Pine Bluff native named first superintendent of new national park


The Harriet Tubman National Underground Railroad National Monument, one of America’s newest national parks, now has its first superintendent: Cherie Butler, a Pine Bluff native.

Butler has been serving as the monument’s acting superintendent since March of this year.

“Cherie has direct experience translating complex and sometimes controversial history into compelling public programming and interpretive media — an essential task in the development of the any new national park site,” said Dennis R. Reidenbach, National Park Service northeast regional director. “All these skills will be essential, not just for the success of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, but also to support the new leadership model for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program and develop strategies to further elevate one of our signature partnership programs.”

Butler is the daughter of former Pine Bluff High School Zebras track coach the late Andrew C. Butler and L.S. Butler. Butler is a 1989 graduate of Pine Bluff High School. She holds a Bachelor of Communications degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with post graduate studies at Temple University in Philadelphia.

“I look forward to exploring new and innovative ways to share the powerful life stories of Harriet Tubman, a remarkable woman whose legacy continues to impact the nation and the world to this day,” Butler said. “I am committed to strengthening current relationships, while also opening doors to new ones. Ms. Tubman’s history may be rooted in the waterways, roads and trails of Maryland, but her messages about freedom, honor and courage resonate around the world.”

Established by Presidential Proclamation on March 25, 2013, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument commemorates the life of the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad, a fearless woman who enabled many enslaved people to emancipate themselves and escape to freedom in the North. The new national monument is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman’s early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as an enslaved person and conductor of the Underground Railroad.