Monument and Myth: Commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
James L. Gafgen, Harriet Ross Tubman Memorial, 2006, Bristol Park, Bristol, Pennsylvania. Photograph by Renée Ater.
“Monument and Myth: Commemorating Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad” focuses on how contemporary artists have depicted the famed freedom fighter in three-dimensional form. This digital exhibit also considers how artists and communities have engaged the mythic Tubman to acknowledge the history of slavery, abolition, and freedom in the public spaces of their towns, cities, and states.
The exhibit includes the following sections:
- a short biography of the historical Harriet Tubman;
- a brief history of the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman's role as conductor;
- a consideration of the photographic representation of Harriet Tubman and how contemporary sculptors have used these images as source material;
- maps and a timeline; and
- an in-depth analysis and interpretation of three monuments to Harriet Tubman.
Use the right-hand menu bar to navigate the exhibit pages.
NOTE: I continue to add Harriet Tubman monuments to the database. I am in the process of updating the site including the addition of new and future monuments: The Beacon of Hope in Cambridge, Maryland; Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom now in Dallas, Texas; an abstract memorial in Greensboro, North Carolina; a planned for large-scale memorial in Beaufort, South Carolina; and a newly commissioned monument in Newark, New Jersey.
Written by Renée Ater, written May-June 2019; updated February 15, 2023