Monday, January 27, 2020

Reach for the stars to change the world…

I recently watched the motion picture, Harriet. The movie was excellent. The writing, actors, and settings are some of the best I’ve seen as far as historical movies go. While I watched this emotional story unfold, I questioned what was real and what was contrived by Hollywood for my viewing pleasure. So, let’s take a look at this remarkable woman’s life.

The truth about Harriet Tubman is as amazing as the movie portrays.

Born sometime between 1820 and 1825 in Dorchester County Maryland, Araminta Harriet Ross (nicknamed Minty) had a clear sense of justice from a young age. Maybe because she carried scars from a whipping she received when she was five or six years old. Or maybe because of the daily violence she was subjected to on the plantation where she lived. Whatever the reason, the most severe injury Harriet received in slavery, happened while she was defending a fellow slave who had left the fields without permission. An overseer was threatening the man and threw a two-pound weight at him. Harriet moved in front of the slave and consequently the weight struck her in the head. For the remainder of her life, Tubman suffered severe headaches, bouts of narcolepsy, and vivid dreams she called visions from God.
Harriet Tubman
Stipulations in the will of the man who owned Harriet and her family stated that her family should have been freed after his death, but his son and wife chose not to carry out his wishes. Though Harriet’s father had been freed before their owner’s death.

Fear of being sold further south, Harriet escaped without a plan and then made the trip almost solely on foot from Maryland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania completely alone. Her main focus…follow the North star. She crossed into the free state of Pennsylvania with liberation and reverence and later recollected: “When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.” (Harriet Tubman, Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman By Sarah Hopkins Bradford.)

Harriet couldn’t live with the thought of her family still in bondage, so she made her first trip back into slave country about a year after her escape. It’s estimated she made a total of 19 trips and led many others to their freedom in the North. She was never caught and stated, “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say — I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” (Harriet Tubman at a suffrage convention, NY, 1896.)

The beginning of the Civil War gave Harriet another means to rescue more people. She first worked as a cook, then a nurse, then she began to scout and eventually spy for the Union. Harriet Tubman was the first woman—black or white—to lead an armed expedition in the war. The South Carolina, Combahee River Raid, liberated more than 750 people.
Harriet, her 2nd husband and family
Harriet Tubman continued to serve others even after the war. She and her second husband, Nelson Davis (who was at least twenty years her younger) lived on a small farm in Auburn, NY where they ran a brick-making business and cared for Harriet’s family and aging former slaves.
Harriet Tubman
At the age of approximately 93, Harriet passed away from complications due to pneumonia. She was buried with full military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.

Harriet Tubman was a woman from whom we can all learn.


Multi-award-winning author, Michele K. Morris’s love for historical fiction began
when she first read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House book series. She grew up riding horses and spending her free time in the woods of mid-Michigan. Michele now lives with her six children, three in-loves and ten grandchildren in the great Sunshine State. Michele loves to hear from readers on Facebook, Twitter, and here through the group blog, Heroes, Heroines, and History at

Michele is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

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