September 17, 1849: Harriet Tubman escapes Poplar Neck Plantation

Harriet Tubman1I’ll meet you in the mornin’,
Safe in de promised land,
On the other side of Jordan,
Boun’ for de promised land,

And she started on her journey, “not knowing whither she went,” except that she was going to follow the North Star, till it led her to liberty. Cautiously and by night she traveled, cunningly feeling her way, and finding out who were friends; till after a long and painful journey she found, in answer to careful inquiries, that she had at last crossed that magic “line” which then separated the land of bondage from the land of freedom…

“When I found I had crossed that line,” she said, “I looked at my hands to see if I was de 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.”

But then came the bitter drop in the cup of joy. … “I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land; and my home, after all, was down in Maryland; because my father, my mother, my brothers, and sisters, and friends were there. But I was free, and they should be free. I would make a home in the North and bring them there, God helping me. Oh, how I prayed then,” she said; “I said to de Lord, ‘I’m gwine to hold steady on to you, and I know you’ll see me through.’ “

Source: Harrriet Tubman, The Moses of Her People, by Sarah Bradford

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