The Cape May – Lewes Ferry (CMLF) is set to transport the “Beacon of Hope,” a 13-foot bronze statue of Harriet Tubman, across the Delaware Bay on Thursday, November 9. The statue has been displayed at the Cape May Point Science Center (CMPSC) since September 1, 2023, and marks the first stop on its freedom tour.
Heath Gehrke, Director of Ferry Operations, spoke on the historical significance of the event. “Our ferry route is very similar to one used by escaped enslaved people who would wait for moonless nights to row across the Delaware Bay using the Lighthouse for guidance,” Gehrke said. “It’s fitting and a significant historical moment for this iconic sculpture to cross the Delaware on the Cape May Lewes Ferry.”
The statue, designed by Wesley Wofford of Wofford Sculpture Studio, will continue its tour through various historical sites linked with the Underground Railroad and civil rights movements. After departing from Cape May, New Jersey, the statue will travel to Salisbury, Maryland; Rahway, New Jersey; the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; City of Peekskill, New York; and the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Westport, New York.
Bob Mullock, President of the Cape May Point Science Center, explained the importance of the statue’s first stop. “Harriet Tubman was very active on Cape Island and William Still, the father of the Underground Railroad, once owned the historic building that today houses the Science Center,” said Mullock. “We were honored to be the sculpture’s first stop on its travel through time and appreciate the Ferry’s help in getting her to her next destination in Salisbury, Maryland.”
Both the The Cape May – Lewes Ferry and The Cape May Point Science Center organizations involved in the transport of the “Beacon of Hope” have expressed gratitude and honor in participating in the tour, which aims to pay tribute to the historical legacy and ongoing significance of the Underground Railroad and its heroes.