Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom Programs and Events

From April 1st through June 30th, the Harriet Tubman – Journey to Freedom sculpture by Wesley Wofford will be on display in Renaissance Plaza in downtown White Plains. In conjunction with this historic visit by the sculpture, the Library and many other community partners are organizing events related to Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad, and more, throughout April, May, and June.

Below, you will find a listing of the Library’s events in conjunction with the statue’s visit to White Plains. Get the Zoom link for each virtual program by clicking on that program’s date and time.

Find the full listing of the community-wide programs and events here.

Note: All of our youth-focused virtual programs require a registered Zoom account to attend. Sign up for a free Zoom account here: http://zoom.us/signup.

Also, be sure to check out some recommended books, eBooks, films, and resources related to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.

June

StoryWalk: Opal Lee and What it Means to be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan & Keturah A. Bobo
On the Library Plaza, June 1st – June 30th
Take a walk outside on the Library Plaza and learn about the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” Opal Lee a retired teacher, counselor and activist who helped to make Juneteenth a Federally recognized holiday in 2021. Find a copy of the book for yourself to read at home from the Library’s Catalog or as an eBook from Libby. A related PreK-Grade 3 Grab & Go Activity Kit featuring a pie craft project will be available, while supplies last, starting June 1st in the Library’s Lobby.

The Roots of Black Music in America
Wednesday, June 1st, 7:00 p.m. (virtual)
Children, Teens, Families, Adults
Music is a language that students of any age can understand and appreciate. It connects us, elevates our awareness, and deepens our learning beyond reading the words of a textbook. Audiences will sing, dance, use percussion, and practice call and response as they journey back in time to learn about and experience the music of the most influential Black musicians in American history. Join musician, producer, arts educator, and NYC performer Karlus Trapp in this one-of-a-kind musical and educational experience you won’t soon forget!
The Underground Railroad: Stories and Craft
Thursday, June 9th, 4:00 p.m. (Library Plaza, Rain Location: Library Auditorium)
Grades K-3
Youth in grades K-3 will hear the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winning book, Underground: Finding the Light to Freedom by Shane W. Evans, along with other stories and poetry related to the Underground Railroad. Then, they will work on a Harriet Tubman craft project together. Find a copy of the book for yourself to read at home from the Library’s Catalog or as an eBook from Libby.
COUNTDOWN TO ETERNITY: MLK Photo Exhibit
On display in the Library's Museum Gallery June 13th–June 24th.
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 16th, 7:00 p.m.
COUNTDOWN TO ETERNITY is a photographic tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. documenting the last year of Dr. King’s life. The photographer, Benedict J. Fernandez has captured some of the most iconic images of the 1960’s and beyond. A distinguished educator, in the 1970’s he established the Photography Departments at the New School and Parsons School of Design and created the Leica Medal of Excellence. He also received numerous awards including Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships and has published a number of books.

The COUNTDOWN TO ETERNITY exhibit has traveled around the world including Europe, Moscow, and 27 countries in Africa and is in the collection of the Smithsonian, The Museum of the City of New York and has been shown in Universities and Galleries around the country. While photographing a civil rights march in Central Park in 1967, Benedict met Dr. Martin Luther King and eventually became the only photographer allowed to photograph King at home, capturing intimate moments with his wife and children.

Past Events:

StoryWalk: Before She Was Harriet: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome
On the Library Plaza, April 1st – April 29th
Take a walk around the Library Plaza and read about the life of Harriet Tubman in this gorgeous book which received a Coretta Scott King Award Honor for its illustrations. Find a copy of the book for yourself to read at home from the Library’s Catalog, or as an eBook from Libby or hoopla. A related PreK-Grade 3 Grab & Go Activity Kit featuring a lantern craft project will be available, while supplies last, starting April 1st in the Library’s Lobby.

Harriet Tubman, Herself
Tuesday, April 5th, 7:00 p.m. (virtual)
Grades 1+, Teens, Adults
More information here.

An entertaining and educational one-woman show based on the life and times of Harriet Tubman. Harriet’s harrowing and dangerous life unfolds as she tells the moving story of how she brought hundreds of slaves – and her own family – to freedom during the Civil War. Actress Christine Dixon tells the story of Tubman’s life in this dramatic one-woman performance. The story was originally adapted and directed by Morna Murphy Martell from the 1868 book by Sarah Bradford, Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman. The show includes original and reinterpreted music from period spirituals.
Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero
Thursday, April 14th, 7:00 p.m. (virtual)
Adults
Drawing from a trove of new primary documents and untapped sources as well extensive genealogical research, Kate Clifford Larson reveals Tubman as a complex woman— brilliant, shrewd, deeply religious, and passionate in her pursuit of freedom. The descendant of the vibrant, matrilineal Asanti people of the West African Gold Coast, Tubman was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland but refused to spend her life in bondage. While still a young woman she embarked on a perilous journey of self-liberation—and then, having won her own freedom, she returned again and again to liberate much beloved family and friends, tapping into the Underground Railroad.
Book Bunch: The Underground Abductor: An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman
Wednesday, April 27th, 4:30 p.m. (virtual)
Grades 4-6
Youth in grades 4-6 are invited to take part in a book discussion of The Underground Abductor: An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman, an exciting entry in Nathan Hale’s “Hazardous Tales” graphic novel series. The first ten registrants will receive a free copy of the book to keep. Register here starting March 9th. Copies are also available in the Library’s Catalog and as eBooks from Libby and hoopla.

May

StoryWalk: Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
On the Library Plaza, May 2nd – May 31st
Stroll around the Library Plaza and read this beautiful and inspiring story about how those fleeing slavery used the Drinking Gourd (the Big Dipper) to help navigate their way North to freedom. Find a copy of the book for yourself to read at home from the Library’s Catalog or as an eBook from Libby. A related PreK-Grade 3 Grab & Go Activity Kit featuring a river craft project will be available, while supplies last, starting May 2nd in the Library’s Lobby.

The Maritime Underground Railroad
Tuesday, May 3rd, 7:00 p.m. (virtual)
Adults
Historian David Cecelski has chronicled the world of slave and free black fishermen, pilots, rivermen, sailors, ferrymen, and other laborers who, from the colonial era through Reconstruction, plied the vast inland waters of North Carolina from the Outer Banks to the upper reaches of tidewater rivers. Demonstrating the vitality and significance of this local African American maritime culture, David will also reveal its connections to the Afro-Caribbean, the relatively egalitarian work culture of seafaring men who visited nearby ports, and the revolutionary political tides that coursed throughout the black Atlantic.
Harriet Tubman: Union Scout, Spy and Freedom Fighter
Tuesday, May 10th, 7:00 p.m. (virtual)
Adults
Well known for her Underground Railroad activities leading enslaved people to Freedom, Tubman also served as a valuable scout, spy and fighter for the Union Army. Cultural historian John Vorperian will discuss the rarely shared stories of Tubman's successful military exploits in disrupting Confederate outposts and supply lines during the Civil War.
Navigating by the Stars
Tuesday, May 17th, 6:00 p.m. (virtual)
Grades 4+, Teens, Families
Have you ever wondered how ancient people told time? Or traveled from point A to point B without a smartphone or compass? How slaves made it over the Underground Railroad to freedom? How sailors used to travel to far away countries over the seven seas? Learn about Nathaniel Bowditch, the father of modern navigation and how he taught illiterate men to calculate from and follow the stars. Learn which constellations matter most in the northern and southern hemispheres. Participants will also be able to pick up a star map at the Library in the Trove (or download and print it here) and learn how to participate in orienteering and other activities in your own neighborhood.
Grab & Go Kit (Grades 4+): Big Dipper Embroidery Kit
Available while supplies last starting Monday, May 16th in the Library Lobby.
Follow along with a creativebug video tutorial and learn how to embroider a constellation. The kit includes an embroidery hoop and needle, fabric, and metallic thread to create a thread portrait of the Big Dipper constellation.
Grab & Go Kit (Grades 7-12): Harriet Tubman and the Drinking Gourd STEAM Activity
Available while supplies last starting Monday, May 16th in the Library Lobby.
Using conductive copper tape and LED bulbs to create an electrical circuit, youth will light up the North Star and the Big Dipper to help Harriet Tubman’s way on the Underground Railroad.
Book Bunch + Author Visit: Eliza’s Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diary
Wednesday, May 25th, 4:30 p.m. (virtual)
Grades 4-6
Youth in grades 4-6 are invited to take part in a book discussion with author Jerdine Nolen to discuss her book, Eliza’s Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diary. The first ten registrants will receive a free copy of the book to keep. Register here starting April 6th. Copies are also available in the Library’s Catalog and as eBooks from Libby or hoopla.

These programs are made possible with support from the White Plains Library Foundation.

Categories: Library News.

Comments

  1. Sandra Lesibu

    As an African American Educator, I am very impressed with the comprehensive educational activities/events, that are planned to celebrate and recognize the Herion Harriet Tubman. Tubman is well known as the Abolishnist who who led Slaves from the South to their freedom using the ‘Underground Railroad’. I hope that all public and private schools will incorporate developmentally appropriate American History, into the school curriculum (Pre-K-16).

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