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International Honor Society in Social Sciences
The mission of Pi Gamma Mu is to encourage and promote excellence in the Social Sciences and to uphold and nurture scholarship, leadership, and service.

PI GAMMA MU 2ND VICE PRESIDENT INVITED TO ATTEND A SHIP NAMING CEREMONY IN HONOR OF HARRIET TUBMAN


Clara Small and The Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro

Pi Gamma Mu 2nd Vice President, Dr. Clara Small, was recently invited by The Secretary of the Navy, The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, to attend a Ship Naming Ceremony in honor of abolitionist and social activist Harriet Tubman (1822-1913).  The Secretary announced the naming of the ship on September 17, 2023 at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Church Creek, MD.  Del Toro made the announcement during an Emancipation Celebration at the Center.  National Park Service Director Chuck Sams, who is also a Navy Veteran, joined Secretary Del Toro for the announcement. 

The future USNS Harriet Tubman follows the tradition of naming John Lewis-class oilers after civil rights leaders and is the second vessel to bear Tubman’s name.  The first was a Liberty ship built during World War II. 

After escaping slavery herself, Tubman helped approximately 70 enslaved people escape slavery using the network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.  During the American Civil War she served as a scout and spy for the Union Army.  In 1863, she helped plan and execute a raid on Combahee Ferry near Port Royal, South Carolina, guiding Union Naval ships carrying 300 Black troops.  The raid resulted in the liberation of more than 750 enslaved people.  In her later years, Tubman continued to advocate for the rights of Black Americans and was an activist in the women’s suffrage movement alongside Susan B. Anthony.

In recognition of her contributions to understanding and documenting the history of Black Americans on the Delmarva Peninsula of the Eastern Shore of the United States, Dr. Clara Small was extended a personal invitation to attend the Ship Naming Ceremony.  Dr. Small is a historian who has dedicated her life to teaching and telling the story of Black Americans from the Delmarva Peninsula.  Professor Emeritus at Salisbury University, Dr. Small spent 36 years teaching history and related courses at the University.  It has been argued that she is the region’s foremost scholar on the history of Black America on the Delmarva Peninsula. 

Dr. Small has authored or co-authored several books including:

  • Reality Check: Brief Biographies of African-Americans on Delmarva
  • Compass Points: Profiles & Biographies of African Americans from the Delmarva Peninsula, Volumes 1,2, & 3


Clara Small and Chuck Sams, National Park Service Director, first Native American to hold the position and Veteran of the US Navy.


Clara Small and Ventris Gibson, 40th Director of the United States Mint and first Black person to head the bureau, and Veteran of the US Navy

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