A portion of Harriet Tubman’s life is set to be dramatized on the Television Series “Underground” on WGN America. Watch it, it is really good!
I currently live on the Eastern Shore, about an hour and a half South of the places Harriet Tubman rescued slaves. I am familiar with the landscape and the swamps (The Great Cypress Swamp) and thickets can be near if not completely impassable and are similar to something you would think of in Florida or Louisiana. There is a great kayak trip though the swamp area, as well as the Blackwater (the water is stained black by the cypress trees) area off the Choptank where Tubman operated.
Harriet Tubman fled a life of slavery in Maryland. Now a new visitor center opens on the land she escaped.
CHURCH CREEK, MD. — She preferred moving in the darkness of long winter nights. She didn’t wait for late passengers: The “train” for Zion always left on time. And she carried a pistol, in case of trouble or flagging hearts.
Her branch of the line began here, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, near places like Tobacco Stick, Kentuck Swamp, and Skeleton Creek, off the Choptank River, to the north.
She was small and the color of a chestnut, as her owner described her when she first ran away. But she was hardened by whippings and work on the timber gangs, and she knew the wilderness as well as a hunter.
On March 11, the National Park Service and the Maryland State Park Service plan to unveil a new visitor center here dedicated to the life and mission of abolitionist and legendary Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.
The $22 million center, in the works since 2008, is adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, in the hallowed area where Tubman was born, enslaved and from which she escaped.
The opening festivities next weekend will feature reenactors, lectures and writing workshops. The center has exhibits, a museum store, a research library, and an outdoor walking path and pavilion.
It’s the same area where Tubman repeatedly returned at great risk to help relatives and friends out of bondage along the secret anti-slavery network to freedom that was the Underground Railroad.
Between about 1850 and 1860, using stealth and disguise, she made 13 trips, spiriting 70 people out of slavery, historians believe.
Tubman’s life spanned most of the 19th and part of the 20th century, took her across the Eastern United State and Canada, and saw her fight for civil rights, women’s rights and the cause of the Union in the Civil War.
But it was here in the mosquito-infested swamps and woods, and the local plantations and river ports, that the slave girl “Minty” Ross became the liberator, Harriet Tubman.
Here, Tubman was beaten as a child by a mistress who slept with a whip under her pillow. Here, she checked muskrat traps, broke flax and hauled logs with a team of oxen she was permitted to purchase.
nd here, scholars say, amid a fracas one night, she was struck on the head with an iron weight and suffered a debilitating brain injury that would alter her life.
Tubman understood the haunting landscape where she lived and was said to possess a mystical “charm” that protected her, according to biographer Kate Clifford Larson.
“She was a genius,” Larson said in a recent telephone interview. “Even though she couldn’t read or write, she was born with a gift.”
“When she worked in the woods with her father, he taught her how to survive,” Larson said. “How to feed herself, how to protect herself, how to navigate through those woods that are really dark at night.”
And she dare not carry a lantern.
“This is the area that shaped Harriet Tubman’s ideals,” National Park Service historian Beth Parnicza said. “It’s where she and her family grew up, where she lived for 27 years of her life.”
“This landscape is critical to her story,” she said…. Read the Rest Here…