Philadelphia Man Honors Harriet Tubman by Walking Over 400 Miles Along the Underground Railroad

·2 min read

A Philadelphia man has honored the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman's birth by walking more than 400 miles along the Underground Railroad.

Starting in July, Kenneth Johnston, 61, walked from New York to Canada to pay tribute to the American abolitionist, according to NBC News.

The "walking artist" finished his journey on Saturday at the Salem Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Catharines, Ontario, which Tubman attended when she lived there between 1851 and 1861, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I have so much respect for Harriet Tubman and just how far and how much of herself she gave to rescue so many people over 800 miles from Maryland's Eastern Shore," Johnston told the outlet.

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In December 2019, he spent six weeks walking from the Choptank River in Maryland to Philadelphia, replicating a four-day journey Tubman made to rescue her brothers, reported NBC News.

He also started a walk from Philadelphia to New York in April 2021 and made another 165-mile journey from April to May earlier this year, per the Inquirer.

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Throughout this latest walk, Johnston stopped at several sites and towns in New York state that are famous for their connection to the Underground Railroad, according to the outlets.

The first stop on Johnston's New York-to-Canada journey was the Harriet Tubman Memorial in Harlem, NBC News reported — and in late August, Johnston visited Fredrick Douglas' grave at Rochester's Mount Hope Cemetery, according to ABC affiliate WHAM-TV.

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One of Johnston's favorite moments of his New York walk was meeting Judith Bryant, Tubman's great-great grandniece, reported NBC News.

"It helped me connect to Harriet Tubman even more in her life by meeting her descendants," Johnston told the outlet.

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Despite a difficult final three miles, complicated by heat, Johnston finally reached his destination on Sept. 10, per the Inquirer. He is proud to say he's walked along the same path that Tubman and so many others traveled on in their quest for freedom.

"It's really exciting to make the complete journey she traveled," Johnston told the newspaper.