Facts & Observations by Jonathan Sprout
Harriet Tubman was born a slave near Bucktown, MD. At about the age of twenty-nine she escaped to the North. Before the outbreak of the Civil War she made nineteen journeys back to lead other slaves - including her own parents and most of her brothers and sisters - to freedom along the secret route known at the Underground Railroad.
Slave owners were constantly on the lookout for Tubman and offered large rewards for her capture, but they never succeeded in seizing her or any of the slaves she helped escape. She helped so many blacks escape to freedom that she became known as the "Moses of her people."
“I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” – Harriet Tubman
I love the story of how Harriet rescued her parents from slavery – in broad daylight! The photograph of Ms. Tubman that I display during my American Heroes Two concert was taken sometime around 1880, when she would have been about 60 years old.
In August 1998, I visited the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY. My tour guide was Pauline Copes Johnson, Harriet Tubman’s sisters’ great grand daughter. I could see her resemblance to Ms. Tubman. Taking the tour with her was like going back in time with Ms. Tubman herself and having her show me her own house.
Pauline told me the story of how Aunt Harriet had planted an apple tree in the back, behind the house. The tree is still there. I asked Pauline for permission to take one of its apples off the ground. I brought that apple home, and here it sat on a windowsill in my home in Pennsylvania for several weeks, reminding me that we are literally still enjoying the fruits of Ms. Tubman’s labors!
Harriet Tubman Home, Auburn, NY