Step on Board (Boston, MA)


Dublin Core


Step on Board (Boston, MA)


Subject (Topic)
Abolitionist--United States
Antislavery movements--United States
Fugitive slaves--United States
Northeastern United States
Public art
Public sculpture
Underground Railroad

Subject (Name)
Tubman, Harriet, 1822-1913

Subject (Object Type)
Commemorative sculpture


A high relief sculpture with Harriet Tubman and six figures: three women, two men, and a baby. All figures are clothed in nineteenth-century dress. Wearing a dress, shawl, and head wrap, Tubman strides forward, gesturing with her left hand and holding a bible under her right arm. The figures are backed by a vertical slab of pink granite. On the reverse of statue is a diagram of the route Tubman took when accompanying passengers on the Underground Railroad (Maryland, Delaware, Philadelphia, New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Canada). Includes quotations from Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Sarah Bradford.


Cunningham, Fern, 1949-2020


Photographs by Renée Ater


Dedication: June 20, 1999


CBA Landscape Architects, Boston, Massachusetts; United South End Settlements, Boston, Massachusetts; New England Foundation for the Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; The George B. Henderson Foundation and The Edgar Ingersoll Browne Fund, Boston, Massachusetts; and Boston Parks and Recreation


Boston Art Commission, Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, Boston City Hall, Room 802, Boston, Massachusetts, 02201, United States






Visual Arts-Sculpture


Harriet Tubman Park, Columbus Avenue and Pembrook Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116, United States

Alternative Title

Harriet Tubman Memorial

Has Part

Inscriptions on back of relief:
Step On Board, Harriet Ross Tubman, 1820 – 1913, Go Down Moses, Way Down in Egypt’s Land, Tell Old Pharoah — Let My People Go.

“There are two things I’ve got a right to, and these are death or liberty. One or another I mean to have. No one will take me back alive.”—Harriet Tubman

“The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism.” —Frederick Douglass

“Tell my brothers to be always watching unto prayer, and when the good old ship of Zion comes along, to be ready to step aboard.”—Harriet Tubman

“She expected deliverance when she prayed, unless the Lord had ordered otherwise.” —Sarah Bradford

Inscription on bronze plaque:
For the Adornment and Benefit of Boston. The design, fabrication, and installation of the memorials at Harriet Tubman park were made possible through the efforts of the United South End Settlements with funding support from the New England Foundation for the Arts, George B. Henderson Foundation, the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund, a public charitable trust administered by the Trust Office of the City of Boston. The art piece ’Step on Board’ was designed by artist Fern Cunningham in 1999, and ’Emancipation’ was designed by artist Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller in 1913. The park is maintained by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department in partnership with the friends of Harriet Tubman Park, 2000.


120 x 84 in. (304.8 x 213.36 cm.)


Bronze; Pink granite

Bibliographic Citation

“Step on Board/Harriet Tubman Memorial.” CultureNOW. Accessed March 19, 2018,

“Special Projects: Harriet Tubman Sculpture & Park.” George B. Henderson Foundation. Accessed March 19, 2018,

Rights Holder

Renée Ater

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format


Physical Dimensions

120 x 84 in. (304.8 x 213.36 cm.)


Cunningham, Fern, 1949-2020, “Step on Board (Boston, MA),” Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past, accessed May 28, 2024,