Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
Magnificent General Moses,
3.75 MBs, 4:32
It has been
91 years since her passing from this vale of mortal tears.
This week marks
91 years since the death of a woman who was, even during her life,
a legend Harriet Tubman.
Born near Tidewater,
in bondage in Maryland, to Harriet and Ben Ross, she was named Araminta,
which was shortened to her 'basket' name of Minta, or 'Minty', until
she was about 6 years old, when she would be called, after her mother,
Harriet. When? 1820 ... or perhaps, 1821, for history books are
What they are
sure of is her strong determination to free herself, and her people,
again, and again, and again against monstrous, deadly odds.
Her name has
survived into this new century, but who, among the young, knows
what the 'Underground Railroad' was?
Who knows that
those people who formed it, and who used it, Black and White, were
daily breaking the law, and faced serious consequences for doing
so? For Blacks, they risked violence, re-enslavement, and sometimes
death; for whites, serious civil penalties, and sometimes jail.
a Delaware Quaker, believed in freedom, and he offered food and
shelter to any runaway slave who could make it to his home in Wilmington,
since 1822. In Spring, 1843, Garrett, John Hunn, and another man
were tried at the U.S. Court in New Castle, where Chief Justice
Roger Taney (later of *Dred Scott* infamy) and Judge Hall were sitting.
The fines and
damages against him cost him every dollar he owned, and all of his
household effects were sold at public auction. The sheriff running
the sale turned to him, saying, "Thomas, I hope you'll never
be caught at this again."
man replied, "Friend, I haven't a dollar in the world, but
if thee knows a fugitive anywhere on the face of the earth who needs
a breakfast, send him
was part of that network, and when she made her way to freedom in
1849, she walked the streets of Philadelphia, marveling at the number
people she saw, and how they spoke, and what nice clothes they wore.
In time, she learned they too, were fugitive slaves, like herself.
She resolved to do something about
it. This "Underground Railroad' had assisted her, fed her,
and gave her shelter, when she walked from Dorchester County, Maryland,
to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She
got herself a pistol, and she went back down.
As this was
now 1851, a year after the passage of the ugly Fugitive Slave Act,
which made the whole country open to slave-raids and kidnappers,
she resolved to go
back down, to now carry her charges "clear off to Canada,"
for Tubman could not longer "trust my people with Uncle Sam..."
(from Ella Forbes', *'But We Have No
Country': The 1851 Christiana Pennsylvania Resistance*; Africana
Homestead Legacy, 1998; pp. 114-15). And woe to the fool who, tired,
scared, or indecisive, wanted to turn back. Harriet would draw her
pistol, aim it at the timid, and say simply, in her husky, low-pitched
voice, "Go with us or die." They invariably chose life.
The fugitives could not afford anyone going back, she would later
explain. They would talk. They would be *forced* to talk; and all
would be lost. She would say, "We got to go free or die. And
freedom's not bought with dust."
brought at least 300 souls, men, women and children, out of bondage.
She was a soldier, dedicated to the freedom of her people, with
a $40,000 bounty on her head. In 1863, during the Civil War, she
guided 300 Black soldiers in the Combahee River Raid, where millions
of dollars worth of Southern property, dwellings, cotton and such
were destroyed, and nearly 800 captives were freed. Said Tubman,
"I never saw such a scene! I laughed and laughed and laughed."
her, what thrilled her, was the freedom of her people. Let us *all*
remember her, forever!
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.