As NY1 continues its series "Freedom’s Voice: Legendary African-American Women," NY1's Ruschell Boone looks at how while Harriet Tubman is known for her work on the Underground Railroad, there is a lot more to the famed abolitionist's story.
continues on NY1 with a look at Judge Constance Baker Motley, who started as a civil rights attorney and rose to unprecedented professional heights, forever changing the course of American history. Manhattan Borough reporter Rebecca Spitz filed the following report.She's known mainly , but there is a whole lot more to Harriet Tubman's story. Our Ruschell Boone tells us.
Using some of the old negro spirituals that helped guide slaves to freedom and Harriet Tubman's own words, the recent one-woman interactive show called "Harriet Tubman Herself" at the College of Staten Island takes a look at Tubman's life, from slavery to freedom fighting and social activism for racial and gender equality.
Tubman's legacy extends well beyond her work as an abolitionist, something her great-grandniece, Pauline Copes Johnson, says historians and everyday people are finally starting to recognize.
"She was the person who helped changed the outcome of these United States," says Johnson.
"There was so much to her. There had to be for her to do what she did," says Richard Hourahan, the collections manager of the Queens Historical Society.
Araminta Harriet Ross was born a slave in Maryland in 1822. After escaping to Philadelphia in 1849, she became the "Moses" of her people, returning to the South for her family, then slaves looking to escape on the Underground Railroad.
When the Civil War broke out, Tubman joined in the fight, working for the Union army.
Tubman was a spy, a nurse and a scout and many believe her work led to the liberation of hundreds of slaves in South Carolina.
But like so many blacks during the Civil War, Tubman did not get paid for her work, even after submitting affidavits about her contributions.
"She got her husband's pay. Her second husband, Nelson Charles Davis, he was a Civil War veteran. She got his pay, but she didn't get anything for herself," says Johnson.
After the war, Tubman retired to a home she bought in Auburn, N.Y. She later helped to establish an African-American senior home on the property. She joined the women's suffrage movement and was outspoken about civil rights until she died in 1913.
Today, her house serves as a museum and her legacy lives on.