Celebrating Black History Month – Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman is the hero in a recent 2019 Hollywood feature film, and quite deservedly so.

Harriet was born into slavery as Araminta “Minty” Ross around March, 1822, and lived until March 10, 1913. She was born in Maryland and endured the typical hard life of a slave – beatings and whippings from an early age onwards.

In 1849, Harriet escaped north to Philadelphia, only to immediately go back for her family. She brought out groups of family and other escapees to freedom, usually traveling by night and being very, very cautious. She became known as “Moses”, for her actions.

When the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed into law, it no longer became safe for slaves to escape to the Northeast states, since now slave catchers could enter those states and return escaped slaves to their masters down South. Now, they had to cross over into Canada to be safe from recapture.

It is believed that, in an 11 year period, Harriet Tubman made around 13 trips back and forth, bringing some 70 or so slaves to freedom, making extensive use of the Underground Railroad network of sympathizers and supporters.

Sign in Nyack, NY

After the outbreak of the Civil War, Harriet joined with the Union Army as a cook, a nurse, then – later- as an armed scout and spy.

She eventually retired and lived on her own property in Auburn, NY, eventually passing away in 1913.

Even after the War, Harriet Tubman continued to speak out on women’s suffrage and equality until age and frailty overtook her towards the end of her life.

The things that Harriet Tubman did would’ve been exceptional in any era, but the fact that she did these things against the backdrop of slavery and the Civil War elevate her accomplishments to another level.

The fact that she was a BLACK WOMAN doing all this, mostly on her own, in such an era, is absolutely incredible.

Every accolade, praise, and honor offered up in her name is well-deserved. She was selfless, brave, committed to her cause, and yet – she remained humble and devout in her faith in God. She worked tirelessly for her whole life in the service of her people and is a true American hero, in every sense.

Here is a quick video clip of the Harriet Tubman Memorial (aka. ” Swing Low”) created by Alison Saar in 2008, at Harriet Tubman Triangle, which is at the intersection of St. Nicholas Avenue and Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, 10027.

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