Georgetown honors James Bowley; grand-nephew of Harriet Tubman

Georgetown County News

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Many know of Harriet Tubman’s remarkable efforts in freeing enslaved African Americans using “The Underground Railroad.”

Her grand-nephew James Bowley was the first person she emancipated in 1850. 17 years later, Bowley returned to Georgetown where he did extraordinary things.

Bowley was a teacher, one of the first African American lawyers, a probate judge and a trustee at the University of South Carolina.

Today, community members from Georgetown want to pay tribute to James Bowley’s life. The Bowley-Tubman Historical Marker Committee and the Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce have raised over $2,500 to construct a historical marker in Bowley’s honor.

The Mayor of Georgetown, SC has declared September 21st “James Bowley Day.” This weekend, the town plans to celebrate and honor James Bowley as well as unveil the Bowley-Tubman Historical Marker.

231 King Street, Georgetown SC

The marker will be at 231 King Street in Georgetown, SC; the home where James Bowley settled. Steve Williams, the co-chair of the Bowley-Tubman Historical Marker Committee, says this weekend will finally pay tribute to Bowley’s life.

“These things should not be forgotten,” says Williams. “There’s a lot of credit that has to be given and we’re going to do that this weekend.”

In addition to the unveiling, the committee has planned many activities, speakers, and events for the weekend. One of those events is a walk through historic downtown Georgetown with an organization called GirlTrek.

Marilyn Hemingway, co-chair of the Bowley-Tubman Historical Marker Committee, says that GirlTrek’s mission is to empower African American ladies through history, leadership, and healthy living.

“They base their walks on Harriet Tubman’s underground railroad routes,” says Hemingway, “we are using that opportunity to celebrate Harriet Tubman and take control of our health.”

The weekend will be jam-packed with events to help educate the community on James Bowley and Harriet Tubman’s lives. They ask Georgetown residents attend and celebrate this historical event.

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