Without a doubt, Harriet Tubman was a woman of empowerment, strength and dedication. Her legacy on DelMarVa is a testament to the spirit of women who are born and raised here.
The inspiring stories of slaves setting out in search of freedom in the 19th century come to new life for modern-day readers in Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva, a new book released the week of September 18 by the award-winning author Jim Duffy, a resident of Cambridge.
“The events that unfolded on the Eastern Shore and in Delaware during slavery times are as moving and important as any in our nation’s history,” Duffy says. “My goal in Tubman Travels is to tell these stories in fresh, engaging ways so that readers can get an up-close-and-personal feel for the times and the people who embarked on these remarkable journeys.”
Each of the book’s 32 chapters is centered on a specific Underground Railroad story and set at a destination linked to the events at hand. About half of the chapters are devoted to keystone events in the lives of the Delmarva region’s two most famous escaped slaves, Dorchester County native Harriet Tubman and Talbot County native Frederick Douglass. The book also has chapters devoted to an array of other, less widely known Underground Railroad heroes. This cast of characters includes Isaac Mason, Rev. Samuel Green, Moses Viney, Harriet Shephard, Lear Green, and Sam and Emeline Hawkins, among others.
“The journeys these brave souls set out on are constantly brushing up against timeless themes that remain as vital today as they were back then—things like courage, love, family, and faith,” Duffy says.
Tubman Travels is organized geographically, with the first chapter set on the Choptank River in Cambridge. The stories that follow lead readers along rural backroads and through historic Eastern Shore towns such as Easton, St. Michaels, Denton, Chestertown, Centreville, Galena, and Chesapeake City. Crossing into Delaware, the journeys continue through Seaford, Dover, Middletown, New Castle, and Wilmington.
“I hope that Tubman Travels inspires some people to get out and wander through the Delmarva Peninsula, getting to know its towns and its history and its people,” Duffy says. “But I also worked very hard present things in ways that will appeal to armchair travelers, too.”
This is the second in a series of Secrets of the Eastern Shore guidebooks written by Duffy. The first book, Eastern Shore Road Trips: 27 One-Day Adventures on Delmarva, was a top seller in the travel category both online and in the 40-some area bookstores and retail shops where it is featured. A veteran magazine writer, Duffy has won numerous awards over the years for his work in regional publications about topics in travel, history, art, and medicine.
He is also the founder of Secrets of the Eastern Shore, a local business dedicated to celebrating the region in stories, photos, and products. The Secrets of the Eastern Shore Facebook page now has more than 35,000 followers.
The new Tubman Travels features original cover art by Lisa Krentel, an artist who also lives in Cambridge and whose work has been featured in a number of regional galleries. The cover was designed by another local artist, Jill Jasuta, who is Duffy’s wife in addition to being a photographer and graphic designer.