BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – A church where Harriet Tubman gathered hundreds of slaves she helped liberate in a daring raid on plantations along the Combahee River is taking donations to build a monument.
Rev. Kenneth Hodges, Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church on Craven Road in Beaufort, says the monument honors a little-known history about Tubman taking up residence in the Lowcountry.
“During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman came to Beaufort in the spring of 1862 and lived in Beaufort for almost three years,” Hodges said. “While she was here she served in many capacities, as a spy, a scout, a nurse, but she also organized what is known as the Combahee River Raid.”
The raid freed more than 700 slaves on June 2, 1863, and the gathering of the newly liberated people was lead by Tubman in Tabernacle’s church.
“Even people when they come into the area from out-of-town, and they’re assembled in the church, they say there is a unique spirit here,” Hodges said.
“After they assembled in the church in Beaufort, Harriet Tubman says personally, that she marched over a hundred of them to the recruiter’s office,” he added. Many joined the Union fight.
Now the church is working on a monument to honor the Lowcountry’s connection to the greatest conductor on the Underground Railroad.
“When people begin to realize that Harriet Tubman actually spent time here, then they too will be coming,” Hodges said. “People are already beginning to follow the Harriet Tubman sites, places where she spent time.”
“In Auburn, her home site is a part of the National Park Service, and they’re other cities where she spent a brief period of time, who are beginning to do some things for Harriet Tubman,” he added. “So it is certainly significant for South Carolina, definitely Beaufort, to honor Harriet Tubman.”
The pastor says he believes Tubman’s place in history should inspire everyone.
“Anybody who thinks about a person like Harriet Tubman, who sacrificed and gave so much, should want to say ‘Thank You Harriet for what you’ve done’ and ‘I want to be a part of placing a monument in a city like Beaufort where you spent three years and offered so much,’” he said.
The hope is to gather enough donations to complete the Tubman Monument in Beaufort sometime in 2020.
Look here to learn more about the project or if you’re interested in giving. Hodges says donations are tax-deductible.