Education, Historical

National Parks that Celebrate the Life and Legacy of Harriet Tubman

“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.” – Harriet Tubman 

A passionate and dedicated individual, determined in her support for justice and freedom, Harriet Tubman is an extraordinary figure in American history whose heroic story and infinite legacy lives on in our national parks. Visit the two national parks that commemorate the landscapes of her life – from her early years on the eastern shore of Maryland to her work on the battlefields of the Civil War to her later years fighting for suffrage in New York.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park

The Pathway to Freedom

Born into slavery in 1822, Harriet Tubman was a deeply spiritual woman who used the skills she had learned from working on the wharves, fields and woods to navigate the natural landscape around her. After escaping to her own freedom in 1849, Tubman risked her life and ventured back to rescue family, friends, and others. One of the best known conductors of the Underground Railroad, Tubman later remarked she “never lost a passenger.” 

Freedom was bittersweet for Harriet Tubman. Tubman came from a close family in a tight-knit community and she missed them. She believed they should be free, too. “I was a stranger in a strange land; and my home, after all, was down in Maryland, because my father, my mother, my brothers, and sisters, and friends were there. But I was free, and they should be free,” she said. Over the course of nearly a decade, Tubman led approximately 70 people to freedom on 13 separate trips. 

Follow in the footsteps of Harriet Tubman’s early years and treacherous journey to freedom at Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. The park preserves the landscapes that Tubman navigated to escape to freedom, features exhibits that honor Tubman’s early life in Maryland, and honors her remarkable work on the Underground Railroad.

Things to Do

  • Birdwatching
  • Children's Programs
  • Historical
  • Tours
  • Wildlife Viewing

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park

New York
New Beginnings

Tubman served as a spy, scout, nurse, and cook during the Civil War. In early 1862, she traveled to South Carolina to provide badly needed nursing care for African American soldiers and civilians. In 1863, Tubman joined Colonel James Montgomery and his 2nd South Carolina Infantry – composed of emancipated people – in an assault on several plantations along the Combahee River, rescuing more than 700 enslaved people. Her role in the raid was celebrated in the press, increasing her fame.  

After the Civil War, Tubman purchased a home in Auburn, NY from then Secretary of State William Seward, establishing the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged. From here, Tubman passionately campaigned for women’s suffrage until her death in 1913. Harriet Tubman National Historical Park honors the work Tubman did later in life. Visitors can walk the grounds of Thompson Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, which Tubman raised funds to build, as well as the Tubman Home for the Aged and the Harriet Tubman Residence, operated by National Park Service partner, The Harriet Tubman Home, Inc.  

Things to Do

  • Historical
  • Tours
Woman holding a camera walking in a field
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