I am embarking on a new walking journey that I am super excited and nervous about at the same time. To help support me on this journey please consider donating today to my Walk to Freedom GoFundMe campaign.
I’m nervous because the unplanned walk will begin about the same time you read this. It came about very recently when a window of opportunity in time suddenly flew open and the gentle breeze that came through the window offered to carry me to Canada. Over the course of the next four weeks I plan to walk to St. Catharines, Ontario, following the spirit of Harriet Tubman and thousands of other Freedom Seekers with hopes of reaching the promise land.
I’ve dreamed of this walk over a year, and possibly longer. Every time I near the finish of a segment walk somewhere along the Underground Railroad someone inevitably asks me “do you plan to walk to Canada?” Even though not all Freedom Seekers fled to Canada, I feel the whole story of my walking journeys will be incomplete and unfinished until I reach Canada.
Following this journey of the African American migration by foot, one feels the inner determination of the freedom seeker to succeed at all costs after walking many hours and days; one feels the pressure points of oppression entering through the soles of their feet towards the end of each walking day; and one dreams of the radiance of tomorrow while keenly aware freedom remains days and possibly weeks away. This is a continuous walk of about 450 miles, and will be my first month long walk I’ve attempted since 2018 when I walked a similar distance from Selma, Alabama to Memphis, Tennessee as part of MLK50th commemoration ceremonies. To put the distance in another perspective, think of driving from Boston to Washington, D.C.
If all goes according to plan, I will strike out on foot beginning on Thursday July 14, 2022 from the Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue in Harlem, head northward to Albany and westward to Syracuse, Auburn, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, and St. Catharine, Ontario, Canada.
The first 200 miles will involve crossing the Eastern New York counties of: New York, aka Manhattan, the Bronx, West Chester, Putnam, Duchess, Columbia, and Albany. These counties make up the eastern side of the Hudson River. When many Freedom Seekers reached New York, Underground Railroad agents might send their newly arriving passengers overland or by water to New England or Canada depending on reports of slave catchers operating in and around various areas.
As many of you know I have been tracing Harriet Tubman’s journey from Maryland to New York for the past two years. In April 2021, I ended my walk at the Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue. This walk will pick up from where I left off.
I am seeking contacts of any friends or acquaintances willing to host me for a night during my walk. In the past, some hosts allowed me to tent out in their backyard, sleep in their campers, or stay in a guest room at a local church. I am also inviting the public to join me along the walk if they are interested.
New Rochelle (West Chester County), before the Revolutionary War had one of the country’s first communities of free Blacks
Scarsdale (West Chester County)
Bedford (West Chester County)
Katonah Katonah, John Jay Homestead Farm, Katonah Museum of Art
Poughkeepsie (Dutchess County) EST
Millbrook (Dutchess County)
Hudson (Columbia County) EST
Albany (Albany County) EST