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Picture courtesy of Cayuga Museum
(Click picture to enlarge)


Harriet Tubman
"The Conductor"
By Carl A. Pierce
(click picture to enlarge)

 

Senator Clinton Secures Funding

 Sen. Clinton Press Release

October 29, 2003

Senator Clinton Secures Funding to Repay
Harriet Tubman Civil War Pension


Funds can be used to preserve and maintain
her home and to honor her memory

Washington, DC - Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that she had secured $11,750 for the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY. The funds, which were requested by Senator Clinton were made available under the Senate FY '04 Interior Appropriations Bill, which will now be approved by the full House and Senate before heading to the President for his signature. The amount is equivalent to the additional amount of widow's pension that Harriet Tubman should have received from Jan 1899 to March 1913 under various laws authorizing a pension for the death of her husband, Nelson Davis, a veteran of the Civil War. The funds can be used to preserve and maintain her home and to honor her memory.

"I thank the Albany students who brought this matter to my attention last year and I am proud that we can now honor the memory of Harriet Tubman by making sure that this injustice is remedied," Senator Clinton said. "Harriet Tubman was one of our nation's most courageous freedom fighters. It is important that we officially recognize her extraordinary service."

Harriet Tubman requested a pension for her service in the Union Army during the Civil War, but never received one. However her last husband, Nelson Davis, served in the United States Colored Infantry and under the Dependent Pension Act of 1890, Harriet Tubman received an $8 per month widow's pension as the spouse of a deceased veteran from June 1890 until January 1899. On January 19, 1899 by enacting H.R. 4982, the 55th Congress authorized the Secretary of the Interior to pay Harriet Tubman a widow's pension of $25 per month for the duration of her life, however Harriet Tubman received only $20 per month until her death on March 10, 1913, after which she was buried Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York, with military honors. The funding approved today is the sum which compensates for the widow's pension withheld from Harriet Tubman between January 1899 and her death in 1913, adjusted from 1913 to present day, equal to $11,750.

The issue was brought to the Senator's attention in May of last year during a visit with students from the Albany Free School who studied the life of Harriet Tubman in class and spent nearly two weeks tracing the path to freedom that Harriet Tubman is credited with paving as a "conductor" along the Underground Railroad. Following their visit, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced a resolution requesting that the federal government provide the long overdue remaining pension to the descendants of Harriet Tubman. Congressman Edolphus Towns introduced a similar resolution in the House of Representatives.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is also a co-sponsor of legislation along with Representative Louise M. Slaughter to establish the "Votes for Women" History Trail to recognize New York State's historic place in the development of the Women's Rights movement. The "Votes for Women" History Trail Act authorizes the National Park Service to establish an auto trail in upstate New York, home to some of the most significant locations of the women's suffrage movement, including Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged in Auburn, NY.

Students inspire senator

By ERIN DUGGAN
First published: May 20, 2002 in Albany's Times Union Newspaper

     Sparked by an effort by Albany Free School students, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced legislation Wednesday requesting the federal government make Civil War pension payments to the descendants of Harriet Tubman.  Tubman was a nurse and scout for the Union Army during the Civil War and never received the pension she requested.

     The students took a 13-day trip tracing the Underground Railroad, and met briefly with Clinton to urge the senator to request the pension payment.  Tubman is credited with rescuing 300 slaves via the Underground Railroad, and her family said they would use the money to expand the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn, Cayuga County.

    "It's always such an inspiration to see young people curious about our nation's history and the figures who helped shape the country we live in today," Clinton said in a statement.  "I thank the Albany students who brought this matter to my attention, and I hope we can work together to honor the memory of Harriet Tubman by making sure that this injustice is remedied."

                                      The Albany Free School
                                                8 Elm Street
                            Albany, NY 12202     (518) 434-3072

 

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