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The midnight sky. . .

I have located 8 solo statues of Harriet Tubman: 6 with her standing and 2 with her seated. She appears in 7 group monuments: 3 with a child, 4 with one or more adults. The sculptors' visions vary from representing a fierce to a placid Tubman. Of the sculptors—10 are white men, 1 a Black man, 3 a Black women, and 1 a white women.

(In 2022, a reproduction of a statue of Harriet Tubman that was unveiled in 2018 in Auburn, New York, was installed at the CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia. Referring to Tubman’s work as a scout and spy during the Civil War, Robert Beyer, director of the CIA’s museum, said, “Tubman operated with ingenuity, stealth, courage and selflessness. These are all traits we want our officers to embody.”)

The quote is a wonderfully evocative beginning for the text on the nearby marker that reads:

"The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witness of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism," wrote fellow abolitionist and Eastern Shore native Frederick Douglass of Harriet Tubman. A Civil War nurse, scout, spy, military strategist, and early women's suffragist, the "Moses of her people" freed hundreds of slaves via the Underground Railroad.'

With the support of the Salisbury University community, sculptor James Hill and his students realized this work in 2009 with the hope that her story will continue to inspire courage and action in the pursuit of human rights."

Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland, is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Harriet Tubman’s home territory. Images below: the saw-whet owl is on Harriet Tubman's shoulder. The rabbit is by her right foot. According to James Hill, the owl and rabbit symbolize two aspects of Tubman. One is a freedom fighter--the wide-eyed owl seeking slaves to liberate. Hill’s rabbit is alert, just as Tubman was ever alert. (Photos by Renée Ater).

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