CAMBRIDGE – The Fourth Annual Day of Resilience on Sept. 10 will feature a significant highlight – the dedication of the “Beacon of Hope,” a 13-foot bronze sculpture honoring Harriet Tubman in conjunction with the bicentennial of her birth. The event will also include commemorations; round-table discussions on current events and issues; a Harriet Tubman reenactor; song, dance and poetry performances; Underground Railroad Byway tours; and presentations from renowned historians, as well as Tubman’s descendants.
“This historic event is especially noteworthy because Governor Larry Hogan has proclaimed 2022 ‘The Year of Harriet Tubman,’ and our weekend of programming and activities will serve to support and elevate awareness of her legacy and promote greater appreciation of the significant role that she played in Dorchester and U.S. history,” said Adrian Holmes, director of Alpha Genesis Community Development Corporation. “It is especially fitting that the heart of the Day of Resilience this year will be the unveiling of the new, permanent sculpture at the Dorchester County Courthouse honoring one of our own – Harriet Tubman.”
The Day of Resilience commemoration and unveiling ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will begin at noon Sept. 10 on the Dorchester County Courthouse lawn and will feature keynote speaker Samuel C. Still III, a descendant of the famous Civil War abolitionist William Still, who was proclaimed “The Father of the Underground Railroad” in his obituary in 1902. Still is credited with helping more than 800 freedom seekers escape slavery.
The new sculpture will be at the location of Tubman’s first rescue – of her niece Kessiah Bowley – and historian Edduard Prince, who is a descendant of Bowley, also will be speaking during the program. Other featured presenters include historian Vince Legette, founder and president of the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation, whose research and work have focused on the Underground Railroad and on the significant contributions of Black watermen to the maritime and seafood-related industries of the Chesapeake Bay, and sculptor Wesley Wofford, who will discuss his work on the sculpture, which is rich in symbolism that specifically reflects Tubman’s connection to Dorchester County.
The public also is invited to participate in related events that are scheduled throughout the weekend of Sept. 9-11, including:
For more information about the schedule for the Day of Resilience and the weekend events and for tickets, visit the Alpha Genesis website at alphagenesiscdc.org/day-of-resilience-2022.
The Day of Resilience was first held in 2019 in Cambridge to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. That event received gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional citations and received the Outstanding Heritage Project Award from the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. The event has grown every year since then, and in 2020, the observance was highlighted by the unveiling of a traveling sculpture of Harriet Tubman.
Motivated by the community response to the traveling sculpture, Alpha Genesis led the grassroots drive that raised $250,000 to have the permanent Harriet Tubman statue created specifically for Dorchester County. The unveiling celebration marks the culmination of two years of community grassroots fundraising and activities to create and install the permanent sculpture.