Harriet Tubman’s great-great-grandniece joins Auburn celebration honoring abolitionist

Local News

Growing up in Auburn, Pauline Copes Johnson knew all about Harriet Tubman. But it wasn’t until she was 25 that she found out the two are related.

Johnson is the great-great-grandneice of the freed slave-turned abolitionist.

Since then, Johnson has devoted her life to researching Tubman and making sure her memory and work lives on.

Despite her great-great-aunt’s hard work, Johnson says she grew up around racism and says work still has to be done. She’ll keep fighting in Aunt Harriet’s honor.

“She was a very courageous person, to do what she did because she put her life on the line every time she went from the north to the south,” she said. 

Johnson spent the day — Harriet Tubman Day — in Auburn celebrating Tubman’s life, 106 years after her death.

“Harriet Tubman, you know, changed the course of America. She’s a true american hero and she’s someone who’s finally getting the recognition that she deserves,” said Courtney Kasper, Visitor Experience Manager at the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center:

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