SLAVE LIBERATOR: Harriet Tubman Was a Gun-Totting Lady

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Yes, she was a badass kind of woman, but does Andrew Jackson deserve to be kicked off the $20 bill?

Earlier this week, the announcement was made that Harriet Tubman, famous for her role as a “conductor” of the “Underground Railroad,” helping to free nearly 300 slaves, was going to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

Still, Harriet Tubman being put on the $20 bill is still a relatively big deal. Aside from special editions of coins, Tubman will be the first woman put on everyday currency. Her legacy is well worth the honor. While she is described as an abolitionist and a humanitarian, Tubman was also pretty badass.

Born a slave in Maryland in 1822, she escaped to Philadelphia in 1849 and returned shortly thereafter to rescue her family. It was at that time she became one of the “conductors” of the “Underground Railroad.”

Have Gun, Will Travel

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One other thing that Tubman kept at her disposal in order to keep herself and her passengers safe was a pistol. Yes, Harriet Tubman the humanitarian packed heat during the time she was rescuing slaves.

The truly remarkable aspect of her carrying a gun is that not only did she carry it to protect herself and her passengers from slave masters who were attempting to hunt her down (in addition to others, the bounty for Tubman at once was $40,000), but she also carried it to let those whom she was rescuing know who was in charge. Tubman was risking her life to do what she did. Whenever one of her passengers started to get cold feet, Tubman would brandish her pistol and say, “You’ll be free or die a slave.” Her concern was if they were caught attempting to sneak back, their position would be given away.

Tubman’s work didn’t stop with the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War she served with the U.S. Army in South Carolina as a scout, spy, nurse and soldier. Serving under Colonel James Montgomery, she led — commanded — the Combahee River expedition with the African-American 2nd South Carolina regiment and freed hundreds of slaves in the process. Tubman’s weapon of choice during this time was a sharpshooter’s rifle. She was an incredibly valued field-intelligence asset as well, with hundreds of contacts, able to secure more because she was trusted by African-Americans.


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