Har­riet Tub­man paint­ing un­veiled in Cam­bridge

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com Fol­low Caro­line/Dorch­ester Edi­tor Dustin Holt on Twit­ter @Dustin_S­tarDem.

— The Har­riet Tub­man Mu­seum and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter in Cam­bridge un­veiled Satur­day, Feb. 18, a Har­riet Tub­man oil paint­ing by Cam­bridge artist Ge­orge Wright.

The 24-by-36-inch paint­ing was com­mis­sioned by Cam­bridge na­tive Thomas Hard­ing in honor of the grand open­ing of the Har­riet Tub­man Under­ground Rail­road State Park and Vis­i­tor Cen­ter near Black­wa­ter Na­tional Wildlife Refuge in March.

— The Har­riet Tub­man Mu­seum and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter in Cam­bridge un­veiled Satur­day, Feb. 18, a Har­riet Tub­man oil paint­ing by Cam­bridge artist Ge­orge Wright.

The 24-by-36-inch paint­ing was com­mis­sioned by Cam­bridge na­tive Thomas Hard­ing in honor of the grand open­ing of the Har­riet Tub­man Under­ground Rail­road State Park and Vis­i­tor Cen­ter near Black­wa­ter Na­tional Wildlife Refuge in March.

Tub­man was born in Dorch­ester County and lived here as a slave un­til she was nearly 30 years old. She es­caped slav­ery in 1849, yet risked her life to re­turn to the Eastern Shore many times to help oth­ers in their jour­ney to free­dom. She helped about 70 slaves es­cape and led them north. Some went as far north as Canada.

Wright has over­come hered­i­tary palsy to cre­ate highly de­tailed paint­ings. He has done nu­mer­ous com­mis­sioned por­traits of in­di­vid­u­als such as former Mary­land Gov. Marvin Man­del, cor­po­rate lead­ers, civic lead­ers and sports fig­ures.

“I was hon­ored to paint a por­trait of such a coura­geous and self­less wo­man who was born right here in Dorch­ester County,” Wright said. “De­spite hav­ing just about ev­ery­thing against her, she showed what a dif­fer­ence one per­son can make. It’s a mes­sage that’s still true to­day.”

Wright was not able to at­tend Satur­day’s pub­lic un­veil­ing at Har­riet Tub­man Mu­seum due to an ill­ness.

Har­riet Tub­man Or­ga­ni­za­tion Pres­i­dent Don­ald Pin­der said he was hon­ored to be able to un­veil Wright’s paint­ing at the mu­seum.

“Ge­orge cre­ated an out­stand­ing paint­ing,” Pin­der said. “It gives ev­ery­one a phys­i­cal aware­ness of Har­riet Tub­man’s sta­tus. When you talk about a per­son, and you don’t know them or have not seen them, it is al­most in­com­plete. Hav­ing a por­trait speaks very highly of all the things she has down for Dorch­ester County and this coun­try for so­cial freedoms.

“She is a great hu­man­i­tar­ian that did some­thing to im­prove so­ci­ety that we have to­day. The por­trait is also for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions, be­cause when some­one sees or reads about a per­son that has done some­thing so great, it is has a long-last­ing ef­fect. Plus, it puts them in a sit­u­a­tion where, maybe one day, they’ll be like Har­riet Tub­man. She is our hero in Dorch­ester County.”

The im­age used as a ref­er­ence for the paint­ing is back and white, but Wright painted it in color.

Hard­ing said the idea to com­mis­sion the paint­ing came about as a way to cel­e­brate the open­ing of the state park. He said the paint­ing will be on loan at the Har­riet Tub­man Under­ground Rail­road Vis­i­tor Cen­ter in Church Creek, and the mu­seum and Cam­bridge also will have their own full-scale print.

“Ge­orge did a magnificent job,” Hard­ing said. “We felt it was ex­traor­di­nary im­por­tant to un­veil it here in Cam­bridge at the Har­riet Tub­man Mu­seum and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter be­cause of the great work done here by the mu­seum. The mu­seum car­ried the Har­riet Tub­man torch for a long time.

“I just want to thank the mu­seum for ev­ery­thing they have done for Har­riet Tub­man’s legacy, the city of Cam­bridge and Dorch­ester County. This is where it all started.”

The Har­riet Tub­man Under­ground Rail­road State Park and Vis­i­tor Cen­ter will open to the pub­lic March 11. The state park and vis­i­tor cen­ter is lo­cated at 4068 Golden Hill Road in Church Creek near Black­wa­ter Na­tional Wildlife Refuge.

The state park is about 17 acres and fea­tures a 10,000-square foot Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­ment De­sign Sil­ver rated vis­i­tor cen­ter, legacy gar­den and an open-air pav­il­ion with a stone fire­place. The vis­i­tor cen­ter houses the ex­hibit hall, gift shop, in­for­ma­tion desk, re­search li­brary and re­strooms.

Sen. Ad­die Eckardt, R37-Mid-Shore, at­tended Satur­day’s un­veil­ing cer­e­mony and said Dorch­ester County has a rich, deep his­tory around Har­riet Tub­man, the Under­ground Rail­road and the Pine Street com­mu­nity in Cam­bridge, which Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford vis­ited on Feb. 11.

“This is a great op­por­tu­nity for the com­mu­nity to come to­gether and share the ex­pe­ri­ences from Har­riet Tub­man to Pine Street (“50 Years Af­ter the Fire: A Com­mem­o­ra­tion of Our His­tory,”) and all the way to to­day,” Eckardt said. “They are ways to pro­mote heal­ing and recog­ni­tion of the deep sig­nif­i­cance of all that has gone on be­fore us, in our own pasts and to­day.”

Gi­clée prints of the paint­ing will be avail­able for pur­chase at the Har­riet Tub­man Mu­seum and at Down­town Frame of Mine, which fea­tures many of Wright’s works.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Har­riet Tub­man Mu­seum and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter, call 410-228-7977.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Har­riet Tub­man Under­ground Rail­road State Park and Vis­i­tor Cen­ter in Dorch­ester County, visit http://dnr2.mary­land. gov/pub­li­clands/pages/ eastern/tub man.aspx.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

The Har­riet Tub­man Mu­seum and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter in Cam­bridge un­veils a Har­riet Tub­man paint­ing by Cam­bridge artist Ge­orge Wright at a cer­e­mony Satur­day. From left, Thomas Hard­ing, who com­mis­sioned the paint­ing; Har­riet Tub­man Or­ga­ni­za­tion Pres­i­dent Don­ald Pin­der; Sen. Ad­die Eckardt, R-37-Mid-Shore; Har­riet Tub­man Or­ga­ni­za­tion board of directors mem­ber Wil­liam Jar­mon; and Down­town Frame of Mine owner Doug Turner. Wright was un­able to make the cer­e­mony due to an ill­ness.

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