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I heard on the news that legislators in Maryland want to honor Harriet Tubman by naming not one, but two parks after her.  Now, history tells us that Harriet Tubman was instrumental in the escape of hundreds of American slaves along a clandestine route to freedom known as the Underground Railroad.  That being the case, can anyone explain to me how a park or two named after Harriet Tubman would honor her?  After all, her quest was for freedom, not for parks and recreation.  Rather than giving a park a name that many young people won’t bother to understand the relevance of, why not honor her with what she was fighting for — the freedom of her people.  Now, some of you might say, “Well, that’s already been attained.  They are free.  They have an African American president and all is well. ”  Truth be told, however, they have merely traded overt bondage for covert bondage.

In the past, African Americans knew where they stood in American society.  They understood where they could live, go to school, work, etc.  Nowadays, however, they are free to move about the country.  Nevertheless, this movement remains closely monitored, as it did in the days of Harriet Tubman via census taking, racial profiling and other means.  Though educated, Blacks remain under-employed or unemployed at an alarming rate.  In entertainment, they continue to make less than their white counter parts regardless of talent.  In housing or credit, they continue to pay higher interests rates than their white neighbors.  In the criminal justice system, they continue to face harsher penalties for the same crimes committed by their white peers.  Even with the freedom of movement mentioned earlier, there are still neighborhoods in the United States that do not welcome African Americans.  If they were truly free, they would enjoy the same amenities afforded to their white counterparts.

To properly build a monument to Harriet Tubman, we must either grant African Americans their full equality and protection under the law or build a metaphysical train to allow them to escape the tyranny.  At this point, I’m not sure which is easier.  Can anybody hear me?

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