Harlem Photo of the Week

This week's Harlem Photo of the Week, features the 10-foot-tall statue of Harriet Tubmanat the intersection of Frederick Douglass Boulevard, St. Nicholas Avenue and 122nd Street. What's known as the Harriet Tubman Memorial Plaza, holds the statue and, what some residents have yet to notice, newly-planted cotton plants by community gardener Willy Morgan. Against some public disdain, Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman's statue faces south, signifying the danger she put her own freedom in during every trip she did to the South to bring other slaves to their freedom.  We always recall the inspirational trips she did north to bring freedom for others by using the North Star as guidance, but we're quick to forget the even more dangerous trek she did by just heading south to guide those same slaves.

Just behind the bronze statue in Harlem, you might notice green shrubbery with little green leaf-covered bulbs. These medium-height plants are actually cotton plants to represent the reason for Harriet's accomplishments and slavery within the United States, in general. These significant additions were added by community gardener Willy Morgan, who maintains one of Harlem's community gardens just a couple blocks from the statue itself. Willy said he wanted to draw upon "history to tell the story of Harriet Tubman," and decided to plant cotton in the traffic triangle to portray that. With his help, and the constant reminder when seeing Harriet Tubman's statue, we can easily recall the struggles of America's beginnings and to never forget that some had to fight for the freedom that we're so easily granted to today.

Photos: Cyndi Amaya

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