I AM HARRIET, Not For Sale!

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The current Harriet Tubman House at 566 Columbus Ave was built by the community members of South End Boston, brick by brick.  It was intended to provide social services for a diverse community, which it has done for decades. It is now closed for public access.

New Boston Ventures has made a bid on the Harriet Tubman House with plans to demolish and rebuild it into a six story condo complex that will include one floor of "communal space," gallery space, 11 out of 66 "affordable living units," and a cafe. Although there are rumors that the sale has been finalized in order to discourage folks from continuing to fight, the sale CANNOT go through if the community does not want it to. 

New Boston Venture's development team has crafted a proposal that may appeal to the current plight of displaced artists in Boston and reserves a small rental space for United South End Settlements to remain . Yet the proposal also appropriates the history of African American contributions to Boston and does not recognize what they are taking away from the community that labored for The Harriet Tubman House to exist. The sale of this building will displace and decentralize six non-profits that have provided programming for thousands of people. Our communal spaces -- spaces that have been used for organizing meetings, senior programming, community dinners, birthday celebrations, health services, GED programs, and more -- would effectively be reduced from a whole building to a mere corner of the first floor of a building. This downsizing of the true purpose of the building will limit public access and increase competition for space and programming within a community that already has limited meeting space.

More important: the displacement of the six non-profits housed at the Harriet Tubman House -- in addition to the services they provide -- would cause the erosion of our community’s diversity and uniqueness, and it would contribute to the increasing homogenization of the neighborhood. 

The Harriet Tubman House must be preserved in its present form as a memorial to a beloved leader, as a symbol for freedom and as a neighborhood space for cultural diversity, education, and public service.  It should remain in compliance with the requirements for buildings receiving public funds.

We the undersigned support keeping the historic Harriet Tubman House at 566 Columbus Avenue as it has been outlined in the South
End Urban Renewal Plan. 

We implore USES’ Board, The Boston Planning and Development Agency, and the City of Boston to keep it as a much-needed community facility.