A museum honoring the life of abolitionist and trailblazer Harriet Tubman is slated to open next year in New Jersey, according to ABC News.
The Harriet Tubman Museum will open its doors to guests in June 2020. The exhibit will stand next to the historic Macedonia Baptist Church in Cape May, a town where the abolitionist earned cash as a cook and hotel worker, historical archives reveal.
So far, the community has raised $160,000 of the $500,000 needed to launch the museum, and significant progress has already been made.
City Councilman Zack Mullock, who’s overseeing the building’s construction, said most of the funds have gone toward materials for the new gallery. The labor of love was made possible throughs donations from local institutions and community members, including Mullock’s family. Bob Mullock, Zack’s father is the brains behind the new Tubman museum.
“This isn’t just about reporting history,” the elder Mullock told Philadelphia Inquirer. “This is an opportunity to make history. It’s a chance to unite as a town and say, ‘This is important, and we can accomplish this together.’ It’s a barn-raising.”
The family said it has also been in contact with the makers of the new film “Harriet,” which chronicles the life and legacy of the former slave, to have the movie played at the museum’s grand opening June 19, 2020, also known as Juneteenth. The holiday commemorates the day enslaved Blacks in Texas received word they had been emancipated.
The opening also marks what would’ve been Tubman’s 200th birthday.
Officials say the museum will feature a plethora of artwork, including a collection of modern pieces from the late Rev. Robert Davis, longtime pastor of Macedonia Baptist, ABC News reported. Unique items from the Underground Railroad, through which Tubman helped hundreds of the enslaved get to freedom, will be featured as well.
Eugene Dempsey, a retired technician and Air Force vet who’s lived in Cape May for more than 60 years called Tubman’s legacy “unbelievable.”
“There’s so much black history,” Dempsey told the outlet. “There’s just the history of the background of Harriet Tubman. What she did was amazing … what she did as a woman … it’s just a wonderful thing.”
In addition to her work as an abolitionist, Tubman (born Araminta Ross) also served as a spy during the Civil War. After escaping to her freedom in 1849, she worked to free other enslaved Blacks, returning to the South over a dozen times to retrieve them.