Thursday, September 12, 2013

Slavery in St. Catharines - Harriet Tubman Lived Here

What does St. Catharines, Ontario have to do with slavery in the U.S. in the 1800's?  It has the distinction of being the destination of Harriet Tubman, one of the underground railway conductors.  

As a member of the St. Catharines Garden Club, I was one of the Harriet Tubman Memorial garden tenders in the summer. 

At the British Methodist Episcopal (BME) Church on Geneva Street is a commemoration to her great journeys and successes.  St. Catharines was the destination for her successful rescue of many slaves.  The MBE church was her church of worship.  Harriet's story is an amazing one, so it is a great distinction for St. Catharines to be able to celebrate her great contributions. 

The name Harriet Tubman is recognized worldwide. She is celebrated as the most important figure of the 19th century Underground Railroad (UGRR) movement.  During her time as an UGRR operative,  Harriet Tubman was a frequent resident of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada between 1851 - 1861.  The majority of her legendary rescue missions ended in St. Catharines.

Harriet Tubman made her first trip to St. Catharines with eleven freedom seekers in December 1851. The Salem Chapel, British Methodist Episcopal (BME) Church  was her place of worship. Over the next decade, from St. Catharines and a few locations in the US, Harriet Tubman would return mostly to Dorchester and Caroline counties in the State of Maryland and either guide or give escape instructions to those held in bondage, including her immediate family members. 

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