The Rev. Kenneth Hodges, right, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, makes his remarks during the laying of a wreath and flowers Thursday, March 10 at the future site of the Harriet Tubman sculpture on church grounds in downtown Beaufort. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

A hero gets her flowers 


 Commemorating Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday 

 By Mike McCombs 

About 30 people attended a wreath-laying ceremony to honor Harriet Tubman on Thursday, March 10 — Harriet Tubman Day — while passers by left single flowers throughout the day at the future site of the Harriet Tubman sculpture on the Tabernacle Baptist Church grounds in downtown Beaufort. 

The Rev. Kenneth Hodges, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, made remarks and presided over the event held in honor of Tubman, an enslaved person, who lived in Beaufort for two years during the Civil War. 

As an advisor to Col. James Montgomery, Tubman helped organize and lead an armed assault on a number of plantations on the Combahee River. 

The Combahee River Raid, as it came to be known, was successful, destroying infrastructure, confiscating thousands of dollars worth of food and supplies and freeing more than 750 slaves.

The bronze statue of Tubman, to be built by sculpturer Ed Dwight, will cost about $500,000. Construction should start in about a year.

The celebration of Harriet Tubman Day this year was said to commemorate her 200th birthday, but in reality, as is the case for many enslaved people, the actual date and year of Tubman’s birth are far from a certainty.

There are historical documents that indicate she was born in 1822, but the same can be said for 1820, which is also on her gravestone. Tubman herself cited 1825 as her birth year, while her death certificate lists 1815.

The date of March 10, however, does carry some significance. It’s the date she died of pneumonia in 1913 in Auburn, N.Y.

Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

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