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‘Leaders & Liberators’: Columbia re-enactment to celebrate Tubman, local Underground Railroad conductors

(Source: Provided)

Local historians, re-enactors and faith leaders are inviting the public to Columbia this weekend for a ceremony and re-enactment honoring three key leaders of the Underground Railroad.

“Leaders & Liberators” will depict an imagined meeting on July 4, 1872, between abolitionist Harriet Tubman and two of her fellow Underground Railroad conductors, Stephen Smith and William Whipper.

Smith (1795-1873) and Whipper (1804-1876) were dedicated abolitionists who ran a successful lumber business in Columbia. Collectively, they and Tubman (1822-1913) led hundreds of individuals to freedom from the 1830s through the 1850s.

The cast consists of Raquel Richardson as Tubman, Nelson Polite Jr. as Smith and Lenwood Sloane as Whipper. The script is by local historian and historical consultant Randy Harris.

“Leaders & Liberators” will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Mt. Zion AME Church, 222 S. Fifth St., Columbia.

Guests are then invited to the borough’s St. Paul Episcopal Church, 340 Locust St., for a reception at 4:30 p.m. featuring West African cuisine, followed by a prayer service in the sanctuary at 5:30 p.m.

The event is free. It sponsored by the Bishop Nathan Baxter Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania, St. James Episcopal Church in Lancaster and the St. Paul Episcopal and Mt. Zion AME churches in Columbia.