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Place Category: Memorial & Statue
At the park named in their honor, stands a nine-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett, prominent figures at the Underground Railroad. Tubman was a former slave who led hundreds of slaves to their freedom, and Garrett was an abolitionist who turned his house into a stop at the Underground Railroad, providing shelter, money, and moral support to more than 2,700 slaves on the run.
The statue is located close to Garrett’s house and across the bridge, which hundreds of slaves crossed to get into Wilmington – the city which was known as “the last stop before freedom.”
Dedicated on October 3rd, 2012, it is titled “Unwavering Courage in the Pursuit of Freedom,” created by Mario Chiodo. It depicts Tubman and Garrett leading the escaping slaves along the Underground Railroad.
The artist’s words about the statue:
“The dramatic, dangerous and bold actions taken by Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett during the 8 years they participated as members of the Underground Railroad should be recognized with sculpture of equal intensity. The overall design of my sculpture includes circles radiating out from the center of the piece, creating interest on all sides but anchoring the story with the strength of the central figure, Tubman.
Harriet Tubman, the petite woman whose ingenuity out-foxed many slaveholders and bounty hunters, is depicted on a bluff leading the way for slaves escaping to the North, traveling in the wintery cold of night, following the North star. She is carrying an infant, and knowing which herbs to use, Tubman would give small children a tonic to keep them quiet so as to not reveal their position to hunters.
Tubman is armed and determined; her fearlessness fueled by the Divine guidance she received. Her face and posture reveal her confidence and courage, and her deeper understanding that slavery was wrong. She was prepared to fight for her life and the others, and had a credo, Death or Liberty, stating that no one would take her back to the South alive.
“Unwavering Courage in the Pursuit of Freedom” tells one chapter of the dangerous and emotional story of the Underground Railroad, revealing the roles each character played, and pays homage to the efforts of blacks and whites working together to end the injustice of slavery. The sculpture is a tribute to their fortitude, bravery and righteousness.”
Address: Tubman, Garrett Riverfront Park, Wilmington, DE 19801
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Photo credit - courtesy of sculptor Mario Chiodo