Harriet Tubman

“There are two things I’ve got a right to, and these are death and liberty. One or the other I mean to have.”

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

She escaped her life as an abused slave in Maryland and is credited with having made 18 trips back into the South to lead hundreds of fugitive slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

If the leonine Frederick Douglass took a political approach to ending slavery, the woman called “Moses” by many black Americans was more interested in the practicalities of hitting slavery where it lived. During the war she served as a valuable Union scout, nurse and spy behind Southern lines. She viewed Lincoln as an unreliable and lukewarm friend of blacks until he took the step of issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.

On the Real Issue of the War

“They may send the flower of their young men to die…. They may send them one year, two year, three year, till they tire of sending or till they use up the young men. All of no use. God is ahead of Mr. Lincoln.

“Suppose there was an awful big snake down there on the floor. He bites you. Folks are all scared, because you’ll die. You send for a doctor to cut out the bite; but the snake is rolled up there, and while the doctor is doing it, he bites you again. The doctor cuts out that bite; but while he’s doing it, the snake springs up and bites you again. And so he keeps doing, till you kill him.

“That’s what Mr. Lincoln ought to know.”

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