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Harriet Tubman became renowned for leading slaves out of slaveholding Maryland and into freedom in the North or in Canada. On Sunday, to mark the 100th anniversary of her death, thousands of black women pledged to walk in her honor.
Beginning at 4:30 p.m., a group of registered "trekkers" were scheduled to walk for 100 minutes between the U.S. Capitol and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Groups in 39 states are also scheduled to walk in solidarity in their individual communities.
The nonprofit group behind the "moving tribute," GirlTrek, says that in addition to honoring Tubman's life and work as a "conductor" on the famous Underground Railroad, the walk is also meant to raise awareness of high obesity rates among black women.
"Researchers predict that nearly 100 percent of Black women will be overweight by 2034 unless diets and activity levels improve," GirlTrek said in a statement. "Studies show that interventions that are simple and culture-specific, such as walking, can have a significant impact on lives." GirlTrek went on to say that the organization's goal is to have one million black men and women walking regularly by 2018.
Tributes to Tubman's memory have been held throughout the weekend ahead of the anniversary of her death, on March 10, 1913 at the estimated age of 93 (her date of birth has never been firmly established).
On Saturday, Maryland broke ground on a state park to be named after Tubman in Dorchester County. State officials have also christened a road between Maryland's Eastern Shore and Delaware as the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad ByWay.