Harriet Tubman Commemoration Events
The Harriet Tubman Mentoring Project (HTMP), the student chapter of the United States Colored Troops Institute at Hartwick College (USCTI), will host its fifth anniversary Harriet Tubman Civil War Dinner Discussion on Sunday, March 10, 2013 in honor of its namesake and as the kickoff of its involvements commemorating the centennial of the death date of the heroine.
Other local events will lead up to the group's hosting of the Harriet Tubman - Buffalo Soldiers Student Conference during the weekend of November 1-3, 2013.
The planning for the 2013 events commenced during the weekend of November 2-4 during the annual mini-conference and think tank hosted by the USCTI, a national membership body established in 1998 to devote research, preservation, and commemoration of the 200,000 black soldiers and their 7,000 white officers of the Civil War. The organization has since expanded its realm, including focus upon the Revolutionary War through World War II, and is today recognized by the National Park Service as a facility of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The HTMP is the student chapter of the USCTI and it has been recognized by the American Historical Association and the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (cIcu) as a model respectively for the engagement of minority students in history and as a "best practice" for mentoring students of underrepresented groups. The HTMP was joined last week by other students who are enrolled in History 270 - Revisiting Roots, providing a balanced discussion regarding the legacy of Harriet Tubman from a multi-ethnic and multi-racial perspective.
Joining the HTMP members at the November gathering was the group's organizer and preceptor, Harry Bradshaw Matthews, who is Associate Dean and Director of the U.S. Pluralism Center at Hartwick College. Matthews, who is also the founding president of the USCTI, will be joined by workshop presenters including Darlene Colón, president of the historic Christina (PA) Historical Society and senior fellow and vice president of the USCT, as well as Hartwick College Professor of History and USCTI Founding Member Dr. Edythe Ann Quinn. According to Kennequa Carlton '13, president of the Pluralism Associates League for Students and a senior Tubman Mentor, "the students thought it was a good experience, educationally and enjoyable." Also attending the event was senior Laureena Harris '13, a Tubman Mentor, who expressed "that everyone thought the experience was educational, but want the Harriet Tubman - Buffalo Soldiers Conference, scheduled for the weekend of November 1-3, 2013, to have diverse mediums, not just power point presentations." It was a feeling expressed by other students as well.
The 2013 conference will focus primarily upon Tubman's three-prong engagement as an anti-slavery advocate, Underground Railroad conductor, and her assistance provided to the Union Army during the Civil War. An addition focus will be upon the African American military men who became known as the Buffalo Soldiers, who extended the fight for ending slavery during the Spanish-American War in Cuba, and who later held an encampment in Oneonta during 1913. The plan is to invite students from various colleges and universities who have been engaged in primary research, as well as others who wish to learn how to conduct historical research in their local communities. Proposals for presentations will be encouraged from across academic disciplines, including the performing arts.
An opportunity will also be available for students to use items in the privately owned Matthews Collection for the Preservation of Freedom Journey Classics, which is comprised primarily of 2,500 rare and first edition books. According to Matthews, participants at the 2-013 conference will be provided with instruction in an experiential manner on how to conduct research regarding family history and community history. Members of the HTMP will share their experience documenting 1) Cato Freedom, a black Revolutionary War soldier, 2) Mama Lucretia and her children's escape to Oneonta by way of the Underground Railroad, and 3) documenting local black soldiers of white regiments during the Civil War.