Harriet Tubman living history at Old State House on March 10

Millicent Sparks will portray Harriet Tubman at The Old State House on March 10, 2020.

(DOVER, Del.—Feb. 27, 2020)—In celebration of both National Harriet Tubman Day and National Women’s History Month, actress Millicent Sparks will bring to life the noted Underground Railroad conductor who helped dozens of enslaved African Americans escape to freedom prior to the American Civil War.

The program will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at The Old State House, located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del. Admission is free and open to the public but, due to space restrictions, reservations are suggested by calling 302-744-5054. The museum will also be open for visitation and tours from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Note: A previous version of this release incorrectly noted that the event would take place on Thursday, March 10, 2020. The correct day is Tuesday, March 10.

“The Harriet Tubman Living History Experience” is organized by the Jane and Littleton Mitchell Center for African American Heritage at the Delaware Historical Society and is partially funded by a grant from Delaware Humanities, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, go to the Delaware Historical Society event calendar.

Harriet Tubman was born in 1822 as a slave in Dorchester County, Md. After escaping her own chains, she returned to the South on 13 missions, helping more than 70 family members, friends and other enslaved people make their way to freedom. During the Civil War, she served as a spy, recruiter and nurse for the Union Army. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in U.S. military history when she led the 1863 raid along the Combahee River in South Carolina which freed more than 700 slaves. After service in the conflict, Tubman returned to her home in Auburn, N.Y. In her later years, she fought for women’s rights but did not live to see women attain the right to vote. She died in 1913.

Millicent Sparks is an accomplished actor/writer/producer who has performed on local, regional and international stages and in film and on television. A lifelong history buff, she has researched and produced several living-history performances with special emphasis on the African American experience. As part of her portrayal of Harriet Tubman at The Old State House, Sparks will interact with the audience, responding in character to questions about the abolitionist’s life in slavery, the Underground Railroad and the Civil War.

Completed in 1791, The Old State House is one of the earliest capitol buildings in the nation, serving as the home of Delaware’s legislature until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall. The venerable structure now appears as it would have in the late 1700s during the United States’ critical early years as an independent country. It features a courtroom, governor’s and county offices and chambers for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives. The building is situated on Dover’s historic Green, a public area designated by William Penn in 1683. The Green is a partner site of the First State National Historical Park.

Photo of The Old State House at night
The Old State House

The Old State House is administered by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, an agency of the State of Delaware. The division enhances Delaware’s quality of life by preserving the state’s unique historical heritage, fostering community stability and economic vitality and providing educational programs and assistance to the general public on Delaware history. The division’s diverse array of services includes operation of five museums which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, administration of the State Historic Preservation Office, conservation of the state’s archaeological and historic-objects collections, operation of a conference center and management of historic properties across the state. Primary funding for division programs and services is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware General Assembly and grants from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, a federal agency. However, the contents and opinions expressed in the division’s programs and services do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Department of the Interior.

Picture of the Logo of the American Alliance of Museums


Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-608-5326
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov