Saturday, June 21, 2008

Visions that disturb contentment

"Here is that colored woman, Harriet Tubman, whom John Brown introduced to Wendell Phillips as the best and bravest person upon our continent. If Frederick Douglass wrought in the day, Harriet Tubman toiled at night; for when the man had praise and honor, the black woman had only obscurity and neglect. When this bravest of her race escaped from slavery in 1850 and reached Canada she exclaimed exultingly, 'I have only one more journey to make -- the journey to heaven." But in that hour when the tides of joy rose highest there came the vision calling her back to danger and service. She was not disobedient thereto, but turned her face again toward the cotton fields. Between 1850 and 1860 she made nineteen trips into the South, and rescued over three hundred slaves. One day while lying in a swamp with her band of fugitives, a black man brought her word that a reward of $40,000. had been offered by the slave dealers of Virginia for her apprehension. Hard pressed by her pursuers, she sent her fugitives on by a secret route and went herself to the train. But when she saw in the car advertisements for her arrest she left the Northern train and took the next one going south, thinking by her fearlessness to escape detection, and also to collect a new band of fugitives. And so her people came to call Harriet Tubman, the Moses of the black race. And, following on, the vision lifted her to a place among those whom the world will not willingly let die." Newell Dwight Hillis.

From William Still, diary entry: "Great fears were entertained for her safety, but she was wholly devoid of personal fear. The idea of being captured by slave-hunters or slave holders, seemed never to enter her mind."

"We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped."

From Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1859 letter: "... a more ordinary specimen of humanity could hardly be found among the most unfortunate-looking farm hands of the South. Yet in point of courage, shrewdness, and disinterested exertions to rescue her fellow-man, she was without equal."

The power of grace in the soul.


Joseph Pulikotil said...

Harriet Tubman is to be greatly admired for her bravery, courage, resourcefulness and fearlessness.

She is a wonderful example of what God can to with ordinary people.

Best wishes!

Mel said...

Amen to that, Joseph! :) If we can only learn to bloom where we're planted, fight the enemy with what God has already placed in our hand, and to allow God's love to conquer our fear, the world will be changed. It starts in the individual and blossoms from there.

FCB said...

I love to read of the inspiring deeds, sometimes with overwhelming odds. It surly must have taken bravery to consider returning from where you had so long been captive. This is taking the fight to the enemy, and surly with holy boldness because she certainly was a simple woman. Makes me blush.