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Tubman's philanthropy touched many

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If there was any one person whose time and success in Augusta mirrored the first century of The Augusta Chronicle , it would probably be Emily Tubman, born in 1794 and dying in 1885.

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Augusta threw a 200th birthday party for Emily Tubman on March 21, 1994, and dedicated a monument to her -- a first for a woman in Augusta -- at Greene and Seventh streets. Later that year, a historic marker was dedicated at the site of her Broad Street home.   File/Staff
File/Staff
Augusta threw a 200th birthday party for Emily Tubman on March 21, 1994, and dedicated a monument to her -- a first for a woman in Augusta -- at Greene and Seventh streets. Later that year, a historic marker was dedicated at the site of her Broad Street home.

In 1836, Tubman found herself a widow. She had been married 18 years to Richard Tubman, a wealthy local planter, when she found herself alone in the pre-Civil War South.

She didn't remarry, and she had no children. She didn't move back to Kentucky, where her family was. She had too much to do in Augusta.

Testaments to Tubman's philanthropy are sprinkled throughout the city.

There's the old Tubman Middle School on Walton Way, which had once been the Tubman School for Girls on Reynolds Street until the 1916 fire.

Tubman established that school, then a high school for women, in 1874. It was converted to a junior high school in 1951.

Tubman Home Road was the location of several houses Tubman built for elderly people. She also paid for seven churches, founded John P. King Manufacturing Co. and was the overseer of the Widows House Society, founded by her husband.

Though she lived in Augusta for 67 years, Tubman is buried in Kentucky, with her family.

She traveled to Augusta as a young woman and married in 1818. Her husband made her promise not to spend her summers in Augusta "because of yellow fever," carried by mosquitoes.

In 1842, Tubman skirted state law and freed her slaves, giving them money to start their lives over. She made arrangements for the slaves who wanted to move to Liberia, a west African nation where some of them established a town named for her.

One of her ex-slaves' descendants was William Vaccanarat Shadrack Tubman, who was elected president of Liberia in 1943 and 1951.

In the 1990s, Emily Tubman became the first woman to have a historic monument dedicated to her in Augusta. The city threw a 200th birthday party on March 21, 1994, and dedicated a granite monument at Greene and Seventh streets.

Online Extra

Revisit the 2001 series From Augusta to Africa on the Tubmans' history at augustachronicle.com/tubman.

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