By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
When one speaks of freedom fighters, Harriet Tubman’s name should always be among the first – if not highlighted as a primary justice crusader.
For it was on this date 169 years ago – Dec. 6, 1849 – that Tubman escaped slavery.
The brave African American who became known as the “Moses” of her people, didn’t stop with her own freedom but went back – repeatedly – to help others and over the course of a decade, led countless slaves along the Underground Railroad so that they too could taste freedom.
Tubman became a leader in the abolitionist movement, and during the Civil War she served as a nurse and spy for the federal forces.
Her historic accomplishments are being praised and remembered all over social media. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” Twitter user Nichole Baxter wrote, quoting Tubman.
“Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
Elijah Henderson wrote on Twitter: “Both John Brown and Harriet Tubman ran into the same obstacle when trying to free slaves: Slaves that had been made docile to the point they were petrified to fight for their own freedom.”
Wrote another Twitter user, Ryan Royster: “Where are my Harriet Tubman $20 bills? Happy freedom day to one of the country’s greatest heroes.”
During President Barack Obama’s administration, the White House announced that beginning in 2020, the $20 bill would feature Tubman.
“Imagine a USA where the millions of people freed from slavery had actually been emancipated and not had to endure another 100 years of indentured labor and segregation. If people like Harriet Tubman had a political office and a voice in the restructuring of the country,” wrote another Twitter user, DeDe, who concluded with the hashtag “Shero.”
Just last week, a film – slated for a 2019 release — wrapped that will highlight the life of Tubman, who was born into slavery.
The cast of the film titled, “Harriet,” includes Tony and Grammy Award winner Cynthia Erivo, who plays Harriet Tubman. Tony and Grammy winner Leslie Odom, Jr., along with singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe, portray characters in the film. Gregory Allen Howard crafted the story and will produce the film along alongside Daniela Taplin Lundberg and Debra Martin Chase.
As noted in a television broadcast on WTVR in Virginia, the story of the abolitionist, who died in June 1913, has been told in academic textbooks, television series, and even YouTube history segments, but her story has never been told in an exclusive feature-length project.
Virginia Commonwealth University African American Studies professor Dr. Chioke I’Anson told WTVR that it’s absurd no feature film has previously been made.
“There is a growing tide of black representation on television and in movies,” I’Anson said. “Old myths about the unprofitability of black-led films are slowly falling away. Maybe a film about Harriet Tubman, one of the greatest heroes of black history, isn’t getting here too late.”
“Maybe it’s right on time,” he added.
Said George Mason University NAACP President Diyonah Contee, “If the story is portrayed accurately, viewers will learn more about the harsh conditions of slavery and gain an understanding of the strength and courage needed to do what Harriet did.”