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Harriet Tubman: A Slave to Change

Updated on April 21, 2016

Maybe you haven’t heard, but Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill. We all learned about her in elementary and middle school history class. When I first heard that she would be the new face of one of my favorite objects, I decided that I would do a little research as a refresher to remind myself why the life she lived is deserving ofsuch a great American honor. While reading about her life, I thought: “How can I learn from the life of Harriet Tubman?” She was a black woman, born into slavery, with low education and a physical disability. I am effectively the complete opposite of her – white, male, college student. How can I apply her life to mine?

There are many modern-day movements that people wholeheartedly believe in. Whether it be the gay-rights, animal-rights or black lives matter movements, everyone can learn from what Harriet Tubman did during the Abolitionists’ movement. I can scroll through my timeline right now and see people that would identify as “activists” for each of the aforementioned movements. I always ask, “How are these people actually helping?”

Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and fled to Pennsylvania. She soon entered back into slavery, but a different type of slavery. Harriet Tubman dedicated her life to freeing slaves and working with the Underground Railroad. She was a large piece in the liberation of over 300 slaves.

Harriet Tubman knew that to be a hero, you have to be enslaved to your cause. Superman and Batman were enslaved to the well-being of Metropolis and Gotham. They put their own lives on the back burner and thrust themselves into danger every time their city needed it.

In your life, no matter your ideology or cause, take a note from Harriet Tubman. We won’t all be part of something as big as the abolition of slavery, but we can all be part of something. Be more active in your church, volunteer at a local animal shelter or mentor someone younger than you. An activist has to be active, not on Facebook, but in life. Harriet Tubman was born a slave to man, but died a slave to change. Are you willing to give up even a fraction of your life to make the world a better place?


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