This post was originally published on Afro

By Grace Kpetemey and Alexis Taylor

The courage, strength, and legacy of abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass will be on full display this month. 

Two separate PBS documentaries, co-produced by Maryland Public Television and Firelight Films, premier in the beginning of October.

In January of this year, MPT announced that “Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom” would air Oct. 4 at 8:00 p.m. on MPT, with “Becoming Frederick Douglass” airing on Oct. 11 at 8 p.m.

“These films offer fresh, compelling portraits of two towering figures in the struggle to end slavery,” says Travis Mitchell, senior vice president and chief content officer at MPT. 

The documentaries were made possible by the State of Maryland and Bowie State University. Bowie is the oldest historically Black college in Maryland and the first to present a national film on PBS. 

“We are particularly pleased to help illuminate the lives of two iconic Marylanders whose passion for freedom offer inspiration for today’s continuing fight for civil rights and social justice,” says Bowie State University President, Aminta H. Breaux, Ph.D. “We have the opportunity to deepen our understanding of our history through the lives of these two impactful and courageous warriors.”

Tubman and Douglass are legends when it comes to great Black figures that pushed the race forward. Tubman was born in Dorchester County, Md., raised in bondage until she could no longer be held by the chains of slavery. After running away to Philadelphia in 1849 and securing her own freedom, Tubman put herself in jeopardy time and time again to return and save others. 

Douglass was born in Talbot County, Md. in February of 1818, according to the National Park Service. As a young man, he labored on the docks of Fells Point in Baltimore. Like Tubman, Douglass defied the odds of chattel slavery and stole away to freedom in 1838. He then became one of the most fierce advocates for the abolition of slavery the world would ever come to know.

“Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman were not only prominent pillars of our nation’s history who fought for equality, justice and freedom, but also key figures in shaping the local history of Maryland and surrounding areas,” says Sylvia Bugg, chief programming executive and general manager of general audience programming at PBS. “The films will be made available to the entire country through all of our PBS member stations and all of our streaming platforms and we urge you to tune in or set your DVR.”

This year, Gov. Larry Hogan named 2022 the “Year of Harriet Tubman” to mark the 200th anniversary of the sheroes’ birth. 

“I want to encourage all Marylanders to take time this year to come here to visit Dorchester County, to travel the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway, to visit the countless immersive exhibits, which cover every period of Harriet Tubman’s life from slavery to freedom, or to come see the amazing artifacts from the Ben Ross cabin site, which was confirmed just last fall to have been the home of Harriet Tubman’s father,” Governor Hogan (R-MD) wrote in a statement. “It is truly inspiring to think about how we can walk along the same path she did, where she forged her indelible legacy of freedom.”

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