I started this week in Maryland to explore the Eastern Shore where Harriet Tubman’s birthplace still stands and holds a huge presence I had the opportunity to experience.
We began at the National Archives located in College Park, Maryland to find any helpful resources for the cultural landscape inventory. There were documents dated in the exact time frame I needed for the study of Dorchester County. Also many great sketch books that held elevation and plan drawings of the landscape of early Dorchester County, dated back to the early twentieth century. The most useful documentation found were maps of Eastern Shore landscapes by Choptank and Littlle Choptank rivers relative to the property of the CLI. This should translate well within the layers of my map production.
Next was our trip to view the site. The Blackwater Wildlife Refuge is a huge majority of the land with many historic landscapes surrounding the refuge that pieces the story of Harriet Tubman together. With our iPhone maps, printed rough drafts of the landscape and a GPS, Eliot and myself explored the land driving down the main roads to see where they leaded and connected. I noticed a huge presence of churches in the area almost on every road or different section of the county. And later learned it was made so townspeople worshiped within a five mile radius and not any further.
After covering the whole section of Cambridge to Taylor’s Island, through the refuge and back we ended on Harrisville Road as the sun started going down. We almost missed the sign reading Harriet Tubman bold and clear. We had found the birthplace of this hero and courageous women. After years of studying and reading stories of Harriet Tubman in grade school through college, I was standing in the very place she was born. It held an amazing presence that deserved a moment to just stand and reflect. This was a highlight of the trip.
We visited the Bucktown store where Tubman was severely injured as a young girl, walked down some trails we noted on our aerial map, stopped at canals and creeks that run through out, and visited the visitor center of the Blackwater refuge. This indeed gave me an mental note of the landscape I needed. It also was an experience to see the landscape where brave enslaved people first initiated to end slavery and start a better life for generations to come after. This will be a story to tell and memory for years.
Myself standing in front of the Bucktown store.
Conditions of old homes and structures in Dorchester County.