All honor to Harriet Tubman, in the arc of her life she drew strength from grief and pain, and sharing with each others. Denied her full pension after her Civil War army service, a healer during her work with Union soldiers in Hilton Head, SC (she saved many lives from dysentery through her knowledge of folk medicine, passed to her by the enslaved and from Native American traditions), she taught many of the camp’s contraband (the enslaved in Union camps who were without status during the war) how to earn their first income by cooking and working for the soldiers.
She also was the first woman to lead US troops in combat. Appointed by the Commander to lead the sweep of mines from the local rivers, she accepted the assignment and its dangers, and asked to handpick her men.
Doing that mission, she freed 900 slaves, the largest single emancipation event of the war. Along the rivers, word outraced the ships; “Moses is coming; Moses is coming,” the words repeated as the enslaved gathered children and belongings (accounts say a pig or two!) to crowd the decks of the ships bound for freedom in Hilton Head.
On the day of emancipation, its first celebration at the Hilton Head camp where she was a scout, spy, and nurse, her first words in the light of freedom, were “there’s a glory over everything.”
She has been lifted from behind history’s invisible veil. She who had a $40,000 bounty on her head, now has her portrait on money her status once denied.
In Hamilton’s Debt http://nyti.ms/26kH9lv
She has been lifted from behind history’s invisible veil. Her meaning stands on its own pillar, outside history’s logic, to share what we hold in common.
Praise be to God! Or whatever divine or material force for justice and peace you hold dear. This moment affirms faith and works stand above resistance. (And a tip of the cap to Barack; his guiding presence has brought us hope and change.)
Harriet Tubman Ousts Andrew Jackson in Change for a $20 http://nyti.ms/27LyDwv
Thank you for the comment, the poetry of which truly evokes its deserving subject.
~~Thank you for the history lesson, Walter. What an amazing person.
~~Beautiful tribute; thank you.
~~Thanks, Walter. We need to know why this woman belongs on our currency. Krugman has legions of economists to defend bankers.
~~She was an amazing woman. Can you recommend a good biography of her?
~~Thank you Walter, what a wonderful story about a great American woman.
~~I am embarrassed that I did not know about Harriet Tuban. I watched documentaries about the Civil war, but I do not recall anything was mentioned about her (not in any prominent way that I would remember.)
I am an immigrant, but that is no excuse. I will make sure my children who know about MLK and Rosa Parks learn about Harriet Tuban.
~~Sorry, I don’t the name of book at my my fingertips, but a few miles from here, Mary Beth, and not too far from anywhere in Mass., is the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn, NY, where you can learn about her life and see her home and a small museum. Just down the road from there, too, is the home, also open to the public, of her friend, William Seward, Lincoln’s Secretary of State.
~~Awesome! Thank you. My grandfather came from Auburn. I have never been there. Now I have two reasons to go.
To all: thank you for your warm replies! Several works about Harriet Tubman are worthy of a read. Esp. about her childhood, when she was struck in the head at 13, her skull “broken,” caved in by a 2 pound scale weight thrown by the property holder. It left her in a coma for months and with a lifetime of pain, hypersomnia, dizziness, and migraines. Also, during the war, in her fight for freedom, she never fired a shot!
Books: My own work, “A Glory Over Everything,” deals with several women with families from the era, including Harriet, who married a SC soldier she met in Hilton Head. The web reader/pdf download (or print purchase!) link: [http://www.magcloud.com/webviewer/397686?__r=11242&s=w].
Ann Petry has an excellent book by the same name for children; Dorothy Sterling’s biography for children remains one of the best, as is Nikki Grimes’.
Sarah Hopkins Bradford’s 1867 collaborative account, written with Harriet Tubman’s participation is an excellent primary source (free, as a google book).
Academically, both Willie Lee Rose and Barbara Fields put her life in context in their works, “The Port Royal Experiment” (Rose) and “Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground,” although neither is a biography.
The only book written by an African-American woman about her experiences in the Civil War mentions her time at Hilton Head. See Susie Baker Taylor, “Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33d United States Colored Troops.” (Free.)
Many others! Search!