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Harriet Tubman bicentennial tours start this weekend at Blackbird State Forest

State of Delaware

Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna will host “Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Underground Railroad Experience Walking Tours” this weekend.

Delaware’s Urban and Community Forestry Program is sponsoring the tours this Sunday, March 20, 2022 and again on Saturday April, 2, 2022 at 2 p.m. at Blackbird State Forest in Smyrna.

“The goal is to pay tribute to the inspirational life of Harriet Tubman and also celebrate her unique connection to Blackbird State Forest," said John Petersen - the community relations officer at the Delaware Forest Service. "This year marks the bicentennial of her birth in 1822 in nearby Maryland. And we’re planning a whole series of year-long events - hopefully to celebrate the occasion.”

Petersen notes Harriet Tubman mentioned a place called “Blackbird” as one of her landmarks as she traveled through Delaware, but it’s unclear exactly where that was on her Underground Railroad path.

He says it’s possible it referred to one of three free Black communities in the area at that time.

Petersen adds that the tours are 2 mile hikes intended for adults and children over 12. Acclaimed storyteller and historian Dee Patterson will serve as the interpretive guide offering a realistic discussion of slavery along with Tubman’s life and work.

He says this weekend's tour is full. But you can still register for the April event.

Petersen notes that Blackbird State Forest is part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Historic Byway; you can get more information about that by clicking here.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.