In 2019 the movie Harriet was released. It was a blimp on the movie release radar. I vaguely remember the promotion of it. Bored during my week off from work (thanks Coronavirus) I was scrolling through the on-demand movies available and Harriet was one that popped up. Why not?
I don’t know if Harriet Tubman is even taught in school anymore. Do young kids even know who she is? I know my knowledge of her is very limited. Honestly, all I really knew about her was what was taught in school which was that she helped slaves escape to the north. She was part of the Underground Railroad… and that’s about it. Sad, I know. I never really thought to look into her more than that. I do remember once at some point during my adulthood the Underground Railroad came up and it was thought by someone in my presence to be an actual train.
I’m just glad I knew more than that.
I have no reason to not believe that most of what was acted out on screen was true.
It all started when Harriet went to her master and asked to be free in order to have children with her husband, who was already free. Harriet wanted to be free so that her children could be free. Her master denied her freedom indicating that she would always belong to him, as would any children she had. When she was advertised for sale Harriet knew she had to leave; she had to go North. She had to be free. And so, she left. She left her husband, her siblings and her parents.
Ms Tubman made the journey North on her own, without the ability to read or write. A year later she wanted her family with her so she returned South for her husband to find him re-married to a wife with child. Ms Tubman was a holy woman of God, she thought God was sending her back South for her husband and she realized then what she was meant to do. She was meant to help free slaves. And she did just that for several years, ultimately assisting in freeing 750 slaves in the Combahee River Raid.
It saddens me that I never heard much about this film after it’s release. And the overall rating of it is lackluster. It is an important lesson in history. Harriet Tubman was so much stronger and braver than I imagined she was. In hindsight, it’s like, obviously… but with a 171 years in between it is hard to really wrap your head around what actually was going on and what was done.
Even if you’re coming to this post without knowing a thing about Harriet Tubman, go watch the film. If you’re one of those crazy Kanye West groupies, that actually believe the shit out of that man’s mouth – you might learn a thing or two. For all those creators out there that have been posting about supporting Black people, here is your chance too… support a mostly Black cast.