Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom

Harriet Tubman: The Road to FreedomHarriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton
Published by Back Bay Books on January 5th 2005
Pages: 304
ISBN: 0316155942
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“If you are tired, keep going; if you are scared, keep going’ if you are hungry, keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going.” – Harriet Tubman

I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one or two things I had a right to, liberty or death; If I could not have one, I would have the other. Harriet Tubman

Born and named Araminta by her parents, she later took her Mother’s Name (and possibly the name of one of her sisters), Harriett after she became free. “When Araminta escaped the hell of slavery for the “heaven” of liberty, she had “crossed the line of which she had so long been dreaming,” and was reborn as Harriet.”

What a fierce strong woman! Calling her fierce feels like an understatement. How does an individual born into slavery, be beaten and whipped, had family members sold never to be seen again, gather that little bit of something from down deep inside to make such a stand in life.

Not only did she help run the underground railroad, she served as nurse and spy in the Civil war, she was present at battles, she risked her life time and time again in the pursuit of freedom not just for herself, but for all slaves. She was also a strong supporter of women’s rights and fought hard to be treated as an equal.

Harriet Tubman referred to as the Moses of her people led over 300 slaves to freedom. She was known for carrying a gun and was reported as placing the gun to the head of a man who decided he would go back to the plantation and take his chances. She told he something to the effect of be free or die. In battle during the civil war , she was often refereed to as “a black woman” her name never given but it is estimated that she helped 700 slaves be freed during the Combahee raid.

She was known for her ability to blend in, she was smart, courageous., she put others first. Again and again while reading this book, I kept asking myself, ” where did she get it?” The “it” being that spark, that drive, that fight. I recall the words of a family member of mine who is a Holocaust survivor. She often says ” I have already lost everything that can be lost. I have have had taken, everything that can possibly be taken” I think this applies to Harriet Tubman. Born into slavery, beaten, she suffered a severe head wound when when a slaveholder was attempting to discipline another slave, she dug down deep inside of herself, in her own quiet way, she fought back.

She was deeply religious. The book tells how she often turned to God for help and guidance the way some might turn to a friend. She is quoted as saying that God never let her down. In her words she said “twaisn’t me, twas the lord! I always told him, “I trust to you. I don’t where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me” and he always did. She is refereed to as the Moses of her people. The book states she believed she was doing the Lord’s bidding.

This was an extremely educational book. I will admit that at times it felt like I was reading a school history book, but overall I enjoyed this book. There were times I thought the book would go off on a tangent and then bring things back to the point.

Overall a very inspirational read. I think books such as this should be taught in women’s studies courses (also in history courses, black history course, etc.) but as a woman, I see Harriet Tubman’s life as inspirational and shows what a woman can do; What a woman is capable of.


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