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Celebrate Black History Month

By: Dawn Lubaszewski

Black History Month, celebrated every February in the United States, is the perfect time to learn about the achievements and history of African Americans.  You can celebrate Black History not only in February but all year long in Cayuga County. This area is rich in history, making it the perfect setting to honor the legacy of the African American community.

1) Visit the historic William H. Seward House (served as Secretary of State under President Lincoln), in Auburn. Seward and his wife Frances were deeply committed to the abolitionist movement and their home was a used as a safe house on the underground railroad. Visit the Forged in Freedom Exhibit and learn about Harriet Tubman’s relationship with the Seward Family. Unfortunately, the home is closed to tours until March, but you can still visit and walk the grounds. Museum reopens March 1.

2) Visit the Cayuga County Historian’s Office, a wealth of information on the Underground Railroad and other local history.

3) Take a self-guided walking tour of Fort Hill Cemetery, making a stop at Harriet Tubman’s gravesite and paying homage to this great leader of the Underground Railroad.

4) Visit the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn and learn how Tubman led so many enslaved people to freedom with the Underground Railroad.

6) Stop in the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center located at 25 South Street. The center features a state-of-the-arts exhibition titled “Seeing Equal Rights in NYS”. Learn about the New Yorkers who fought for the abolition of slavery. Don’t forget to stop by the courtyard and pose for a picture with the bronze statue depicting Harriet Tubman.

7) Experience Harriet Tubman’s Lantern Trail. This trail is an immersive outdoor exhibit that highlights historical moments throughout the city of Auburn. Look for QR codes at each lantern stop-scan the code an learn the history of the area.

While you are in town stop by and support one of these Black owned businesses.

Celebrate Black History all year long: 2022 marks the 200th Celebration on Harriet Tubman’s Birthday and The New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center and the City of Auburn Historic and Cultural Sites Commission and partners are planning celebrations to commemorate this historic birthday. This seven-month celebration will begin March 10 with Harriet Tubman Day, and continue throughout International Underground Railroad Month in September 2022, with programming focused on uncovering Tubman’s inspirational life and legacy.

The New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center and Harriet Tubman National Historical Park are pleased to be hosting events to celebrate Black History Month (note: some of these events will be held virtually). Below as just a few of the confirmed events planned for February.

February 4th – 7pm – Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad.

February 11th – 7pm -“We took to ourselves liberty”: The Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life, Oneida County and Beyond.

February 18th – 7pm – A panel discussion focused on African American Archeology and Landscapes within a number of National Park Service sites.

February 25th – 7pm – Equity in the Built Environment: National Park Service.

Hope to see you all soon in Harriet Tubman’s Chosen Hometown!