Tubman sculpture model is unveiled

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Photo above: Tabernacle Baptist Church in Beaufort is currently raising $500,000 in funds from the private sector to complete the planned Harriet Tubman Monument, a model of which is shown here. Photo provided.

Staff reports

A model of a monument honoring abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman was unveiled on Oct. 17 at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Beaufort.

In June 2016, Tabernacle Baptist Church announced plans to erect a monument to honor Tubman for her services rendered in Beaufort County during the Civil War and for her leadership in the Combahee River Raid.

Tubman came to Beaufort in the spring of 1862 to help alleviate the suffering of the nearly 10,000 slaves abruptly freed after the Union forces occupied Beaufort in November 1861. 

In Beaufort, Harriet Tubman served the Union army in many capacities. She was a scout, spy and nurse and assisted in the recruitment of black soldiers. Tubman also ran an “eating house” and established a “wash house” where she taught newly freed women to become self-sufficient by washing, sewing and baking for the Union soldiers.

Tubman helped plan and lead the June 2, 1863, raid along the Combahee River that freed more than 700 slaves. Historians consider her the first woman in the Civil War to help design and execute such a military exercise.

“It is my design objective to present a serious, dignified memorial experience that captures the essence of the woman, Harriet Tubman; the inner strength and quiet power of this small, relatively uneducated ex-slave,” said sculptor Ed Dwight.

“It is critical that the memorial be substantial, traditional, inspirational and permanent. With these objectives in mind, I have created an over-life size sculpture of the great Harriet Tubman affixed atop a trapezoidal shape bronze pedestal element.”

Two “wing like” bronze sculpture elements are attached to both sides of the pedestal. On each element are scenes depicting groups of slaves rushing headlong toward the central core element, soldiers and gun boats, towards their escape and refuge.  Men, women and children are depicted in various states of dress and carrying a variety of belongings.

The monument will sit next to the 153-year old church on Craven Street in downtown Beaufort.  

Historians believe that Harriet Tubman and the newly freed slaves assembled at Tabernacle after the Combahee Raid. The gravesite and bust of escaped slave, military man and politician Robert Smalls is also on the Tabernacle Baptist Church campus.

Tabernacle is currently raising funds from the private sector to complete the $500,000 project.

The church is located at 911 Craven St. downtown Beaufort.

For more information, visit harriettubmanmonument.com, call 843-525-9006 or 843-524-0376, or email lybensons@aol.com.