The New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center in downtown Auburn opened Tuesday, along with a special unveiling of a bronzed Harriet Tubman statue.

If ever there was a moment in present time that could change the course of history in Auburn, New York, it was the moment witnessed by nearly 200 people on Tuesday.

Harriet Tubman, the woman who symbolizes bravery, strength and courage, now bronzed in statue form across the street from Auburn City Hall and steps away from the Heritage Center.

“The history about aunt Harriet has been suppressed for years and I’m so happy that at last she has come alive for these people,” said Pauline Copes Johnson, the great, great grand niece of Tubman.

The statue embodies a young warrior…the Moses of her people.

“How could anyone travel back and forth from the Carolinas to New York State and not be a young person? She watched her passengers on the railroad and brought them to safety,” said Mayor Michael Quill of Auburn.

Tubman’s story is just one of those chronicled in the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center.  From women’s suffrage to social justice,it embodies a rich culture, weaving together history, arts and humanity to show the diverse fabric of New York State.

City leaders say the $10 million center was made possible by Governor Cuomo’s Office and its like a welcome mat to visitors, showcasing Auburn’s rich history, acknowledging the past and blazing trails for the future.