Lovie Duncan honored by legislators

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/Tammy Lynndee
An exuberant Auriah Hope “Lovie” Duncan embraced her trip to Annapolis on Jan. 22. She is seen at the door to the Maryland House of Delegates.

ANNAPOLIS — When Auriah Hope “Lovie” Duncan reached out to touch the hand of Harriet Tubman in the Cambridge mural last year, the little girl probably had no idea how many would be affected by her gesture. After all, she was only 3 years old.

Michael Rosato’s creation on the outside wall of the Harriet Tubman Museum & Educational Center on Race Street shows the “Moses of her People” reaching toward the viewer. Visitors continue visit by the busload to see the moving image and touch the outstretched hand — but Lovie was one of the first.

A photo showed her placing her little hand in Tubman’s, as she smiled and looked over her shoulder at the camera. That photo quickly went viral, gaining exposure and praise across the nation.

One of those who was moved by the image was Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), who had a copy of the photo mounted in her office. But she didn’t stop there — she had Lovie, accompanied by her family and friends, come to Annapolis to be introduced to delegates.

“I can not begin to describe this day to you,” Lovie’s grandmother Tammy Lynndee recalled. “It may not seem like much to many, but to us, it was quite an experience. To hear Lovie being introduced on the House Floor by Speaker Jones, to listen as she read her introduction of Lovie, to hold back tears as she read and presented Lovie with the House Resolution, to look at that little face as members took pictures and videos and then gave her a standing ovation, all while being surrounded and supported by her sweet family, well, it was positively overwhelming. As we passed through the halls, Lovie was stopped and congratulated. Many told her they had seen her picture or have it in their home and asked to have a picture with her. To watch Lucy and our grandchildren walk the halls where so many great leaders have walked throughout the centuries was an experience. To see how much our world has changed and know the opportunities that lie ahead of all of them is thrilling.”

Speaker Jones presented Lovie with House Resolution 41, in recognition of “reaching your hand to touch the hand of the past as you strive to make a bright future.” Lawmakers responded with a enthusiastic applause.

“We cannot thank Speaker Adrienne Jones, her staff, the Department of Archives and all those that made today possible enough,” Ms. Lyndee wrote. “This is one for our history books for sure!”
Cheryl Anne Fehr-Banks posted her congratulations on social media, saying, “Wow! What an honor and what a beautiful soul!”