Gov. Wes Moore on Tuesday signed a bill that would add Harriet Tubman’s name to the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis.

The House and state Senate both unanimously passed legislation approving the name change for the 40-year-old museum, which will be called Banneker-Douglass-Tubman Museum.

“Harriet Tubman is an American hero and a great Marylander,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “It’s important to recognize her for her contributions, not only for her better known work helping enslaved people reach freedom, but her lesser known work as a part of the Union war effort during the Civil War.”

The Senate bill, SB 341, was sponsored by Sens. Cory McCray, Malcolm Augustine, Benjamin Brooks, Mary Beth Carozza, Brian Feldman, Jason Gallion, Katie Fry Hester, Cheryl Kagan and Karen Lewis Young.

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A companion bill in the House, HB 390, was introduced by Del. Shaneka Henson, an Annapolis Democrat.

The measure takes effect Oct. 1.

“It’s incredibly important that the bill passed, and the governor chose to sign it the first chance he had,” Henson said Tuesday.

Henson has said that although Tubman’s achievements are well-known, her connection to Maryland needs to be emphasized.

“She is a pioneer when it comes to freedom in Maryland, when it comes women in leadership in Maryland,” she added.

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Tubman was born into slavery in Dorchester County and escaped in 1849 at age 27. She went on to guide dozens of people, including many family members, to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

She was also a nurse and spy in the Union Army, the first woman to lead a major military operation, and a suffragette, according to Chanel Compton, director of the Banneker-Douglass Museum.

The Banneker-Douglass Museum, which is Maryland’s official museum of African American heritage, is operated by the Commission on African American History and Culture. It is named after Benjamin Banneker, a mathematician and almanac author who was born free on a tobacco farm in Baltimore County, and Frederick Douglass, a Talbot County native who escaped slavery in 1838 and became the first Black man to gain prominence as a social crusader, according to the website.

Tubman’s legacy is also celebrated at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, a project of the state and the National Park Service that opened in 2017, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125-mile route through Dorchester and Caroline counties.

The Annapolis museum is located at 84 Franklin St. The original museum was in the former Mount Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church, the website states.

Royale Bonds attended Southern Illinois University. Go Salukis! She previously worked as an affordable housing reporter in Greenville, South Carolina. Royale enjoys long naps, snacking and endless scrolling on social media. She looks forward to reporting on Anne Arundel County and covering the stories that matter.

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