The Harriet Tubman House has been an important part of USES’s history for more than a century, even as it has moved locations over the years. In the early 20th Century, responding to the discrimination the community, six black women from Boston opened the Harriet Tubman House at 37 Holyoke Street in the South End. A personal friend of Tubman, Julia O. Henson rented the Tubman House as a place of lodging for black women who had recently migrated from the South.
Later on, the Harriet Tubman House was moved to Mrs. Henson’s own home at 25 Holyoke Street, which she donated to the newly formed organization. There, she and her friends, Cornelia Robinson, Annie W. Young, Fannie R. Contine, Jestina A.Johnson, Sylvia Fern, and Hibernia Waddell, organized a settlement house for the purpose of “assisting working girls in charitable ways.” Harriet Tubman herself was made Honorary President of the Harriet Tubman House, four years before her death in 1913.
In 1975, the Harriet Tubman House moved from Holyoke Street to its current location on Columbus Avenue. This location has served as USES’s headquarters and offered programming for children, adults, and seniors, and has also provided a space for the community to come together.
As we engage in our Strategic Planning process here at USES, we continue to honor that legacy and serve our community in deeper, more impactful ways. With the development of a new Harriet Tubman House on our Rutland Street campus, we are preserving USES’s mission for future generations by increasing our ability to serve more children and families in our community.
We are committed to honoring our history and Harriet Tubman’s legacy of equity and opportunity, and ensuring USES’s financial sustainability for many years to come.