This Black History Month I’m Grateful for Harriet Tubman
"Every great dream begins
with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the
patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
— Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman spent several years of her life as one of the most
wanted people in America. Her exploits as a conductor on the Underground
Railroad were legendary even during her lifetime. She is reported to have made
more than a dozen successful return trips to the South after her own escape
from slavery. Ultimately, Tubman was reported to have led more than 300 slaves
to freedom in the North. Her reputation
was so substantial that at one point there was a $40 000 reward for her capture.
The reputation that Tubman garnered helped convince slaves
throughout the country that there were more possibilities for escape than had
been previously foreseen. Many escaped slaves reported that they were inspired
to escape since they only needed to leave the South once while Tubman did it
time after time. Clearly, Harriet Tubman was not just the most famous conductor
of the Underground Railroad. She was also a symbol for possibility.
Tubman’s contributions extend beyond those for which she is
most noted. She was an important speaker
and public figure in the national abolition movement and had important
relationships with Frederick Douglass and John Brown, both of whom expressed
their highest admiration for Tubman. Tubman even helped Brown recruit men to
help in his ill-fated attack on Harpers Ferry.
During the Civil War, Tubman
held many roles including as a spy and military adjutant, thoroughly
disregarding the notion of gendered boundaries in the process. This Moses for her people worked tirelessly
to free enslaved individuals and an enslaved people.
Today I am grateful for Harriet Tubman. You should be too.