November 29th, 2023
Freedom Center helps strike first Harriet Tubman Commemorative Coin
Coins celebrating freedom hero will help fund Freedom Center
PHILADELPHIA – Leaders from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center participated in a ceremony at the United States Mint to strike the first Harriet Tubman commemorative coins. The series of three coins celebrating the iconic Underground Railroad conductor will be available starting January 4, 2024, with a portion of the proceeds supporting the Freedom Center.
The commemorative coins will be available in three denominations, each representing a different era in Tubman’s life. A clad half-dollar coin representing Tubman’s service as a military leader during the Civil War, including the Combahee River Raid that freed over 700 enslaved people. A $1 silver coin celebrating her iconic role as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, guiding enslaved people to freedom. A $5 gold coin depicting Tubman as a humanitarian during the final five decades of her life. Proceeds from the surcharges will support the Freedom Center and Harriet Tubman Home.
“Today we enshrine Harriet Tubman among not only the pantheon of American heroes, but of freedom’s heroes throughout history,” said Woodrow Keown, Jr., president & COO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. “I’m honored today to indelibly etch Ms. Tubman into our collective heritage as the triumphant, resilient champion of freedom she is. She will continue to be our conductor to freedom and she will continue to inspire us a leader in our ongoing journey toward equity.”
At the strike ceremony, the Freedom Center was joined by leaders from AME Zion Church and the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY. Tubman’s historic home will also receive support from the sale of the coins. The ceremony was led by Ventris C. Gibson, the first African American director of the United States Mint.
The coins honoring one of the nation’s iconic freedom heroes are the result of bilateral legislation to celebrate Tubman’s enduring legacy. The Harriet Tubman Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act was co-introduced in the Senate in 2021 by then-Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) – who joined the strike ceremony in Philadelphia as a guest of the Freedom Center – and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and co-introduced in the House by Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and John Katko (R-NY).
Also joining the Freedom Center was Damon Jones, chief communications officer of Procter & Gamble and a member of the Freedom Center Board of Directors. The Freedom Center secured P&G as lead sponsor for this initiative.
Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most recognized figure from the era of the Underground Railroad, the clandestine network by which enslaved individuals sought to liberate themselves in the first half of the 19th century. Born into slavery as Araminta “Minty” Ross in March 1822 on a plantation in Maryland, Tubman self-liberated via the Underground Railroad in 1849, crossing from Maryland to the free state of Pennsylvania. She returned to Maryland 13 times over the next decade, leading 70 enslaved people to freedom in Canada.
The Harriet Tubman commemorative coins can be purchased individually or as a set directly from the U.S. Mint website or at the Freedom Center.
About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org.