Fake tribute to Harriet Tubman?
But it might not be in a way Tubman would have recognized. The state so far has snubbed a proposal to honor the most popular Underground Railroad conductor by revamping a Niagara Falls street near where she moved escaped slaves to freedom.
Meanwhile, state officials have begun to embrace a $250,000 plan downriver in Lewiston to create a life-size bronze sculpture that would depict Tubman with Josiah Tryon, Lewiston's station master on the Underground Railroad, helping a slave family step from a rowboat to freedom in Canada.
"This would be the first freedom crossing monument on the border with Canada," said Lee Simonson, of the Historical Association of Lewiston.
A fine idea but for one thing, supporters of the Falls plan say: There's no proof Tubman ever helped Tryon send any slave to freedom from Lewiston.
[HNN: Two days after this news story a local columnist, Rod Watson, blasted the proposal as fake history:
If the folks in Niagara County are smart, they'll learn from Buffalo's experience: Fake history doesn't sell.
And selling is what the effort to capitalize on Underground Railroad icon Harriet Tubman is all about.
That's what makes Lewiston's bid to hijack Tubman's legacy more than just another historical falsehood. It's also about the bottom line: Who will benefit from efforts to create attractions that get Falls tourists to spend more time and money on the U.S. side?
Hence the $250,000 plan for a life-size sculpture of Tubman.
There's just one problem: It's in Lewiston, where Tubman never led escaped slaves across the Niagara River to Canada, but which now wants to claim her.
comments powered by Disqus
- How Americans Feel About Religious Groups
- Tea Party support linked to educational segregation, new study shows
- History of Philly Rests Under I-95
- Agreement aims to protect North Shore wrecks from looters
- Award-Winning Filmmaker Kevin McCann to Produce the First Film about the Easter Rising in Ireland
- In new book UC Berkeley historian Waldo E. Martin, Jr. takes Black Panther Party's point of view
- Economics historian finds that real social mobility takes hundreds of years
- Historian Tim Furnish says liberals shouldn't be astonished that ISIS is stoning women to death -- "in many Muslim countries ... large majorities ... favor stoning"
- Historian turns baker?
- Timothy Garton Ash remembers an appearance by Putin at a conference in 1994 that's eye-opening