BLACK HISTORY 2018 – HARRIET TUBMAN
Harriet Tubman, born in Maryland in 1820 in late February, was an underground railroad conductor and fundraiser before the Civil War. And a nurse, cook, spy, and general during the war. After escaping to freedom in 1849, she returned at least 19 times from 1850 to 1861 to rescue approximately 300 enslaved people, including her parents. Because Harriet’s skull had been fractured when an overseer threw a 2lb. iron weight at her, she would fall asleep at inopportune times—making her rescues even more dangerous. Harriet worked as a cook, laundress, and scrubwoman in Cape May, New Jersey to fund these freedom raids.
General Tubman, on June 2, 1863, led 150 African Americans from the 54th Regiment (the “Glory” Regiment) up the Combahee River in South Carolina to destroy Confederate holdings and emancipate nearly 800 enslaved people. Harriet Tubman was the first American woman to plan, lead, and successfully execute a military victory. It took over 30 years and seven presidential administrations for her to finally receive a $20 a month military pension. After the war, she was active in the women’s rights movement and established a home for the aged in Auburn, New York, where she also owned a house and property. She died in her home for the aged on March 10, 1913, at the age of 93. Harriet Tubman was buried with full military honors in Fort Hill Cemetery. March 10th is celebrated as Harriet Tubman Day in Auburn, New York.
- “If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I could have freed thousands more.”
- “I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.”
- I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person now that I was free. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold thru the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.”
- “But to this solemn resolution I came: I was free, and they should be free also; I would make a home for them in the North, and the Lord helping me, I would bring them all there.”
- “I am sitting under the old roof 12 feet from the spot where I suffered all the crushing weight of slavery. Thank God the bitter cup is drained of its last dreg. There is no more need of hiding places to conceal slave Mothers. Yet it was little to purchase the blessings of freedom. I could have worn this poor life out to save my Children from the misery and degradation of Slavery.”