The new film, “Harriet Tubman: Soldier of Freedom” debuts September 14 at 2 p.m. at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Dorchester County. The 15-minute short featuring acclaimed actor and narrator Keith David with B. Cherie Patterson portraying Tubman, will be shown daily – three times an hour – to visitor center guests.
The September 14 premiere includes a day of special events, ranger led programs, and a 1 p.m. ceremony with music by Renna McKinney leading up to the film’s initial 2 p.m. showing.
Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, a Massachusetts-based historian and author of the biography, “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero,” will give a presentation following the premiere. Larson served as a consultant for the movie and the recently announced Maryland Public Television/Firelight Films documentary on Tubman currently in production.
The real-life story traces Harriet Tubman’s formative years in Dorchester County and explores the decisions that shaped her life as a patriot, leader, liberator, and humanitarian. The short film is a moving introduction to the park’s exhibits and programs, and highlights the values that were most meaningful to Tubman: family, freedom, faith, and community.
“Soldier of Freedom” was filmed and will be shown exclusively on the lands where she lived, labored, and returned to free enslaved family and friends.
“We are thrilled to premier this tribute to a great American heroine,” said Harriet Tubman State Park Manager Dana Paterra. “The movie provides a solid foundation for the visitor’s experience here at the visitor center and adds another opportunity to create a meaningful connection between our guests and Tubman’s inspiring life.”
Dorchester County residents appearing in the film include Hershel Johnson, Keith Cornish, Mary Dennard, and Jenny Baltimore.
Directed by Joshua Colover and produced by Aperture Films, the movie was commissioned by a partnership of the National Park Service, Maryland Park Service, State of Maryland, Eastern National, and America’s Byway.
The film, according to Dorchester County Director of Tourism Amanda Fenstermaker, builds on the visitor center’s role as a trailhead for visitors looking to explore the 36 sites that comprise the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.
“More than 200,000 people have come to the visitor center since its spring 2017 opening to learn about Harriet Tubman’s remarkable life and see how they can experience the landscapes where she lived and toiled,” Fenstermaker said. “The film is a significant and powerful addition to the engaging multimedia exhibitory that has made the Visitor Center one of the mid-Atlantic’s top tourism destinations.”
The visitor center is free and open to the public seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.