HARRIET TUBMAN

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This week's BAB is courtesy of Tim Sullivan

Born a slave, she escaped in 1849, traveling 90 miles on foot at night from Maryland into Pennsylvania. She made her way using the Underground Railroad that had been established to help escaped slaves pass from house to house northward into free states. "When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven."

Not content with her own freedom, she almost immediately became a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad herself, making 13 trips in total - directly freeing 70 slaves and aiding another 60. After the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 made it nearly impossible for escaped slaves to remain in the North without being detected, she began to stretch this journey all the way to Canada.

She carried a revolver with her for protection. When the journey got too difficult for one man and he wanted to turn back (endangering the rest of the group by likely exposing their plans), she pointed the gun at his head and said, "You go on or die."

Was Harriet content with becoming renowned across the country as "Moses," the fearless leader of dozens of slaves to freedom?

NO. She up and joined the Union Army, as a cook, then a nurse, then a SPY, before she became the first woman to lead an armed assault during the Civil War. She led the successful Combahee River Raid, freeing SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY SLAVES, and then described the battle as such: "And then we saw the lightning, and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder, and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling, and that was the drops of blood falling; and when we came to get the crops, it was dead men that we reaped."

HOLY. FUCK. Can you BELIEVE this woman?

After the war, she of course became an outspoken advocate for women's suffrage. When a fool asked Harriet Tubman if she thought a woman should be able to vote, she said simply, "I suffered enough to believe it."

She would not receive an army pension for her service in the Civil War until 1899, 44 years later. If you're thinking, "JESUS, how old was Harriet Tubman?", she made it all the way to 1913, making her at least 90 years old when she died.

She will become the first woman to appear on regularly distributed paper currency in the US when she replaces slave owner Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

“I was the 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.” 

"I prayed to God to make me strong and able to fight, and that's what I've always prayed for ever since." 

"I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive."

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