Shining a Light on Harriet TubmanAuburn, NY – The third annual city-wide celebration of Harriet Tubman, the famous abolitionist and former Auburn resident, will return this year in a virtual format during the week of March 7-14, 2021. Celebrations of Tubman's life and legacy will be honored through social media channels for the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center and others, and visitation to the historic and cultural sites currently open is encouraged, as we invite the public to safely experience Harriet’s Auburn.

Sunday, March 7:

  • 4PM: Greg Artzner and Terry Leonino, of Magpie, will sing the seven songs created by Genesee Elementary School students about Harriet Tubman during their ‘Harriet Was Here’ song-writing residencies. Songs are featured in the Equal Rights Heritage Center “Seeing Equal Rights in NYS” song wall exhibit. Concert made possible by a grant from the Skaneateles Area Arts Council. Event by Genesee Elementary School and Harriet Tubman Boosters.

  • 1-5PM: Schweinfurth Art Center Both Ends of the Rainbow This annual exhibition embodies the servant-leader spirit of Harriet Tubman in bridging faith and hope through the work of local pre-K-12 students and artists 65 and older. Additionally, this year introduces a display of art by some of the schoolteachers. Free admission; reservations required. Museum also open Wednesday–Saturday 10am–5pm. 

Monday, March 8: International Women’s Day

  • 2PM: Equal Rights Heritage Center Virtual Tour Meet the women featured in the “Seeing Equal Rights in NYS” exhibit who embody this year’s Women’s History Month theme, "Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.”

  • 5PM: Danielle Ponder at Auburn Public Theater Revisit this amazing performance from musical powerhouse Danielle Ponder, as we look back at the opening event from Harriet Tubman Weekend 2020.

  • 7PM: The Agitators: A Virtual Evening with Author Dororthy Wickenden Dorothy Wickenden—author of Nothing Daunted and The NewThe Agitators Yorker executive editor—will discuss her latest work, The Agitators, with a panel conversation on the three Auburn, NY, women featured in her new book. Panelists include Harriet Tubman descendants and representatives from the Seward House Museum and Harriet Tubman National Historical Park. 

Tuesday, March 9:

  • 2PM: Harriet Tubman and Suffrage, Women's Rights National Historical Park Harriet Tubman is not often thought of as a suffragist, but she certainly was. Explore her suffrage connections in Auburn, New York, with Harriet Tubman National Historical Park’s Ranger Kim.

  • 7PM: The Cultural Landscape at Harriet Tubman National Historical Park John Auwaerter, author of Cultural Landscape Report, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, celebrates the Harriet Tubman landscape and its past, present, and future. 

Wednesday, March 10:  Harriet Tubman Day

  • Fort Hill Cemetery Pay respects to Harriet Tubman at Fort Hill Cemetery where she was laid to rest on March 10, 1913. Harriet Tubman Day was first recognized as an official American holiday in 1990, and in 2003 it became a legally observed holiday in New York State. The City of Auburn’s Mayor Quill issues an annual Proclamation for this day.

  • “Tubman on the Twenty” Harriet Tubman Day 2021 Purchase a special-edition print, hand-signed and numbered by local artist Blake Chamberlain. Only available at the Equal Rights Heritage Center until sold out; $20 each, cash or check, written out to the Auburn Downtown BID. Take a selfie with the original artwork on display in the ERHC open Wednesday–Saturday 10am to 4pm. All proceeds to benefit a local cause in the spirit of Harriet Tubman.

  • 7PM: Connections and Conversations – Harriet Tubman and Black Women’s Activism Harriet Tubman may be the most well-known African American woman who agitated for freedom and equality in the 19th century, but she was not alone. Discover how Tubman and black women in Boston became leaders in their communities. Come learn a few stories you may not know. Presenters: Kim Szewczyk, Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, and L’Merchie Frasier, the Museum of African American History. Event by Boston National Historical Park, Museum of African American History (Boston) and Nantucket and Boston African American National Historic Site. Free WebEx program:

Thursday, March 11:

  • 10AM-4PM: Willard Memorial Chapel Tour the “Tiffany Treasure of the Finger Lakes” to see a rare example of the work of Louis C. Tiffany and Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company of New York City. The Chapel was built and furnished in memory of Dr. Sylvester Willard and his wife, Mrs. Jane Frances Case Willard, by their daughters Miss Georgiana and Miss Caroline Willard. The adjoining Welch Memorial Building was once part of the Auburn Theological Seminary, and during WWII the campus was used for military training and veteran housing after the War. The Chapel’s history truly embraces the newly inducted Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame member’s, Harriet Tubman, devotion to freedom, faith, family and community. Open Thursday and Friday with tours beginning on the hour.

  • 12PM: Seward House Museum "Forged in Freedom: The Bond of the Seward-Tubman Families" Virtual Tour Join Seward House Museum staff on a virtual tour of the "Forged in Freedom" exhibit and the original kitchen of the house, which was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad during the mid-19th century. Also, see a sneak peak of some of the Seward's belongings that highlight their abolitionist leanings. The video will premiere on the SHM's Facebook page. Staff will be on hand to answer questions throughout the day in the comments section. Visit the Museum Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm with tours running at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. Pre-registration is required. 

  • 10AM-3PM Seymour Public Library Express Browsing The Library is open for express browsing Monday, Thursday, and Friday 10am-3pm, Tuesday and Wednesday 2-7pm, and Saturday 12-4pm. Browse the collections and find all your favorite or discover new titles celebrating Harriet Tubman and Women’s History and reserve a copy of Dorothy Wickenden’s The Agitators. Bonus Kids’ Activity: Read along at home, Seward House Museum: Fanny Seward Historical Fiction Chapter Two: Martha’s Visit, on Fanny’s meeting Martha Coffin Wright.

Friday, March 12:

  • 11AM-4PM: Cayuga Museum of History and Art and Case Research Lab The new exhibit at this 85-year-old institution titled The Memory Project reflects on how we serve our community as a space for your memory through a three-part exhibition series. Part 1: Processing the Past: Photography as Cultural Memory will immerse viewers in historic images of Auburn. Also on view, Twisted Threads of Gold and Steel: Dialect in Slave Narratives. This exhibit focuses on the ways that Harriet Tubman was memorialized in writing, and how the use of dialect in biographies of her and other slaves were used to stereotype freed slaves as ignorant and uneducated, perpetuating the racism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Digital exhibit. The Museum is open Wednesday-Saturday 11am-4pm; reservations required. Tour of Case Research Lab where sound on filmed was invented included.

  • 2PM: Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. C-SPAN Interview President and CEO of the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. Karen Hill gives a detailed view into the extraordinary life of Harriet Tubman with Douglas V. Armstrong, Syracuse University Professor for the Anthropology Department Doug Armstrong takes viewers on a tour of the iconic abolitionist’s two-story brick home in Auburn, NY, where Tubman housed more than a dozen people as part of the Underground Railroad.

  • 7PM: Harriet Tubman: Soldier of Freedom Maryland Department of Natural Resources Filmed on location on the Eastern Shore, the film briefly shares the dramatic, difficult story of Tubman’s life as an enslaved child and adult, her pursuit of freedom on the Underground Railroad, and her determination to end slavery and bring liberty and justice to others. The short film is a deeply moving introduction to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center exhibits and programs, highlighting all the things that were most meaningful and important to Tubman.

Saturday, March 13:

  • 2PM: Tubman Troupe original monologue #IAmEnough Revisit an original monologue by Tubman Troupe member, Melody Smith Johnson, written for the original play “A Gatherin’ Place.” Originally debuted as part of Auburn Public Theater’s “The Quarantine Sessions.”

  • 7PM: “Preachers of Sedition” John Rudy, park ranger at the National Park Service's Mather Training Center in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, will uncover the reasoning behind Central New York’s Underground Railroad hotbeds, from Syracuse through Auburn to Rochester.

Sunday, March 14:

  • 2PM: Boosting Harriet: A Live Conversation with Author Kate Clifford Larson In case you missed the Harriet Tubman Boosters’ live chat with esteemed Harriet Tubman biographer, Kate Clifford Larson, catch a replay of the conversation about Harriet Tubman's time in Auburn, NY.

  • Brave Women FLX Winter 100K Virtual Challenge Finish logging your Brave Women FLX Winter 100K Virtual Challenge, explore Brave Women sites for top trailblazers, or take in some retail therapy by supporting female-fronted businesses. Find all information and itineraries at Where Brave Women Winter.

March 2021: Harriet Tubman Statue contest

Visit the Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn, NY, take a selfie with the Harriet Tubman Statue in the courtyard, and post your selfie to social media with the hashtag #HarrietTubmanStatue for a chance to win a limited-edition “Tubman on the Twenty” print. Contest ends March 31, 2021.

The celebration aligns with the four-year anniversary of Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Maryland, making it a bookend commemoration between Tubman’s birth and resting places. Plans are underway to return next year with a full-scale celebration March 10 – 15, 2022, in celebration of Tubman’s speculated bicentennial birthdate. Additional programming will take place during July – August 2022, as the Equal Rights Heritage Center brings the traveling Wesley Wofford “Journey to Freedom” Harriet Tubman sculpture to Auburn, New York.

Equal Rights Heritage Center

The Equal Rights Heritage Center is the official welcome center and tourism hub for the City of Auburn, NY. It serves to shine a light on New York’s equal rights heritage, as well as the historical, cultural, and entertainment assets the City of Auburn has to offer in a welcoming and educational manner. Learn more:




Courtney Kasper
Visitor Experience Manager
Equal Rights Heritage Center