The Latymer School History Magazine - page 30

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Amap of the Underground
Railroads
strong willed woman and
regularly carried a revolver,
which she used mostly for
protection but also to
threaten any slave who tried
to head back to captivity on
the journeys. Her confidence
grew with each and every
trip and it was at this point
abolitionist William Lloyd
Garrison named her Moses,
alluding to the prophet who
freed the Hebrew slaves. Her
last rescue mission was in
November of 1860, in which
she hoped to find and free
her sister, but upon arrival
learnt her sister had died.
She refused to have a wasted
trip and gathered up a group
of ‘passengers’ for one final
time.
One of Tubman’s greatest
achievements came just
three years later when she
became the first woman to
lead an armed assault in the
American Civil War and in
that same year Lincoln
declared the Emancipation
Proclamation. She had never
been a particular advocate of
violence, despite previously
having been an associate of
John Brown who was set on
using aggression and force
to rid America of slaves.
When the war broke out she
saw that a Northern
American victory was to be a
step closer to the abolition of
slavery. Never one to miss an
opportunity, she did not
allow herself to be a
bystander and joined a
group of abolitionists
headed for the South.
Tubman’s commitment to
freeing those in the situation
she had once been was
unwavering, liberating more
than 750 slaves during her
Combahee River Raid. She
continued to work for the
Union until 1865 when the
Confederacy surrendered
and she could return home.
Despite her full and
tenacious efforts she never
received a full salary for her
work.
Tubman lived most of her life
in a state of poverty and
accumulated debt due to a
delayed payment for a
property that she had been
sold in 1859. She was to be
put at a further disadvantage
when two men convinced
her to meet them and buy an
alleged $2000 worth of gold;
this was of course a set up
and she was drugged and
robbed. Many criticized her
for her naivety, but a
Wisconsin Representative
campaigned for
compensation, considering
she had provided invaluable
services in the army as a
scout, nurse and spy. Having
led a colourful life, she
refused to retire and worked
to promote the cause of
women’s suffrage. When she
became ill towards the end
of her life, she donated land
to the Episcopal Church and
demanded it to become a
free home for the elderly and
disadvantaged.
In 1913, a frail and elderly
Tubman passed of
pneumonia, but her story
remains eternal, a constant
figure of hope and
inspiration. Her name is one
scattered around America in
the form of monuments,
chapels and even the 2010
Tubman asteroid. It is fair to
say that her continuous
devotion to the abolitionist
cause is not one likely to be
forgotten
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