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Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad (Part 1)

2016-06-13 | 🔗

Most people are familiar with her involvement with the Underground Railroad, but Harriet Tubman was also a spy for the Union during the Civil War, among many other things. Untangling the truth from the myth is the trickiest part of her story.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello bunnies. This is Ard Marine. You may know me from Chelsea lately or as Regina Sinclair on insatiable. I want to tell you, but my comedy podcast: will you accept this rose, which is new to the eye heart radio podcast network? We re cap every season at the bachelor franchise, including the bachelor, the bachelor at an bachelor in Paradise. We bring in bachelor super fans, including last bass, Nicky Glaser, Debbie, Ryan and more listen to will you accept this rose on the icon, radio, app apple pie CAS or wherever you get. Your part casts welcome to you, MR from House, to house. Well I'm how we realise. How would you know we ve got a lot of what our growing, but, I would say, a burial,
so many requests, but we had, I mean we ve already been getting alive. They ve been started well before the announcement that she is going to be on the new. U S: twenty dollar bill we also we had another big spike after the drug history about her, if you don't mind lots of leaked sportswear words, that is quite funny indeed I watched it three or four times within the Thursday. So a most people are familiar with Harriet Tubman movement in the underground rail road, but also as people who have watched that drug that drunk history episode no issue is also a spy where the union, during the civil war, among many other things at the same time, maybe more than anyone else. I can
go in american history, shows us near mythical reputation and make some kind of a tricky person a talk about we're. Everybody has some tidbits of information, and some of that is a key area. Some of it is not yet there's a lot about her life and about sway. We in the underground rail road inventor. All the people know with no in serious airports. but is really like. It's really taken for granted. But a lot of it is on somewhere on a spectrum between that can't be substantiated, and that definitely did not happen, and a lot of this is because, for a long time, children's books really dominated the work written about Harriet Tubman. We ve talked about that phenomenon before how a lot of important figures, especially in black history, are the subjects of children's books and not serious academic scholarship as much which is frustrating even the books for adults for a long time quit uncritically reputed details from these. Ninety.
century accounts of her life that were definitely and bear embellished and really serious scholarly examination to try to get a more accurate picture of Harriet. Tubman live and work has been a lot harder to come by overall a lot more recent, then the things that sort of set the standards of how we think about Harriet Tubman So because there is so much thought about, because so much of it requires them level. Setting could be honest. We are going to talk about Harriet, Tubman life and work in two parts, and today's Prague Castle Her work, liberating enslaved people, many of them her family members via the underground rail road and then at our next episode. We will talk about her civil war. Work in her life is a spy and what came after that because there are so many misperceptions about the underground rail road and the institution of slavery in the United States were gonna get in this. Some of that context. Before we talk about the details of Harriet Tubman Life, the use of
unpaid unfeelable began long before the United States became an independent nation. It was a big part, economy and the labour force. Almost from the moment, European started trying to establish permanent colonies in North America and we when Sweden existed in North America before european arrival, and there is an increasing body of historical research, Unenslaved meant of native Americans by colonists as well, but all of that is outside the scope of today's episode. That is one of the things people are right to try to dispel about slavery, like slavery existed everywhere, not what we are talking about, but so far This system of unreal labour inequalities, the colonies was based on indenture. Basically, people would pay there
a firm Europe's North America through indentured servitude, which was essentially an agreement to work without pay for a particular amount of time in exchange for shelter in food and passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes this was a choice. People made it was sometimes under duress and sometimes not with people. Just one move, and that was the only way they could afford it, but other times it was a punishment that they were sentenced to The conditions indentured servants worked under could be appalling and there were definitely cases of people dying before their indenture was over this indent, had some very specific differences when compared with chattel slavery, the first and this was that there was an end date involved indenture was not supposed to be a lifetime. Condition was the, sure, was over. That person was free to go and was often granted some kind of compensation in the form of supply. eyes or lamb. Indentured servitude.
There wasn't hereditary or tied to a person's race as more colonists started. Moving to North America, indentured servants included people, places like England, Ireland, Scotland Ceremony and Africa. The first and Can you arrived in North America landed in Virginia colony in sixteen nineteen and the dutch trade of them to the colonists as indentured servants, however. A number of social, economic and industrial factors led to the dominant system of servants. However, in the colonies gradually shifting from indentured servitude to chattel slavery, these factors unfair, uprisings and rebellions on the part of indentured workers. The extent involved in contracting new indentured servants as the old indentures expired and the ease with which way indentured servants could blended with the rest of white society after escaping from an indenture. There were, religious elements as well. In some cases, It was socially acceptable to hold an
protestant person in bondage. But if that person, mooted. That was no longer the case beginning in the mid. Sixteen hundreds colonies started to pass slave codes which to define exactly what it meant to be Many of these laws were written in terms of race. There were whether they describes in general or enslaved people of african percent. Specifically, these codes meant that in a lot of places, it became illegal for an enslave person to own property and weapons to congregate, to get married to travel and to learn to read or write, chattel slavery of came codified is something that was lifelong. It was hereditary based on whether a person's mother wasn't and it was tied to african descent when the declaration of independence was issued in seventeen. Seventy six slavery was legal in all thirteen colonies. When the? U S institution was signed. It didn't include the word slavery, but it did include
France's to the institution, including article four section, two clause: three which specified that up and held in service or labour in one state would not be discharged from that service or labour if they escaped to another state, then in seventeen, ninety three to jump ahead just a little bit Eli Whitney invented the key then cotton was already being grown in the south, especially and farming. Cotton was hugely labour intensive with the invention of, cotton, then it was still labour intensive, but it was a lot more lucrative because their process of removing the seeds from the harvested cotton became dramatically faster and easier consequence. Consequently, the play once of slavery and the American South increased immediately and dramatically in response to how much easier it became to make a lot of money growing cotton at the same time, in the north, slavery was on the wane, most
because, although plenty of northern people and businesses were profiting from slavery, there wasn't it industry that was dependent on slave labour, like cotton, farming or large scale agriculture that was actually being work. There also Is it in the north was an increasingly active movement for abolition, and while they were certainly abolitionists in the south as well. The institution of slavery was so entrenched in the south that the movement was all but in visible there of this history, gather means that by the time Harriet Tubman was born a couple of decades into the nineteenth century. Many northern states had either abolish slavery or had passed laws that were meant to gradually in the practice within their own borders. The idea that slavery be abolished. Nationwide was at that point, still largely viewed as radical, even among people who were advocating for its abolition within individual states and southern states. On the other hand, slavery was flourishing and
Our industries that worldly related to failing and managing and capturing escaped slaves were through bribing in the south as well in border states, including Maryland, where Harriet Tubman was born and grew up. Slavery was still practised but often not quite as entranced, widespread and regulated as it was farther south for the sake of comparing in the middle of the nineteenth century enslaved people made up about thirteen percent of Marilyn's population compared to fifty Ten percent of South Carolina, fifty five percent of- the city forties, percent of Louisiana and forty four percent of Georgia, so in addition to having less would distance to travel to reach a free state, slaves escaping border states like Maryland, were often travelling through territory that had fewer resources. voted to maintaining and protecting the institution of slavery, and this is where we get
the underground rail road, which has a name that was applied to a loosely collective network of people who were all working for the same and which was to liberate slaves, underground rail road, didn't have a formal organization or an established leadership structure and liberated people mainly from the border states, not from the deep south. As a lot of people may imagine, and while I Ok, it's really on Marilyn. Today, a lot of the underground railroads work was really through territory. That was closer to the Mississippi River. It wasn't now for the underground rail road to guide people to a free state, though, in seventeen ninety three Congress had passed. A few If slave act, which is basically an enforcement clause for article four section, two of the constitution setting out Eve ACT, which is basically an enforcement clause for article four section, two of the constitution. Fugitive slave law would be passed in eighteen. Fifty about thirty years, after Harriet Tubman birth. So we don't know precisely when people started to you
the term underground rail road to describe existing efforts to liberate enslaved people from bondage, but it was hearing in writing by the middle of the nineteenth century. So we're going to talk about Harriet, Tubman early life and how she became part of the underground rail road after a brief break for a word from another, here's the thing. Saving money with Geico was almost better than playing pick up basketball because there's always that guy joint your game. ever passes the rock he constantly Rex theories and who completely happy when put his hands up and say no foul, no foul with Geico, it's easy to switch save on car insurance, no need make ankle sprain, because you're absolutely exhausted, so which, in save with back it's almost better than sports.
Now we will get to Harriet Tubman life specifically and unfortunately we don't have a lot of detail about the earlier parts of it. While she was enslaved, it was illegal for her to learn to read or write. and if she did learn after she liberated herself, the historical record doesnt reflect that a lot of people think she probably did not learn. Instead, she dictated her life to people who were literate and one of these people with Sarah Hopkins Bradford, whose biographies of Tubman were definitely filtered through her own lens and in some cases in some cases, were specifically written for the purpose of helping seven to raise money to support herself in other p, so they were books written to sell. Also, here Tubman was herself an incredible story: teller who spun out compelling evocative and dramatic stories, so many cases whence she married her autobiography. She was telling stories that she had told again and again for years its probable
really even inevitable that these stories had been refined in embellished along the way through her years retelling- I mean, if you tell the same joke at a party and its your go too. If you tell it to you five years from now, you're still telling it. You probably change of things, and you probably don't remember, Britain is an incident that is not necessarily a conscious move right and that's how it happened. Now we do know that she was born in Maryland, which, as we said earlier, was at the time a slave state her birthday is unknown, although was probably within a couple of years of eighteen, twenty turbans parents were Harry, Green and Benjamin Ross and turbans name at birth seems to have been Araminta and she was often called Missy. Stick the name Harriet later on in her life. We don't know much about her relationship with her family other than that. She did have several siblings and was charged with carrying for the ones who were younger than her when she was still a child. We also The two older sisters were sold south,
The family had some religious instruction. Probably Methodist and religious observance was part of their family and social life based on its later knowledge, a fork healing and herbal medicines. It's also lightly. they observed for traditions passed down from her grandmother who was The shanty tribe abandoned many of her Emily were owned by a man named Edward brought. His seven was often hired out putting a brief apprenticeship as a weaver and work as a housemaid, her at Nursemaid that a lot of her work involved manual labor, including working with timber Still in her adolescence, Tubman experienced a head injury that lead to her being disabled for the rest of her life, overseer or slave owner through a weight while trying to stop in escaping slave and hit tubman. Instead, there was a injury lead to what seems to have been a form of narcolepsy or epilepsy, which her biographers described as somnolence, she's, basically prone to periods of war,
sound like seizures or unexpected periods of sleep. There are also some people who theorized that the reason she never learned to read with this head injury damaged a part of her brain. It works with literacy, so totally unclear whether that was the case or not. But that is a thing that people theorize stability, along with the fact that a lot of her work involved heavy manual labor, might be one of the reasons that she didn't marry. John have men until she was about twenty four, which was relatively late for an enslaved woman living at the time the taverns had no children and their relationship was kind of unusual, not necessarily unusual in Maryland Bit unusual as in a general sense, because John Tubman was free, an Harriet Tubman. His wife was actually another man's property harry its efforts. to free other people started while she was still enslaved herself in eighteen. Forty five
about a year after her marriage, she paid a lawyer. Five dollars to look into her suspicion that her mothers enslavement was not legal. now she was right according to the will of her your owner, Tubman mother should have been freed when she reached the age of forty five, she had already been wait for another eleven years when Tubman confirmed those suspicions Nothing seems to have come of this investigation, though Tablets Father, who had been freed in eighteen, forty legally purchased her There are eighteen, fifty five a full decade after turbans investigation revealed that she was in fact being enslaved illegally. I went to think on history camp that was here in both in a few weeks ago, and I watched a several presentation that we're about tracking down, formerly enslaved people in New England and further friend, figure out what their family history is. Where and one of the rules. I like you, a sort of like that. The rules for doing this kind of research and dispelling misconceptions about
about slavery, and one of them was people did not necessarily follow the law like you might well, it was illegal to do that to a slave people didn't NASA really follow the law. Clearly, turbans, rather was supposed to have been free way before her husband legally bought her as a way to set her free. Anyway, every broadest died on March ninth of eighteen, forty nine and in his will he specified that his widow, have quite use and higher of heaven and any children she had for the rest of her life so that tub and could help raise his children. However, someone in the rest of us, if we were really worried that instead, some of them might be sold the pay off debts or settle estate fees, which is a common occurrence when a slave owner died possibly because of the potential threat of being sold south. It was not long after this that Tubman escaped,
that same year she and two or three brothers left the plantation, although brother soon turned back and took her with them, because they were afraid of the day yours they would face in escaping so intent struck out again. It was on her own and the earliest accounts of turbans escape. She had the help of a sympathetic white woman, she's described in the earliest biography of such men. Ass quote a white lady who knew her story and helped her on her way and you Tubman rip. aid for these efforts with giving her a quilt. However, later biographers added in one of the first fantastic embellishments that has become tides, is sort of everyone's collective memory of Harriet Tubman that she had a vision. She needed to follow the North star that, probably in embellishment today, how, Our talk later about feeling ass, though she had been called by God to help people to freedom.
she made her way to Philadelphia where she immediately begin working with the anti slavery community in the underground rail road, and we are going to talk about all of that. We pause for another brick from and we are going to talk about. All of that. We pause for another break from one of our fabulous sponsor drifted podcast, the seventh daughter, they say the seventh daughter can name's conjure voices from the grave cause, feelings to rise and rolling. Then I'll do all that It is the family trade, the seventh daughter out in episode available February. Third, is this really something he should be involving pandora? There's something you're not telling me. What is There is a man very powerful and doing his name is called.
the black eyes. Why, in parts of the sudden, you have no right to put her endanger the seventh daughter, listen on the Iheart radio, Apple pie, gas or wherever you get your by gas, so back to Harriet Tubman when she keep the Pennsylvania in eighteen, forty, nine. She found it'll resort to support herself and she began making connections with the anti slavery movement in the area. Soon she was king with the underground rail road and by the time periods have been became. All in the underground rail road. The idea that the entire nation should abolish slavery, which, as we mentioned at the top of it, had been considered radical just thirty million thirty years before was starting to gain some traction.
an organised abolition movement had been growing in the north for a couple of decades and by the time Harriet Tubman reached Philadelphia. There were multiple anti slavery societies, including women's anti slavery societies operating there. There were also I slavery, newspapers like William Lloyd, garrisons liberator, which was established in eighteen. Thirty, one and newspapers run by Frederick Douglass Movement for abolition had largely originated with escaped slaves and free african Americans. Is it grew throughout the early mid? Eighteen hundreds, it also granted more white participants, particularly quakers, who objected to say, ray on religious grounds, most likely Harriet. I've been introduction to the organised antislavery movement in general and the underground rail road in particular, came by a William still. He was a free black man who would later self published a book on the underground rail road or it might have come from Lucretia or James, might
tell them started making trips back into Marilyn to try to free enslaved people, beginning in December of eighteen. Fifty when she went to Baltimore, bring back her niece and two children, her nieces husband who was free, helped plan? This escape another trip to The more may have followed, but the historical record on that one is a little bit spot a year and the fall of eighteen. Fifty wines have men, went back and Dorchester County where she had grown up to try to get her husband, who was free. said before, but he had stayed behind in Maryland. When seven escaped, however win. We got there, she learned, but he had married some one else. After she laughed marriages involving in if people really had no legal standing so from a legal standpoint, his marriage to Harriet was not. a barrier to have marrying somewhat elves after she laughed for about a day, a tub and continued to make trips into Marilyn to help people liberate themselves many of the members of her family because it was
enough to make it to a free state. She also established a base of operations in British North America, which is now Canada should cured some land in Saint Katharine's, which was across a suspension bridge from Buffalo New York near Niagara, falls and to get there had the guide people from Maryland to fill and then into New York through Buddy Syracuse in Rochester before crossing the bridge. Getting started in Saint Catherine was easy after having liberated themselves most of the people have been guided, there had virtually nothing to live on or used to make a living. It's like a while before tat men could establish a real foothold there, and even she dared money continued to be a real problem owing to the letters of Thomas Garret by eighteen, fifty five Harriet men had successfully returned to her old neighborhood for TAT and had liberated seventeen family members and friends by eighteen. see that number had grown to eight or nine forays into slave territory.
Grand total, is probably somewhere in the vicinity of ten to thirteen missions leading seventy to eighty people to freedom herself in instructing fifty so others how to escape on their own. One of these threats was to bring back her parents who were elderly by that point. After her father was caught sheltering escaping slaves after she returned with their parents, have resettled in Albany New York, but maintain her pies to Saint Catherine, because their parents just were not happy living in Canada. Harriet Tubman last trip into Maryland was an attempt to bring out a woman described as a sister who sadly died before the trip could actually be made. The journey as documented, in the letters of Martha coffin right and similar, that letter are now firmly rooted in what people quote no again in in those airports. About the underground rail road, for example, turban and the seven people she guiding used songs not to convey,
the information which has become a popular part of underground rail road bore, but to help someone finds As to the group after she had left them to forage for food and for them to signal backed that it was safe to approach these emissions that Harriet Tubman Tech between Maryland and Canada really illustrate how the underground rail road really operated a lot of you envision. The underground rail road as being a firmly established network of mostly white conductors, who were secreting enslaved, quote cargo from deep in the south, but are a series of fixed hiding places and homes and barns and other buildings known as stations. So he would go from one station to the next one day at a time and our collective imaginations every stop as planned in advance and as part of a regularly. used route from one place to another friend. While there were white people involved in the underground rail road, particularly among quakers, as you mentioned earlier,
and there were definitely people who repeatedly sheltered escaping slaves in their homes or other buildings. In reality, The whole thing worked a lot more like what Harriet Tubman was doing here. They were planned but they were also improvisational. These trips were Reno Lee into border states, frequently carried out by free or escaped of African Americans. Try. By night and hiding by day, who made use of connect they had and routes that they knew to do it contrary to popular mythology. Harriet Tubman did not invent the underground rail road and the number of people that should guide the freedom for the civil war was much lower than the three hundred that is often cited. However, None of this should take away from what she was doing. Harriet Tubman Liberty and even her life were at enormous risk. Every time she returned to slip to slave territory.
and when she was in free states in the company of escaping slaves, who were also putting themselves at enormous risk by trying to escape really. She was just driving her own life and safety any time she was in the United States at all, because he had escaped rather than being legally freed. There is also at times of bounty for her capture other than were forty thousand dollars. That's routinely specified as inflated. It was probably either twelve hundred or twelve thousand dollars. There's some debate about the existence of that last zero by the late eighteen, fifty and into the eighteen sixties. Harriet Tubman had become well known and well respected in New England, anti slavery circles, her work guiding deep slaves was at first a secret, but became more widely known in the years just before the civil war. She nickname, Moses and anti slavery meetings, people spoke often of the
anti slavery meetings. People spoke often of the escape slave, who had returned to slave territory again and again, to liberate others. The others war began in eighteen, sixty one which really change the nature of Harriet. the next time so to hold us over before we get to the next one. Will you read it some listener mail? I will, and this is actually listener mail that is directly tied to one of the themes of this episode. It for
lose our episode, six impossible episodes are. We talked about things that were possibly apocryphal and it is for Mary Ann Marianne says hello. Ladys thanks for the planned cast. I just finished listening to the recent six impossible episode. Three talked about quilts as codes and the underground rail road, and I remembered a great story with similar themes that just isn't true. I completed my masters and teaching a few years back and we focused heavily on social justice and diversity. One of my classes, the professor, told us about a lesson that was given by somebody. She knew on a song amazing grace. The lesson explained that the author of amazing grace was a ship captain who had been involved in the slave trade. This captain had a conversion experience and wrote the farm. The lesson office under the music was inspired by the singing of slaves down in the hold. This is a great story,
But when I researched didn't hold water, it is accurate that the author of the lyrics of amazing grace was involved in the slave trade and that he did have a conversion experience. However, he did not write the music of the song, nor is the two now associated with it, the tune to which it was first set. The lyrics were set to existing teens as us common at the time, the tune we now use, which hymnals name old hundredth, is an old Calvinists too, but is dated two fifteen fifty one there, the usual attributed to details, but I'll get them ever since I did my research and realize information was false. I have wanted to share the correction, but I was not sure if the information would be welcome this as one of their stories that makes a person feel good and few like to have a cherished story about. However, since you share your story with me, I decided share mine with you. Thanks again for the many hours of enjoyment, your research and presentation provide
Marianne. Thank you so much Marianne. I wanted to read this for two reasons why that is one of the things that I obliquely referred to, and I emphasise about people sort of retro associating song the there's another one. That's follow the drinking gourd like a lot of people, think that is an underground, worried coated song, but that circle documentation. It seems indicate it. That's a lot more recent and the other is. People were really mad about the quilts. There were definitely people you felt like we had trampled on a story that was important event, which is definitely not our intent, but that's definitely something that does not hold up under his
legal scrutiny, so yeah. I am in agreement with Marianne when I'm talking to random people on the street and they certainly talk about slave quilts. For some reason, I'm probably not gonna just abruptly correct them, because that's rude and my rule of thumb in life is only to correct people. If I'm preventing embarrassment. Or preventing harm, but but but but but but that's a good rule. It's hard to live up to. Fine, I'm practically a man's plainer on some topics. You could argue that that perpetuating stereotypes that sort of make the underground rail road into inexperienced meant to make white people feel better. That, I'm, but not in a way that I would individually stop a person in the middle of their sentence and tell them no, that's not really what the quilts were about
well, and it's one of those things where too in the EU would only do it to prevent embarrassment I cannot imagine you. I certainly try not to do this, but I'm sure I have done so at some horrible point. In my life you didn't to cause embarrassment with the correction either now yet there what there was a time and met my relatively recent men memory, where somebody pronounced the word crudity in front of me as right. I do never fun. As I do, I did. I did gently correct that person because We're out of party were crudity were being served, and I was afraid that he would say it in front of other people and then embarrassed when another person corrected him publicly about, but that was my attempt to prevent embarrassment anyway,
Also, on the subject of quilt, quite a few people wrote in to mention the quilts of geese band, which are kind of an exception that prove prove the rule in the world of quoting these band is. An african american community in Alabama There is a long and passed down three generations: history of of african american people quilting. These could there be before they are in museum exhibitions and like now. That is the thing people say when you mention like black quilting traditions and that's part of the part of what we are saying that there are others also, but they have not been the subject of study like like the traditions of frankly white people. So anyway, if you would like to write to us about this or any other pod cast where history pike, Ass house of works, dot, com or else on Facebook and Facebook, dot com, slash miss than history and on Twitter, it missed in history.
our tumblr is missed in history that tumblr dot com are also I'm Pinterest, pinterest dot com, Flash missed in history. If you would like to learn a little more about what we have talked about today, nothing comes you, our parent companies website, which is how stuff works, that and put the word underground rail road, meta, search bar by how the underground rail road works. You can also come to our website, which has missed in history, dot com, where you will find showed oats, probably episodes Holly, and I have an archive of every episode we have ever put out what their ethical stuff
We can do all that and a whole lot more and has done more for me, that is how things are somewhere in our past hush money. We're going to get you talking. We debate the uncomfortable plus. You have money in life than a primary, going back to decide. Who is right. There is no such thing as strings Bream. There are some cake lies right now about its traditions, that men do pay women due to reach the fake reach. Money is one of those things that people like to ignore. You can be in all the other side's now on apple pot casts the heart radio up or wherever you get. Your pot casts.