Harriet Tubman's Auburn home becomes a National Historical Park

The plan was signed during a ceremony on Tuesday

AUBURN (WSYR-TV) - It's official!! The home of Harriet Tubman in Auburn is now a national historical park.

The designation comes with federal funding to protect and preserve the property, along with Tubman's legacy.

The deal was signed on Tuesday morning, after members of Congress spoke.

"She was a pistol-packing firecracker of a woman," said representative John Katko before the signing.

The corner of Auburn where Tubman lived has become a symbol of her selfless fight for justice.

"She risked her life to secure it for others and passionately fought to change her country to secure it for everyone," Senator Charles Schumer added. "She gave of herself for others. That's what it means to be an American hero."

The Interior Secretary's signature followed decades of work by community groups trying to win the designation.

Tubman is best known for her days as a conductor on the underground railroad. But, her commitment to helping others continued long after the Civil War as she settled in Auburn.

She advocated for poor former slaves, fought for womens' rights and established a home to care for the elderly - all from her Cayuga County property.

The people who fought to establish the space as a National Historical Park hope a "bright light" of the past carries forward.

"It could not come at a better time to remind all of us that it can be painful and it can be difficult, but because of our faith and because of our courage and because of our drive - we have the grace it takes to stand to the end and that's what Harriet Tubman did," said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, addressing guests at the signing. "It's a celebration for New York and for Auburn, but it's mostly a celebration of what's right in this world...and right conquering wrong."

The National Parks Service will host a celebration in Auburn this spring.

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