Araminta (Minty) Ross was born a slave in March 1821. As a free woman, she was reborn under the name of Harriet Tubman. As the conductor of the Underground Railroad, Harriet was named the Moses of her people.
Harriet Tubman got the nickname of "Moses" after the prophet Moses in the Bible, who led his people to freedom. Following the North Star to the free land, with an intuitive vision to end slavery, a commitment of solidarity to her people, and a deep spiritual belief, Harriet Tubman embarked on a journey of freedom or death throughout the Underground Railroad mission for eight years helping several hundreds of runaway slaves reach out to the promised land of freedom.
To celebrate Harriet’s legacy, the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) unveiled the temporary bronze statue of the American abolitionist entitled Harriet Tubman–The Journey to Freedom. Sculpted by Wesley Wofford, of Wofford Sculpture Studio, the statue was unveiled on January 11 to celebrate Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday. The 9-foot traveling sculpture is located at City Hall, in the North Apron, until March 31. Now, the residents of Philadelphia can immerse themselves in the history of the Underground Railroad and participate in related community events around the city.
Librarians at the Free Library have put together a schedule of programs to celebrate Black History Month including community readings, creative "do it yourself" (DIY) programs, author events, virtual book clubs, virtual cooking classes, history storytelling, and so much more. Please make sure to view our events calendar for additional information on programming and events through Black History Month this February.
For instance, the Philadelphia City Institute and the Nicetown-Tioga Library will be presenting the DIY program (Quilt) Pieces of Black History. In this series, each participant will be able to create a paper quilt square featuring Black authors, books written by Black authors, or quotes by Black historical and current-day figures. At the end of February, a unique paper quilt will be created and displayed to commemorate Black History Month.
Also, if you would like to celebrate Harriet Tubman during Women’s History Month coming up in March, here are a few children's and adult book recommendations from our vast print book and ebook collections:
Before She Was Harriet written by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illustrated by James Ransome.
"A lush and lyrical biography of Harriet Tubman, written in verse. An evocative poem and opulent watercolors come together to honor a woman of humble origins whose courage and compassion make her larger than life."
An Apple for Harriet Tubman written by Glennette Tilley Turner; illustrated by Susan Keeter.
"Biography of a little slave girl whipped for eating an apple, who later grew up to become a famous "conductor" for the underground railroad."
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom written by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
"Describes Tubman's spiritual journey as she hears the voice of God guiding her north to freedom on that very first trip to escape the brutal practice of forced servitude."
Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom by Catherine Clinton.
"In a biography widely praised for its impeccable research and its compelling narrative, Harriet Tubman is revealed for the first time as a singular and complex character, a woman who defied simple categorization."
Finally, the Library of Congress has put together a great information guide about Harriet Tubman. This collection of digital materials, links to external websites, and selected print biographies are resources that provide an overview of Harriet’s life, abolitionist missions, and women’s voting rights, among other important topics.