As his visit to Auburn, New York wound down, many in the area expected President Obama to make a swing over to the Harriet Tubman Home. Unfortunately, Obama skipped the home of the famous former slave to the “outrage” of supporters of the museum.
Other than the indefatigable Frederick Douglas, no other African American is more famous in Civil War history than Harriet Tubman. She was an escaped slave, a humanitarian, an abolitionist, and a spy for the Union Army. With her stature in African American history it seemed a given that Obama would stop by the museum on his trip to her hometown, Auburn.
But it was not to be. Despite the fact that he spent the night at the Auburn Holiday Inn and worked out that morning at the local YMCA, the President left the city to continue on with his Obamacare bus tour without visiting this important landmark.
Supporters of the museum were reportedly shocked over the presidential snub. “Disappointment. Insulted. Outraged,” begins a report by Robert Harding in the Auburn Citizen newspaper.
A group of local residents, politicians, and museum supporters gathered at the museum expecting the President to stop by since he was only a few miles away.
Local Assemblyman Gary Finch (R-Springport) criticized the President over the snub.
“It was a slap in the face to the Harriet Tubman residence. It was a slap in the face to the city of Auburn. And I really honestly believe this president owes this institution and the city of Auburn an apology,” Finch said.
“Being so close you would just think that he would be here,” she Deidre Johnson-Stanford, one of Tubman’s great-great grandnieces. “But it’s disappointing.”
Another of Tubman’s great, great grandnieces, Pauline Johnson, was celebrating her 86th birthday and hoped to get a glimpse of the President that morning. She was also disappointed by the snub.
Obama did find time that morning to stop at a soccer practice at Tully High School in nearby Skaneateles, New York, however. While at Tully High School, Obama asked the girls soccer team if they could beat the boys and kicked around the ball with some of the kids.