Tubman legacy to be lauded at Day of Resilience 2020

“Harriet Tubman, Journey to Freedom,” a bronze sculpture and traveling exhibit by Wesley Wofford, was unveiled in Cambridge on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020.

CAMBRIDGE — Day of Resilience 2020 will feature the unveiling of a bronze sculpture of Harriet Tubman by Emmy and Academy award-winner Wesley Wofford. The event will begin at noon Saturday, Sept. 12.

The Day of Resilience is being organized by Alpha Genesis, CDC, with support from the Constituency for Africa, Dorchester County and the City of Cambridge.

Several events will be held on the Dorchester County Courthouse green on High Street from noon to 1:30 p.m., followed by the CFA Town Hall on Africa from 3 to 5 p.m. The courthouse program will be streamed live for home viewing.

The Day of Resilience will close with a jazz concert from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Harriet Tubman mural in Cannery Way, featuring Washington, D.C., jazz artist Linda Harris.

The highlight of the event will be the unveiling of a 9-foot, 2,400-pound bronze sculpture titled “Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom,” by internationally recognized artist Wesley Wofford.

The sculpture depicts Tubman confidently leading a slave girl on the Underground Railroad to freedom. It will be a temporary outdoor exhibit at the courthouse on High Street and will remain on exhibit until Oct. 9.

“There is a lot of embedded symbolism within the narrative of the piece,” Wofford said. “The contours of the base represent the Maryland/Delaware Peninsula, where Harriet was enslaved, eventually escaped, and continued to return for her freedom raids. The dramatic step up ... is the Pennsylvania state line, and they are stepping out of the slave states to an elevated freedom.”

“The dress is enveloping the young girl, billowing protectively like a flag, and is meant to represent all the legal protections afforded every United States citizen — a symbol of the future equality to come,” Wofford said. “Each hand on the sculpture signifies an attribute: Determination, Protection, Fear and Trust. The slave girl is leaning out to get a better look at where Harriet is taking her with a look of trepidation on her face. She is gripping Harriet’s right arm tightly but her delicate finger grasp is cautiously hopeful. The girl is off-balance and tentatively taking a step forward — her left foot precariously hanging off a cliff, illustrating the danger and peril of the journey. The shackles are broken and the atrocities of slavery are left forever behind.”

The finale of the unveiling ceremony includes a performance by the award-winning Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble from Camden, New Jersey.

Between programs, visitors are invited to view two exhibitions at the Dorchester Center for the Arts. “Portraits of Black Lives Lost: Showing Their Faces, Telling Their Stories” features paintings of those whose lives were ended by racial violence, and is presented by Artists for Justice. “I Am My Sister Dolls” features the culturally iconic handmade doll line of event organizer Adrian Green Holmes. The exhibits will be open from noon to 6 p.m. at 321 High Street. Guests may also visit the vendor area at Cannery Way from 1 to 8 p.m.

Additional activities will also be part of the Day of Resilience, including:

Harriet Tubman Museum

The Constituency for Africa begins the 2020 Ronald Brown African Affairs Series in Cambridge. The virtual Harriet Tubman Town Hall on Africa will be broadcast from the Harriet Tubman Museum from 3 to 5 p.m. and streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. Dr. Julianne Malveaux will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Julius Garvey; the Honorable Robert Dussey, Foreign Minister of Togo; and Izmira Aitch, Legislative Assistant to Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Wis.); are among the panel speakers.

The Town Hall program includes a live creation of a Salt Art portrait by local artist Miriam Moran. This will be a global event on Zoom with participants from across the country and Africa. The building will not be open to the public; however, a Zoom link will be provided.

In addition, from 2 to 2:45 p.m., CFA will organize a meeting for the young leaders in Cambridge, the “Youth Ambassadors” and the Bowtie Boys from Houston, Texas, to follow-up on a similar meeting last year and the trip to Washington in February by a 30-person youth delegation that visited the embassies of Mali, Ghana and Rwanda for briefings.

Cannery Way Park

Jazz concert fundraiser at the Harriet Tubman Mural featuring Washington DC Jazz Artist Linda Harris from 6 to 8 p.m. Harris has performed in France, Sweden, Panama, New Orleans, New York and South Carolina. She holds fast to the words of Harriett Tubman: “I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to — liberty or death.”

In 2020, the walk for liberty continues as Harris and seven other ladies walk the 125-mile path of the UGRR Sept. 5-10. Tubman’s story motivated Harris to write a song called “Freedom” in honor of the journey, and she will release a music video featuring the video clips from the journey and the Harriet Tubman mural, “Take My Hand.” Cambridge musician Antone Ennels is the opening artist performing his newly released single “1 Foot.”

For concert ticket information, visit www.AlphaGenesisCDC.org or Facebook at the Day of Resilience.

Please note: both the opening ceremony and closing concert will have limited seating in order to adhere to all social distancing guidelines. Wrist bands, masks and temperature checks will be required for each seated event.

For more information, contact Info@alphagenesis cdc.org.

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