Black History: The Legendary Harriet Tubman

Sometimes when we think of legionary outlaws who devoted their life efforts to help a downtrodden and persecuted people, figures like Robin Hood or some other dashing male hero comes to mind.  In black history, we really have such a character but this champion of her people didn't ride the forests with merry men.  Harriet Tubman, a modest and diminutive black woman truly measures up as such a profoundly legendary figure that her efforts would rival Robin Hood’s or any other hero of cultural legend.  Its a small wonder she was often pertained to as “Moses of her People.”

Harriett Tubman was born in 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland to a slave family of the estate owned by Anthony Thompson.  During her slave years, she bore many hardships and cruel treatment which left her with scars and even as susceptibleness to epileptic seizures that resulted from a head injury.  It was usual for slaves to change hands and that was part of Harriet’s life as well.  Finally in 1849, she escaped to freedom but she by far didn't run away from her people.

In the next few years Harriet Tubman became a true warrior for the redemption of her people who were locked away in slavery.  Harriet did not just find a safe place and count her blessings for making it to freedom.  She figured the need for the Underground Railroad in the salvation of hundreds of those a lot like her and it became her life’s mission to preserve the regional stations of that railroad for as long as it required to give liberty to all who had the bravery to flee slavery via that resource.

Harriet Tubman demonstrated the kind of courage, resourcefulness and intellect that a field general for any army would be proud to boast.  When totaled, Tubmen lead 13 separate missions to bring African Americans to freedom along the Underground Railroad. That implies that she personally lead over seventy slaves to freedom and had a solid influence on the freeing of at least that many more.  And by holding the Underground Railroad operational and out of the reach of slave hunters and authorities who tried to shut it down, she indirectly was influential in the redemption of hundreds, possibly thousands more.  Who can say how many prosperous and influential black families in this country nowadays owe the lives of their ancestors and the success they have accomplished since those dark days to the brave work of Harriet Tubman.

When Civil War came, Harriet did not retire gratified that she had done her work for her people.  She continued to work inexhaustibly for abolitionist movements and to do her part for the war effort.  She became among the first ever female spies for the North during the war and her military skills were so well developed that she actually was installed in a position of leadership to command the raid on Combahee Ferry in 1863.
After the Civil War was over, Harriet Tubman carried on her work on behalf of abolitionist movements and for women’s rights until she retired to pen her memoirs.  Her contribution during this pivotal time in black history was so venerated that the US Postal Service honored her with a stamp in 1978.
There have been several heroes and heroines in the long uphill struggle for liberation, equality, and freedom for African Americans in this country.  During this barbarous time when Harriet Tubman stood in the gap for her people, the plight of black Americans was as much life-or-death as any other time in history.  Small wonder her name is revered as among the icons of the fight for freedom before the Civil War.  And small wonder she was referred to as Moses to Her People and will be thought of in that way for generations to come.

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom
Courage to Run: A Story Based on the Life of Harriet Tubman