Black History Fact of the Week: Harriet Tubman
On April 20, 1853, fearless leader, Harriet Tubman, began her work on the Underground Railroad.
She took her sister and her sister’s two children to Maryland on her first trip to freedom. A year later, she rescued her brother and then her aged parents. Over the period of ten years, Tubman made an estimated 19 trips into and out of the South, freeing at least 300 enslaved Africans.
Known for her intense and powerful personality, Tubman was a crafty leader. Despite her face being plastered all over the South on wanted posters asking for her return for a $40,000 reward, she continued to free the oppressed, even in the face of tremendous danger.
She carried chickens on a wire when she walked the paths Whites frequented. If a White person came close, she would pull the wire tight to excite them. The chickens would flap their wings wildly, blocking the view of her face.
On the Underground Railroad, she also carried a shotgun, but not for protection; it was used to shoot those who dared to turn back.
Tubman devised several ingenious techniques to protect those she freed, including keeping drugs for babies to keep them quiet, timing escapes, and putting on acts. In one incident, she noticed two men reading a poster with her picture. They mentioned she was illiterate. So she quickly grabbed a book and pretended to read it.
Moses, as she was later called, conducted the Underground Railroad until 1860. She also worked closely with abolitionists as a Union cook, nurse and spy. After the Civil War, she settled in Auburn, N.Y., and died in 1913.
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With all this talk about slavery and “Django: Unchained” we bring into focus writer Alex Haley, the man who dared to write a groundbreaking novel about his ancestors entitled “Roots.”
“Roots,” which originally aired in 1977 on the ABC Network, literally captured the heart and imagination of America and the world. Never before had anything focusing on the subject of slavery ever graced the airwaves with such power and authority as this mini-series.
President Barack Obama views the Emancipation Proclamation with a small group of African American seniors, their grandchildren and some children from the Washington, D.C. area, in the Oval Office. Jan.
Say mental illness in the African American community, and most likely you will cause a pause in conversations as large as the white elephant in the room. Mental illness has a disturbing and persistently negative history in the Black community throughout the United States.
Fueled by mistrust of a system that often views Black people as nothing more than guinea pigs ripe for experimentation, accepting the label “mentally ill” comes with a huge stigma.
On July 12, 1787, the United States Congress passed the Three-fifths Compromise, which mandated that each enslaved African would be counted as three-fifths of a person for representation and taxation purposes.
Before the compromise was passed, southerners wanted Congress to count enslaved Africans in order to have more representation, but did not want them to be counted for taxation. And it was just the opposite desire for the northerners.
As June 19 comes closer and conversations about celebrating the day that the last Africans in America received word of their emancipation from chattel slavery drew nearer, there are those folks who might wonder or even verbalize a familiar sentiment—“slavery was way back then; it has nothing to do with me today. Why should I go to such a celebration. It’s just old timey stuff.”
According to noted psychologist Wade W. Nobles, Ph.D., there are very good reasons to go to a Juneteenth celebration.