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  • Cynthia MacGregor

HARRIET TUBMAN

As Black History Month gives way to Women’s History Month, AcuteByDesign salutes

Harriet Tubman, a woman of color and one who helped write history. By today’s

standards, Tubman would surely be called an activist and was instrumental in the

abolitionist fight. Born Araminta Ross around 1822 (exact date unknown), she was a

slave until she made her escape, after which she helped some 70 others escape

slavery as a “conductor” on the so-caled Underground Railroad.


During the Civil War, she served first as a cook and nurse but then as an armed scout

and spy for the North (the United States Army), fighting the forces of the South (the

Army of the Confederacy), which wanted to keep Blacks enslaved.


It was in 1849 that Harriet made her escape from slavery, which had inflicted not only

emotional wounds but also physical ones on her. As a child, she was beaten and

whipped by several masters, and at one time a slave owner threw a heavy metal weight

at another slave but missed and hit Harriet instead. This injury left her with permanent ill

effects including pain, dizziness, and hypersomnia.


After her escape to Philadelphia, instead of remaining in the safety of the North, she

returned to her home state of Maryland, intent on rescuing not just her immediate

relatives but her extended family as well, and then dozens of other slaves. She never

lost a “passenger” on her 13 trips to bring roughly 70 slaves to freedom and became

known as “Moses.”


Later she helped abolitionist John Brown in recruiting men for his famed raid on

Harper’s Ferry.


When the war was won and the slaves were freed, Harriet Tubman turned her feisty

spirit to the fight for women’s suffrage.


She eventually retired to a home on property in Auburn, New York, that she had bought

in 1859, and there cared for her aging parents. She had also helped to establish a home

for elderly African Americans some time earier, and eventually she needed to live there

herself as illness forced her to give up her home and her work in the women’s suffrage

movement.


Harriet Tubman, a devout Christian, left this world for a better place on March 10, 1913.

But surely she helped make this world a better place for POCs.

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