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Artist Cheryl Dericotte shows President and Managing Partner of Republic Urban Properties, Michael Van Every, the process involved in creating "Freedom's Threshold."

The city of Millbrae, California, a suburb of San Francisco is introducing   "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 city's new transit plaza and is a part of  Republic Urban Properties', Gateway @ Millbrae Station project, a 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."

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 the sculpture, I wanted to make sure she has the stature she deserves.

For more information call Maggie Rich at (775) 772-2406 or Terry Downing at (408) 838-0962.

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