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'They went underground' to vandalize historic Harriet Tubman High School

Posted at 7:22 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 19:22:01-04

BALTIMORE — A former graduate of the only school in Howard County for Black people during segregation is left questioning why vandals trashed Harriet Tubman High School.

"They say Harriet Tubman came through here," said Freddie Mott.

Mott grew up hearing stories about Harriet Tubman, his high school's name sake and now preserving the history where he walked the halls, has its own challenges.

Workers arrived to continue renovating the building into a recreational center Tuesday and found red flags all over it.

"Because of all the items that were laying on the floor in the hallway, tables overturned, and we have a check in counter and that was flipped over," said George Tanner, the superintendent of the construction site.

But some of the more significant damage was done to art work, and keepsakes that honor the history of Harriet Tubman High.

"Why would they why would they try to destroy something that brings us back into our time like for us? it was mostly all of the black things that they destroyed and it wasn’t anything else for them in there to destroy but what memories they were trying to keep," Mott questioned.

Authorities say who ever broke into the building broke windows, damaged picture frames and destroyed paintings.

Howard County Police are investigating if the vandalism was racially motivated but while they work to determine a motive, Freddie Mott says he's more disturbed by the vandal's method.

"To me its just funny how they did it," Mott said.

They apparently got into the future rec center...ironically...not through the main entrances...but underground.

"We think they came in through the cross space underneath the building which comes down into the boiler room and then up into the building from there.
adding insult to injury," Tanner shared.

"It hit home because they're saving everything that was in the school because it was an all black school up until 65 the only black high school in Howard County," Mott reflected.

While the vandalism didn't put a halt on the renovation project it did tack on about $10,000 toward it's budget.