The name of this great girl is “Harriet Tubman”.
If I must say, she has never left my top 100 list of women whose lives touched mine!
I will tell you why!
Photo credit: Time
I first got to know something about her from my social media.
There is that black and white picture of hers that is always shared; it had a very insightful caption to it.
That’s when I tickled my browser and books about her.
This is when I got to know that her parents nicknamed her “Minty” and named her “Araminta Ross”.
Photo credit: One United Lancaster
I like referring to my girl here as the “chief conductor of the underground railroad.”
She was enslaved, escaped, and helped others gain their freedom using that railroad!
Photo credit: National Park Service
According to the National Women’s History Museum,
Early signs of Ross’s resistance to slavery and its abuses came at age twelve when she intervened to keep her master from beating an enslaved man who tried to escape!
She was hit in the head with a two-pound weight, leaving her with a lifetime of severe headaches and narcolepsy.
Photo credit: Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau
Additionally, although slaves were not legally allowed to marry, Tubman entered a marital union with John Tubman, a free black man, in 1844. She took his name and dubbed herself Harriet.
Tubman likely benefitted from this network of escape routes and safe houses in 1849, when she and two brothers escaped north.
Her husband refused to join her, and by 1851 he had married a free black woman.
Tubman returned to the South several times and helped dozens of people escape.
Photo credit: San Diego Local News
Her success led slaveowners to post a $40,000 reward (at the time) for her capture or death!
$40,000 in 1850 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1,567,646.15 today, an increase of $1,527,646.15 over 173 years (according to the Inflation Calculator).
Guess what; she was never caught and never lost a “passenger”!!!
Is it a wonder that our girl here served in the military and her knowledge of the railroad came in handy to the Union military commanders during the Civil War?
“As a Union spy and scout, Tubman often transformed herself into an aging woman. She would wander the streets under Confederate control and learn from the enslaved population about Confederate troop placements and supply lines. Tubman helped many of these individuals find food, shelter, and even jobs in the North. She also became a respected guerrilla operative. As a nurse, Tubman dispensed herbal remedies to black and white soldiers dying from infection and disease”. – National Women’s History Museum.
Quoting the National Women’s History Museum,
She married a Union soldier Nelson Davis, also born into slavery, who was more than twenty years her junior.
Residing in Auburn, New York, she cared for the elderly in her home and in 1874, the Davises adopted a daughter.
Photo credit: The New York Public Library Digital Collections
After an extensive campaign for a military pension, she was finally awarded $8 per month in 1895 as Davis’s widow (he died in 1888) and $20 in 1899 for her service.
In 1896, she established the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged on land near her home.
Tubman died in 1913 and was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.
Photo credit: Ebony Magazine
According to the History Channel,
Tubman even had a World War II Liberty ship named after her, the “SS Harriet Tubman”.
In 2016, the United States Treasury announced that Harriet’s image will replace that of former President and slaveowner Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (who served under President Trump) later announced the new bill would be delayed until at least 2026.
In January 2021, President Biden’s administration announced it would speed up the design process to mint the bills honoring Tubman’s legacy.
Photo credit: GovExec.com
Wouldn’t you love to see our girl on those bills?
I’d certainly keep a few bills for myself, with her print on them!
Ross, you will always remain on my mind.
Your courage and resilience will always be inspirational to me!
I celebrate you and love you very much!