Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist, humanitarian, and an armed scout, who was a spy for the Union Army during the American Civil War.  As a slave in Maryland, she was beaten and whipped as a child.  She suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate slave owner threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another slave and hit her instead.

In 1849, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia, but returned to Maryland in order to rescue her family and friends.  Traveling at night she secretly brought her family, friends and approximately seventy other slaves out of Maryland, and guided them to freedom.  One group at a time, she carried out thirteen missions, by using a secret network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.

After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, she began guiding runaway slaves to the safety of British North America and helped them find work.

In 1861, Julia W. Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic during the civil war, after she visited a Union Army camp and heard the soldiers singing “John Brown’s Body.”  Tubman helped white abolitionist John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry. 

After the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, as a cook, nurse, and as an armed scout and spy.  She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid at Combahee Ferry, which liberated more than 700 slaves.  After the war, she purchased the family home in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents.  She died in 1913, and became an icon of American courage and freedom.

On April 20, 2016, the Treasury Department announced a plan for Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson as the portrait on the $20 bill.

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