Wednesday, September 9, 2015
What I'm Reading
This is the biography of Harriet Tubman, the "Moses of her People" who was instrumental in helping slaves escape via the Underground Railroad. It is quite well written; in fact, one of the cover blurbs on the back is from Doris Kearns Goodwin who says it reads like a novel and it does, even though it's highly footnoted.
I saw Harriet Tubman's house years ago in Auburn, New York. One thing I learned that was interesting is that many slaves who escaped from Virginia and Maryland went to Philadelphia where they were protected by Quakers. The author believes that this is where African-Americans developed calling each other brother and sister. I'd never thought of that.
When I would visit my friend Katrina in Frederick, Maryland, she lived out in the country in a new house, but the old house near them had been a station in the Underground Railroad which fascinated me. Also, where I grew up, in this road that goes along Long Island Sound, there was supposedly a house on that road as well that was an Underground Railroad house. Never knew that growing up, but it would make sense that that location would be prime to getting slaves further north, and possibly into Canada.
I always thought she was a large woman, but she was only five feet tall. It should go without saying, but I've been so struck by her bravery to returning to Maryland (where she was originally from) time and time again to help people escape. She became so well known and so hated among the plantation owners that huge rewards were offered for her capture.
Anyway, I thought it was a timely read since she is one of the women mentioned to be placed on currency although I don't think she'll be chosen. I bet Eleanor Roosevelt may be the one.