We all know the name, Harriet Tubman. We learned a little bit about her in school, probably. And most of us know that she was a part of the Underground Railroad, and that she helped slaves to freedom.
But wow. What a life she had. What a woman she was.
There are some people here on earth who are truly heroes. She was one.
Yes. We all know her as Harriet Tubman. But her real name, the name she went by for the first quarter of her life was Araminta Harriet Ross.
Her Mom was named Harriet “Rit” Green, and her Dad was a guy named Ben Ross. Everybody called Harriet… or Arminta… “Minty”. Minty Ross. Sounds a little bit like a stripper, doesn’t it? But she was far from that.
She was a slave. Yes, born into slavery, in Maryland, around 1820 or so. And as with most slaves, she encountered so much abuse and pain in her life. Physically, she sustained several injuries. The worst occurred when she was struck in the head with a two-pound weight. A slave owner hurled it at her. Minty (Harriet Tubman) endured seizures, severe headaches and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life. She also experienced intense dream states, which she classified as religious experiences.
It seems to me, she was filled with a unique and persevering spirit.
I don’t know how many of us would have been able to survive the most of this, let alone rise above it. But she did. She just kept doing the next right thing.
In 1844, Harriet married a free black man named John Tubman. There really is not too much known about John Tubman or this marriage. And,… if they had any kids… they would have been enslaved… since she was still a slave. At any rate, this is the time she changed from Minty Ross to Harriet Tubman (using her middle name in honor of her mother, most likely).
When her owner died, Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849, fleeing to Philadelphia. She could EASILY have just settled in there, baking biscuits, and sewing dresses… in the safety of the North. But nopers. Tubman made it her mission to rescue her family and others living in slavery.
She literally helped hundreds of slaves find their way to freedom by traveling the Underground Railroad. When the Civil War broke out, Tubman continued her work.
She took a place on the Union Army as a cook and nurse…. and… it was not long after that… Tubman quickly became an armed scout and spy. SHE was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. Amazingly, remarkably… she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.
It goes on and on. And on and on. Even after slavery was abolished, she continued to help others. Tubman dedicated her life to helping impoverished former slaves and the elderly, establishing her own Home for the Aged. Her entire life, she followed the light.
She had lots of health problems late in life, and died in 1913 of pneumonia. What a sad day, for humanity. For life. For freedom.
What a champion she was. A remarkable human, of epic proportions. I am thankful for, and grateful to, Ms. Harriet Tubman.
My thought is this. Our lives present us with challenges. Obstacles. Things in our path. But we are here to learn and grow. As such, we are all remarkable human beings. We just need to choose so.
Our paths might not take us on the “epic” scale, such as Harriet. But we can do the little things, the every day things, which make a difference. We just keep doing the next right thing. As little as it might seem in the moment, it truly is remarkable in following the light.
“Strong people don’t put others down… They lift them up.”
― Michael P. Watson
“She made broken look beautiful
and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe
on her shoulders and made it
look like a pair of wings.”
― Ariana Dancu
“The strongest people find the courage and caring to help others, even if they are going through their own storm.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart