site of Tubman's first known act of defiance against slavery is one of the most popular stops on the Tubman byway.The Bucktown Village Store has been restored at a rural crossroads believed to be where Tubman refused a slave owner's orders to help him detain another slave. When the other slave ran, the owner grabbed a two-pound weight and threw it at him, hitting Tubman on the head and causing an injury that would trouble her for the rest of her life.The inside still looks like a 19th-century shop, and the owners have some Tubman-related items, including a newspaper advertising a reward for Tubman and two of her brothers. Susan Meredith, who owns the site with her husband, says people have been stopping more frequently since the visitor's center opened nearby.Michael McCrea, who bought the house in the mid-1980s, is enthusiastic about the byway and accommodates visitors wanting to get a closer look.McCrea has shown people around the property. Some have cried, he says, while others have solemnly rubbed the bricks of the house."They just can't believe that it's here," McCrea says.Another stop on the byway is the Stanley Institute, a former one-room schoolhouse for black students. Tubman did not attend school here but visitors are drawn to the school from around the world."I'm hoping our local children, and children all over the country get the chance to see this because it tells what she went through in order to rescue her family," said Herschel Johnson who restored the school.You can license this story through AP Archive: Find out more about AP Archive:


AP Archive apus079464 d62fb5f79e2657aef636652e0e1a2232 US MD Tubman Trail (NR) Harriet Tubman Maryland United States Social affairs African-Americans
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