Freedom Center to unveil bronze Harriet Tubman statue

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will host a new 11-foot-tall statue of Harriet Tubman outside its downtown Cincinnati facility as part of its ongoing showcase of the iconic freedom fighter.

The work by Wofford Sculpture Studio will be on display in Cincinnati for a limited time, beginning with a formal unveiling of The Beacon of Hope statue on March 4. A timeline isn’t yet available.

A goal of the towering bronze statue is to amplify Tubman’s message of equality. As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Tubman – a former slave herself – guided 70 enslaved people to freedom, never losing a passenger and served as a “beacon of hope” for others.

A portion of The Beacon of Hope statue.

At Tubman’s feet are the yoke of slavery and the shackles she fought to cast off herself and others she helped liberate, as well as closed shackles representing those not yet free. Tubman’s hand is in a raised position to serve as a North Star of sorts for those still seeking freedom.

As a programming component to the unveiling, the Freedom Center is hosting Karen Hill – president and CEO of the Harriet Tubman Home – to discuss the lesser-known history of Tubman through a combination of storytelling and myth-busting.

Hill will speak to a sold-out theater of students and educators at the Freedom Center. However, seats are still available for a presentation open to the public at 6 p.m. on March 6.

Bronze statue, gold coins

The showcasing of the Beacon of Hope statue is the latest effort by the Freedom Center to remind the public of Tubman’s legacy. Over the last few years, the museum has worked with the Harriet Tubman Home and the United State Mint on the creation of the Harriet Tubman Commemorative Coin collection. The collectible coins are available in three denominations, each representing a different era of Tubman’s life.

The statue display is one of several programs and initiatives meant to educate people about Tubman’s enduring legacy and to help promote the sale of the coins.

A portion of the proceeds from each coin equally support the missions of the Freedom Center and the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, N.Y.

Coins are available for purchase at the Freedom Center or through the U.S. Mint.

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