Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Paying respects to a true American hero

by Sarah Morris - Copy Editor
Tue, Feb 20th 2018 12:00 pm

Arguably, one of the most remarkable women in United States history is Araminta Ross, or as most people know her, Harriet Tubman. Tubman was born into slavery in Dorchester County and suffered a brutal crack to the skull when an overseer threw an iron weight and it hit her in the head, leaving her unconscious for days, and affecting her for life.

When Tubman as 27-years-old in 1849, she escaped slavery, claiming that the “voice of the Lord” told her to go northward. She listened to him and ended up running away alone, following nothing but the North Star for guidance. Her journey consisted of traveling 90 miles on foot in about one week.

Tubman, a woman of deep Christian faith, continued to obey God’s instructions and visions to help her. When she finally made it to freedom, she decided to make more trips down south to save her family and other slaves. She claimed God would tell her where they would be safe to run and hide.

For years, Tubman was the “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. Formed in the early 19th century, the Underground Railroad was a network of connections between people born free, both white and black, and former slaves. Regardless of their social status, everyone worked to help Tubman and other slaves reach north, where freedom awaited. Insidivudals helped in whichever way they could, some   provided houses, transportation and aid to slaves trying to get to freedom.

The Underground Railroad existed before and during the Civil War. There were many famous supporters of the Underground Railroad, like Frederick Douglass, but the true person in charge of the system was, without a doubt, Tubman.

With a bounty on her head, which got as high as $40,000, Tubman risked her own life by going back down south 19 separate times to save her family and other slaves. She helped 300 slaves get to freedom and “never lost a passenger,” which got her the nickname “Moses,” after the biblical figure who led the Israelites out of Egypt.

In April of 2016, Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Tubman would replace Former President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, making her not only the first woman to be put on American paper currency, but also the first African American woman. However, United States Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in early January that he hasn’t committed to putting her on the bill just yet, so we might have to wait a little longer. 

Let’s hope, though, that by the time our kids are old enough to handle money, they’ll be paying with a great abolitionist, humanitarian and U.S. spy.

 

@selizabeth_96

smorr11@brockport.edu