Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Slaves Called Her "Moses"

Harriet Tubman

"I was 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," remembered Harriet Tubman.

She escaped from slavery, but that was not enough. She returned more than a dozen times and led an estimated 300 slaves to freedom.

One of my favorite quotes about Tubman comes from famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass. In 1868, he sent Tubman a poetic letter, in which he compared himself with the woman slaves called Moses.

The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day--you in the night...The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism: Excepting John Brown--of sacred memory--I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than you have.

If you are going to be in the Chicago-area this evening and want to know more about Harriet Tubman, you are in for a treat.

Kathryn Harris, director of library services at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, will present the life of Harriet Tubman from 7 to 8 pm at Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Avenue, in Elgin.

For more information, call 847.429.4680

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