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Wanted: Harriet Tubman

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Image of Wanted: Harriet Tubman Poster, image of a light lantern, flowers

Friday, March 10, 2023 4:00 pm-6:30 pm

The David C. Driskell Center, Cole Student Activities Bldg

The faculty, staff, and students of the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies invite you to join us for our annual commemoration of Harriet Tubman Day. This year’s theme - “Wanted: Harriet Tubman” - considers the interplay between fugitivity and desire. From “wanted” as a fugitive from the law to “wanted” as a legacy and symbol, this year’s

theme considers the politics of invoking Tubman’s identity. Our moderator for the evening is art historian and curator, Adrienne L. Childs, who will be in conversation with muralist and labor activist, Mike Alewitz and architect/artist, Nina Cooke John about their work, process, and politics of representing Harriet Tubman within the public domain.

In 2000, Mike Alewitz was commissioned to paint a series of murals throughout Baltimore, MD commemorating Harriet Tubman. The first mural in the series “Dreams of Harriet” (25 x125 ft) depicted an armed Tubman and was subsequently decommissioned following Alewtiz’s refusal to disarm her. (See Milton C. Sernett, Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, & History). Nina Cooke John is the creative force behind one of the country’s most recent and innovative monuments to Harriet Tubman. Conceived in dialog with members of the Newark community, Cooke John’s Tubman, which replaces a statue of Columbus, will be unveiled on March 9 in Newark, New Jersey. Cooke John joins us to discuss the work, her process, and the momentary refusal by the state panel to proceed with the piece. The public domain is a contested space, and representation is neither neutral nor inconsequential; the evening offers an opportunity to think about how we navigate these politics. Join us.


The David C. Driskell Center

4090 Union Drive

4090 Union Drive

College Park, MD 20742

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College of Arts and Humanities

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