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The Ben Ross/Harriet Tubman Cabin: MDOT's Julie Schablitsky On The Historic Find & Ongoing Dig

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Photo by Tim Pratt/MDOT
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MDOT
Dr. Julie Schablitsky examines artifacts while her MDOT team continues the dig at the Ben Ross Cabin excavation site in the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge.

The MDOT's chief archaeologist describes her team's recent Eastern Shore discovery of the site of anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman's childhood home.

Now, Tom welcome back to the show Dr. Julie Schablitsky, Chief Archaeologist with the Cultural Resources Division of the Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration. Dr. Schablitsky led the MDOT/SHA team that recently discovered important new information about a once-enslaved Black man named Ben Ross, the father of famed abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.

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MDOT
Dr. Julie Schablitsky is Chief Archaeologist with the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Five years after his enslaver died, Ben was freed, and left a small parcel of wooded land in what is now the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, in Dorchester County on the Eastern Shore. Dr. Schablitsky’s team has found where Ben Ross built a cabin on this land. It's the home where the young Harriet Tubman also lived for a time, as a child and in her teenage years, and where she probably learned how to navigate the region's wild forests and wetlands — skills that would be of great value years later in her efforts to move enslaved people to freedom.

Dr. Julie Schablitsky joins Tom on Zoom to talk about this historic discovery.

(This conversation was pre-recorded, so we couldn't take any calls or comments.)

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is Midday's senior producer.