Philadelphia has just picked the design for a new statue honoring Harriet Tubman. Perhaps you saw this news item recently. So much has been written about her extreme bravery and dedication to humankind. But seldom do we read about the fact that she backed up all her dangerous Underground Railroad activity with prayer.
Prayer and the Underground Railroad
The new statue expresses Tubman’s connection between prayer and the Underground Railroad. As she led enslaved individuals to freedom, Tubman relied on prayer to guide her decisions and ensure their safety. She would often pray for protection, divine intervention, and guidance during perilous journeys. Tubman’s deep faith reassured those she led, providing them with hope and comfort during their escape.
Faith into action
As if it were not enough to spirit away so many enslaved people to freedom, Tubman also put her faith into action long after the Civil War ended. Working closely with her own place of worship, she founded the ten-room Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Infirm Negroes in Auburn, New York. According to Dorothy Wickenden, author of The Agitators, that is where Tubman herself died.
In an earlier post this year I mentioned three other portraits of Tubman that I’ve admired. Read about them here. That earlier post features a work by Wesley Wofford, mentioned in connection with the new Philadelphia statue.