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New Harriet Tubman Landmark to be Unveiled TODAY AT 10:45 AM at Millbrae BART Station

Millbrae Bart Station

Millbrae Bart Station

Cheryl Derricotte

Artist, Cheryl Derricotte with Michael Van Every, President of Republic Urban Properties


Rendering of 12-foot statue to be unveiled on March 16th

Sculpture is part of Republic Urban Properties’ Gateway @ Millbrae Station Development

We are proud that Gateway @ Millbrae Station will include this artistic landmark honoring an iconic figure of American history. This sculpture will be enjoyed by visitors for generations to come.”

— Melissa Durkin, RUP Senior Vice President of Development.

MILLBRAE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, March 16, 2023/ — Republic Urban Properties (RUP) will hold a ceremony on March 16th to unveil “Freedom’s Threshold,” a major piece of public art honoring Harriet Tubman – abolitionist, suffragist, and mighty leader of the Underground Railroad. The 12-foot-tall, free-standing sculpture is situated adjacent to the recently re-named Harriet Tubman Way in the heart of the new transit plaza within RUP’s Gateway @ Millbrae Station project, a transit-oriented development featuring commercial, residential, and retail space.

“We are proud that Gateway @ Millbrae Station will include this artistic landmark honoring an iconic figure of American history,” says Melissa Durkin, RUP’s Senior Vice President of Development. “It’s exciting to know that this sculpture will be enjoyed by visitors for generations to come.”

The sculpture is the work of renowned local artist Cheryl Derricotte, whose research-based creative process reflects her interest in history. “I’m driven by the desire to share complex stories, to put historical context into our contemporary dialogue,” she says. In this case, “I wanted to put forward a design that would reflect Harriet Tubman’s rich legacy and service to America.” For example, most of us already know about Tubman’s work freeing enslaved people via the Underground Railroad. But, as Derricotte points out, many people are unaware that Tubman was also a veteran (she was the first woman to lead a combat raid during the Civil War), a property owner (a revolutionary feat in itself for a Black woman at the time), and a philanthropist, leaving her home and 32-acre property to the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church, to which she had a lifelong devotion.

The resulting design, in glass and aluminum, depicts Tubman standing in the “doorway” of her home, which is based on the actual side profile of her house in Auburn, New York. The sculpture rests on a foundation that includes fourteen glass bricks representing the fourteen trips she took on the Underground Railroad; each brick is inscribed with words reflecting the values Tubman inspired. “In life, Harriet was only about five feet tall,” Derricotte shares, “but in sculpture, I wanted to make sure she has the stature she deserves.”

For the inspirational words etched in the glass brick foundation, Derricotte turned to veterans who are also artists in her network as well as parishioners of the
St. James AME Zion Church, where Tubman is a revered figure.

“She was a stalwart, faithful member of our church – even as children we learned about her accomplishments,” says Reverend Marlyn Bussey, who has served as Pastor of St. James since 2009. “We chose words that would embody who she was – a woman of deep faith, family-oriented, and someone with military precision in her mission to keep people safe while also getting them to freedom.”

On March 16th, Rev. Bussey will give a brief history of Harriet Tubman as an
AME Zionite and offer a prayer.

“This unveiling is historic and monumental in scope, in light of the current political environment we live in, that a Black woman would be honored in this way in the richest county in California,” Pastor Bussey declares. “When she is honored, the church she loved is also honored. We are the ‘Freedom Church,’ and she represents our moniker in grand style.”


March 16th, 10:45 am – 11:45 am
**Unveiling at 11:30 am


126 N. Rollins Road, Millbrae, California 94030


10:50 am – 11:00 am

Musical Celebration
Joshua James, Recording Artist
Songs: Go Down Moses & A Change Is Gonna Come

11:00 am – 11:30 am


Rev. Dr. Marlyn Bussey, Pastor, St. James AME Zion Church
Michael Van Every, President & Managing Partner of Republic Urban Properties
Destiny Muhammad, Composer Bandleader Harpist
to perform Deep River & Wade in the Water, Authors Unknown
Maurice Goodman, City of Millbrae Vice Mayor
Janice Li, BART Board President
Alexis Lewis, San Mateo NAACP
Cheryl Derricotte, Artist Freedom’s Threshold

11:30 am – 11:45 am
Freedom’s Threshold Statue Unveiling

Destiny Muhammad to perform the song Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,
Author James Weldon Johnson & J. Rosemond Johnson

11:45 am – 12:30 pm

Maggie Rich
+1 775-772-2406