harriet tubman's underground railroad

Today In History

‘Harriet Tubman, abolitionist, author, and engineer of the Underground Railroad, led Union Army guerillas into South Carolina and freed nearly 800 slaves on this date June 2 1863. Tubman was the first woman in U.S. history to command an armed military raid.’
“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” - Harriet Tubman

(photo: Harriet Tubman)

- CARTER Magazine

anonymous asked:

Harriet Tubman was cynical, she would force people to escape against their own will with a gun to their head. She has more flaws than you think.

YEAH, YOU CAN MAKE ANYONE SOUND TERRIBLE IF YOU STRIP AWAY ENOUGH CONTEXT! 

YOU MAKE IT SOUND LIKE THERE WERE HAPPY SLAVES WHO WOULD HEAR A CLICK BEHIND THEM AND TURN TO SEE HARRIET TUBMAN SAYING “ESCAPE OR DIE, JERK, YOUR CHOICE.” THAT’S NOT HOW IT WENT DOWN. 

HARRIET TUBMAN WAS A CRIMINAL, WHICH I’M OKAY WITH BECAUSE THE LAW SHE WAS BREAKING WAS UNJUST, AND THAT’S WHY SHE PACKED HEAT. IF SHE WAS CAUGHT, SHE’D STAND A FIGHTING CHANCE OF DEFENDING THE PEOPLE SHE WAS ASSISTING. 

NOW, AS FOR “FORCING PEOPLE TO ESCAPE AGAINST THEIR OWN WILL.” THE PEOPLE SHE PULLED A GUN ON WERE ALREADY ON THE RAILROAD WITH HER OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL. THEY WERE PEOPLE WHO WERE TRYING TO ESCAPE, AND WHO KNEW ONCE THEY SET FOOT OFF THE PLANTATION THAT THERE WAS NO GOING BACK. THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO LEAVE THE PLANTATION WITH HER, BUT IF THEY DID, IT WAS “ESCAPE OR DIE TRYING.”

HOWEVER, IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON FOR THEM TO TRY AND TURN BACK ANYWAY. TRYING TO ESCAPE WAS DANGEROUS AND MISERABLE, AND STOCKHOLM SYNDROME IS A THING. MANY OF THEM GOT COLD FEET WITH THE PROSPECT OF THE UNKNOWN STRUGGLE OF A FREE PERSON IN THE NORTH, WHICH FOR ALL THEY KNEW WOULD BE WORSE THAN THE FAMILIAR STRUGGLE OF A SLAVE IN THE SOUTH. MANY OF THE OTHERS FIGURED THEY’D BE CAUGHT AND RETURNED ANYWAY AND THAT THEIR PUNISHMENT WOULD BE LESS SEVERE IF THEY TURNED THEMSELVES IN AND BLEW THE WHISTLE ON TUBMAN AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. EVEN IF THIS WASN’T THEIR PLAN, ANYONE WHO’D SEEN HOW THE RAILROAD OPERATES WHO RETURNED TO THE PLANTATION WOULD BE TORTURED INTO GIVING UP THAT INFORMATION. 

ANYONE WHO WENT BACK TO THEIR PLANTATION PUT THE REST OF THE RUNAWAYS, PRESENT AND FUTURE, IN DANGER, AND TUBMAN COULDN’T ALLOW THEM TO BLOW HER COVER AND GET ALL THE PEOPLE SHE WAS TRYING TO PROTECT CAPTURED OR KILLED. SO YES, WHEN SOMEONE ATTEMPTED TO TAKE SENSITIVE INFORMATION ABOUT THE METHODS OF THE RESISTANCE BACK INTO ENEMY TERRITORY, SHE’D PULL A GUN ON THEM AND GIVE THEM THE CHOICE BETWEEN GETTING TO “LIVE NORTH FREE, OR DIE HERE.”

BUT I WANT YOU TO STOP THINKING ABOUT HARRIET AS A CIVILIAN FOR A MOMENT. SHE WAS A SOLDIER, A SPY, AND AN INSURGENT REVOLUTIONARY IN A WAR THAT STARTED CENTURIES BEFORE THE SOUTHERN STATES SECEDED. THE RUNAWAYS IN HER CARE CARRIED INFORMATION THAT WOULD ALLOW THE ENEMY TO WIN THE WAR, AND I’M CURIOUS AS TO WHAT YOU WOULD HAVE HER DO. 

SHOULD SHE ALLOW PEOPLE WHO KNEW ALL THE RESISTANCE’S TRICKS AND SECRETS TO ALLY THEMSELVES WITH THE ENEMY BECAUSE THEY’D LOST FAITH THE WAR COULD BE WON? SHOULD SHE HAVE SENT THEM HOME WITH A BAG LUNCH FOR THE ROAD AS LONG AS THEY PINKY-PROMISED THAT THEY WOULDN’T TELL? 

BECAUSE REALLY YOU ONLY HAVE TWO OPTIONS: WOULD YOU RATHER “HARRIET TUBMAN OCCASIONALLY PULLED A GUN ON PEOPLE ATTEMPTING TO BETRAY HER AND THE PEOPLE UNDER HER PROTECTION TO PEOPLE WHO WOULD ENSLAVE AND MURDER THEM WITHOUT LOSING A WINK’S SLEEP,” OR “THE SLAVE STATES LEARNED THE SECRETS OF THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, RECAPTURED THE RUNAWAY SLAVES, AND KILLED HARRIET TUBMAN SO SHE COULDN’T LEAD ANYONE ELSE TO FREEDOM?” 

I KNOW THERE’S PROBABLY A MIDDLE GROUND, BUT I’M TELLING YOU AS A HISTORIAN THAT THE LATTER IS THE MOST LIKELY SCENARIO, AND WHEN YOU’VE LIVED THE HORRORS HARRIET TUBMAN HAS LIVED, YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO TAKE THE CHANCE THAT YOU MIGHT GET LUCKY AND THINGS WON’T GO WRONG. 

from a comrade

The people who sheltered Jews in hidden rooms and attics and basements during the Holocaust were breaking the law. The people who smuggled 7,000 Jews out of Denmark were breaking the law. Schindler was breaking the law. The Underground Railroad broke the law. Harriet Tubman broke the law. MLK broke the law. Hell, the fucking Boston Tea Party broke the law.

If saving friends and family and innocent people is breaking the law, break the law. If standing up for truth and justice is breaking the law, break the law.

The law is unjust. The law is morally wrong. Break the fucking law.

CLF: Tendrement, Pasionement (H)

A/N: Yes, I know this is coming up early, but I’m spending time with some friends tonight, and I won’t be able to post. Also, I am aware this is long ish, but the only other place I would have broken it in would have put the final part at like, 500 words and that’s stupid.

A/N: Tendrement, Pasionement is DONE. Now we move onto Part Three, which probably won’t start getting posted until Saturday. There WILL, however, be a PSA regarding Part Three (A La Folie), since it deals with some extremely sensitive, possibly triggering material.

WARNINGS: First fight! Swearing, angst, angst, angst, a tiny bit of fluff, smut at the end, you’re going to get your heart broken, sorry

WORD COUNT: 2974

MASTERLIST

SONG TRACK: Marry Me–Train & Hallelujah–Jeff Buckley (I listened to this one on repeat while writing the end of this chapter and heard a fucking train whistle right in the middle of it)

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A Horoscope of Powerful Women

Aries: Gloria Steinem - journalist, activist for women in the media

Taurus: Queen Elizabeth II - longest-reigning queen in history

Gemini: Laverne Cox - actress, LGBTQ and trans-rights activist

Cancer: Malala Yousafzai - activist, youngest Nobel prize laureate in history

Leo: JK Rowling - UK’s best-selling living author

Virgo: Beyonce Knowles - singer, women and African American rights activist

Libra: Julie Payette - astronaut, holder of 26 honorary degrees

Scorpio: Elizabeth Cady Stanton - feminist, abolitionist, suffragist

Sagittarius: Ella Baker - civil rights activist and leader

Capricorn: Michelle Obama - lawyer, health activist

Aquarius: Harriet Tubman - Underground Railroad conductor, abolitionist

Pisces: Janet Mock - writer, trans-rights activist

Five You Should Know: Organizing for Change

As we begin Women’s History Month, we are excited to highlight the efforts and the abilities of African American women. African American women have made tremendous contributions toward the freedom, equality and thriving culture of African American communities. However, these stories are often historically lost to us or overlooked within the American story.

The women here represent a continual pursuit of equality through organizing, led by African American women. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and join us in sharing #HiddenHerstory during the month of March. 

1. Hallie Quinn Brown

Photo: Photo from Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction, edited by Hallie Quinn Brown, 1926. 

Hallie Quinn Brown (1849-1949) helped organize the Colored Women’s League in Washington, D.C., one of the organizations that merged in 1896 to become the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). She served as president of the NACW, from 1920 to 1924. Brown is among many other notable founders of the NACW, to include Harriet Tubman, Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells.

Brown also served as President of the Ohio State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs between 1905 and 1912. During her last year as president of the NACW, she spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Brown had a reputation as a powerful orator. In 1899, while serving as a U.S. representative, she spoke before the International Congress of Women meeting in London, UK on women’s suffrage and civil rights.

2. Madam C.J. Walker

Photo: From Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction, edited by Hallie Quinn Brown, 1926. 

Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919) is widely known for her successful beauty and haircare business, produced by her Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. However, Walker’s life also includes a long history of activism and philanthropy toward racial equality and civil rights. During World War I, Walker was a leader in the Circle For Negro War Relief, in the effort to establish a training camp for black army officers. In 1917, she joined the executive committee of the New York chapter of the NAACP, which organized the Silent Protest Parade on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. More than 8,000 African Americans participated in protest of a riot in East Saint Louis that killed thirty-nine African Americans.

Walker was also a supporter of Marcus Garvey, donating to the mission of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She was joined by Garvey and others when she founded The International League for Darker People in 1919 in the U.S. The organization aimed to bring together African Americans with other non-European people to pursue shared goals at the Paris Peace Conference following World War I. In particular, the organization made connections between Asian and black communities and for solidarity within their liberation movements. Walker’s life of activism is a reflection of her desire for global equality.

3. Barbara Smith

Photo: Portrait of Barbara Smith.

In 1973, author and lesbian feminist Barbara Smith, with other delegates, attended the first regional meeting of the National Black Feminist Organization (NBFO) in 1973 in New York City. This meeting resulted in the founding of the Combahee River Collective. The Collective’s name was suggested by Smith, who owned the book, Harriet Tubman, Conductor on the Underground Railroad by Earl Conrad. The name commemorated an action at the Combahee River planned and led by Harriet Tubman on June 2, 1863, in the Port Royal region of South Carolina. The action freed more than 750 slaves and is the only military campaign in American history planned and led by a woman. The Combahee River Collective emphasized the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and class oppression in the lives of African American women and other non-white women.

Smith also established the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press in 1980, an activist feminist press that published several pamphlets and books. Many of these works became widely influential and adopted into many courses of study. Smith continued her work as a community organizer, when she was elected to the Albany, New York city council in 2005. She was an advocate for violence prevention, and educational opportunities for poor, minority and underserved people. Smith continues to be activist for economic, racial and social inequality.

4. Marsha P. Johnson

PhotoMarsha P. Johnson Black & white version of Andy Warhol Polaroid.

Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992), a drag queen and gay liberation activist, is known as one of the first to fight back in the  Stonewall riots, a series of violent demonstrations among the LGBT against police raids. In the 1970s, Johnson and a friend, Sylvia Rivera, cofounded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an organization that promoted the visibility of the gay community, particularly through gay liberation marches and other political actions. The organization also worked to provide food and clothing for young drag queens, trans women and other kids living in the streets in the Lower East Side of New York. In the 1980s, she continued her street activism as a, organizer and with the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP). 

5. Charlene Carruthers

Photo: Charlene Carruthers, Photo Courtesy of BYP100 Project.

Charlene Carruthers is a black queer feminist activist and organizer. In July 2013, Carruthers with 100 other black activist leaders from across the U.S. were assembled by the Black Youth Project in Chicago for a meeting. The meeting convened with the goal of building networks of organization for black youth activism across the country. However, it was the verdict of George Zimmerman regarding the death of Trayvon Martin, that inspired Carruthers and the other activists to form Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100). The group was created to organize and promote young black activism in resistance to structural forms of  oppression. BYP100 trains youth to be leaders, to empower a younger generation of black activist. 

HARRIET

harriet
if i be you
let me not forget
to be the pistol
pointed
to be the madwoman
at the rivers edge
warning
be free or die
and isabell
if i be you
let me in my
sojourning
not forget
to ask my brothers
ain’t i a woman too
and
grandmother
if i be you
let me not forget to
work hard
trust the Gods
love my children and
wait.                        

Lucille Clifton

Harriet Tubman – RIP March 10, 1913

Conductor on the Underground Railroad, Armed Insurrectionist, Suffragist, Nurse

“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” 

Image: MONUMENT TO HARRIET TUBMAN (Front View)
by Mike Alewitz/ 2000

Destroyed by City Officials of Cambridge, MD

Images of the Censored Murals

Via Mike Alewitz

DBQ/FRQ First Aid (Precolonial to Imperialism)

Tomorrow, you will be taking the APUSH Advanced Placement Exam. Determining on what college you want to go to, at least a three is commonplace. I don’t know about you guys, but my biggest problem is going the length of an entire essay (for example if they want me to talk about Colonial Times through the Revolution, but they just write “1763-1781” I wouldn’t know what to write about). Furthermore, I’m going to list eras, what happening during them in chronological order and a very brief description of what they did. Keep in mind that many eras (such as the 1960’s) are important both in foreign policy and domestic affairs. I will divide them accordingly. The DBQ will not ask for specific years, but it’s better to have a general understanding of the era they are asking you about so you can throw in some “specific evidence” to get that 7-9 essay. This chart is also particularly helpful with the FRQ. Anyway, let’s begin.

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Supercomputing reveals centuries of stories, experiences of Black women

Women’s History Month is perfect timing for this story—a story about a quest to reveal the lives and experiences of Black women in the U.S. during the last three centuries. Hear from the group of researchers collaborating and using ‪NSF-funded‬ XSEDE supercomputing to fulfill this quest. Their discussion is on Advancing Discovery, a featured podcast at Science360 Radio: Science360.gov/radio

Above: Ruby Mendenhall, an associate professor of sociology, African American studies and urban and regional planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is leading a collaboration of social scientists, humanities scholars and digital researchers that hopes to harness the power of high-performance computing to find and understand the historical experiences of black women by searching two massive databases of written works from the 18th through 20th centuries. The team also is developing a common toolbox that can help other digital humanities projects. Credit: Brian Stauffer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Above: Nicole Brown is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and part of Ruby Mendenhall’s group. She is interpreting the computational results in light of black feminist theory. Credit: Nicole Brown

Above: Harriet Tubman is famous as an abolitionist, Underground Railroad leader and women’s suffrage pioneer. Credit: H. B. Lindsley – National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Public Domain (PD-1875)

Above: Sculptor Edmondia Lewis (1844-1907) was the first woman of African- and Native-American descent to achieve notoriety in the fine arts world. She spent most of her career in Rome. Credit: Henry Rocher – National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Public Domain