|Book Reveiw 8-2
Sunday, February 15, 2009
By Carole Boston Weatherford – Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Available: Bookstores everywhere
I first learned about Harriet Tubman when I was about ten years old. At once she became my heroine and remains my heroine to this day. For years I focused on the triumphs of Harriet Tubman’s tremendously great and benefitting work with the Underground Railroad. Then I started to wonder at the fear I imagine that she felt as she made those long journeys from the South all the way North to Philadelphia and years later even further toCanada, where freedom was assured after the Fugitive Slave Laws were passed.
Noted in t he book, slavery in America existed from 1619 to 1865. In some places slavery endured a few years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into effect, freeing the slaves which is a reason some states celebrate Juneteenth. Slavery in America was the first time in history that enslavement was based solely on skin color. In the past economics and how much in-debt one person was to another could put the person owing the debt at service to the person they owed money, property, etc. to until the debt was paid off. Yet, slavery in America was different – tragically different.
The foreword to Moses notes that in 1820 there were about 1.5 million slaves in the United States. By 1861 there were approximately 4 million slaves in America. Prior to the Emancipation Proclamation about 40,000 and 100,000 slaves escaped to freedom via the Underground Railroad.
When Harriet Tubman learned that she would be sold to a plantation further South, she decided to gather her courage and head North. A deeply spiritual woman who was in tune with her inner guide and the Creator, she sought heaven’s guidance before she started on her journey. She didn’t want to be away from her family but she had already endured the loss of her sister years earlier when slave owners sold her sister further South. Harriet was in her twenties when she left the plantation in Maryland where her, her parents and her husband lived. She begged her husband to join her but he refused. So she headed out alone for a place she had never seen or been to before. Each step she took was a step of faith, and it yielded a great reward!
Moses clearly illustrates the challenges and the struggles Harriet faced while she headed toward Freedom. Along the way when she wondered at what to do next she sought guidance from our Creator. Because of her ability to hear clearly from our Creator not only did Harriet make it to freedom inPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania when she returned down South for other slaves and her parents, she had successful journeys each time – nineteen in total according to records and mention in Moses. Even with babies in tow, Harriet never lost a passenger while she worked as one of the key conductors on the Underground Railroad.
Throughout the book Harriet Tubman’s words and the guidance from our Creator at set off in font and tone. Anyone familiar or not yet aware of Harriet Tubman and the remarkable work that she did will benefit from reading Moses. It’s a powerful book that drew up strong emotion in me. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. It’s a winner on all fronts!
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