Harriet Tubman is the better icon for Maryland's history

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011; 7:11 PM

Regarding the March 6 front-page story on Maryland's statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol ["In hallowed hall, Md.'s heavyweights duke it out"]:

Harriet Tubman is the right choice, as opposed to 18th-century figure John Hanson, whose statue stands there now. Tubman reflects the part of Maryland's heritage that is most recognizable and beloved today: Our diverse but interconnected histories and our legacy of finding common ground in shared experiences and values.

Tubman's contribution to American history as the most outstanding conductor of the Underground Railroad is a personal inspiration and a source of pride to me as a Marylander. And her contribution is enriched by the recognition that the Underground Railroad was helped by many anonymous Marylanders - Quakers, philanthropists, and conductors and workers of the railroad - who provided money, food, clothes and havens for thousands of enslaved people en route to freedom in the North. Thus, Tubman's legacy is significant not only to women and African Americans but to all Marylanders who see their heritage and values reflected in her story.

Najah Duvall-Gabriel, Hyattsville

The writer is a member of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture.

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Here's the easy answer to who should represent Maryland in Statuary Hall: Keep John Hanson, add Harriet Tubman, bid farewell to Charles Carroll. Would that all problems were so easily resolved.

David Elfin, Bethesda


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