Amazingly, most people commonly associate with April 20th as the global jubilee of cannabis. However, there is a far more important event in history that is shadowed on April 20th by this seemingly pointless global event. April 20 significantly is the date that Harriet Tubman enacted the Underground Railroad and freed hundreds from slavery.
Harriet Tubman is one of the many well-known women in Black History. She was born to enslaved parents, Harriet “Rit” Green and Ben Ross in Dorchester County, Maryland, and was originally named Araminta Harriet Ross. Harriet was one of nine children born to Ben and Rit in the early to mid 1800’s. Though Araminta, or “Minty’s” birth is unknown, it is presumed she was born between 1820 and 1825.
Despite the early separation of Minty’s family and the years of endured hardship living an enslaved life. There was so many years of physical and psychological abuse from the slave owners. Minty had the scars to prove the hardships of her life. There was one violent incident in her life that was so severe, Minty lived the rest of her life with extreme headaches and narcolepsy.
Even though there were many trials in her life, Arminta was determined to excel above her situation and circumstances. Freedom was such a thin line for Harriet Tubman’s family. By age 45, Ben, Harriet’s father, was granted freedom as stipulated in the will of his previous owner. However, there were few options after his gained freedom other than to continue working as a foreman and timber estimator for his past owners.
Although similar emancipation stipulations applied to Rit, Harriet’s mother and her children, the people who owned their family chose not to free them. Ben had little to no power to challenge the decision to keep his family enslaved. By the time Harriet was an adult, about half of the African – American slaves on the eastshore of maryland had been freed. It was not unusual at that time for families to include free and enslaved members.
By 1844. Harriet married a free black man by the name of John Tubman. Very little is known about John or his marriage to Minty. Any children they may have had would have been considered enslaved since Harriet was still enslaved at the time of her and John’s marriage. Araminta changed her name at the time of marriage to Harriet, possibly to honor her mother.
Upon severe illness and the death of her owner in 1849, Harriet escaped slavery into Philadelphia.Three years later by 1853, Harriet took her sister and her sister’s two children. A year later she went back for her brother, and by 1857 she had gone back for her elderly parents.
As the characteristics of slavery changed in 1850, the “Fugitive Slave Law” stated that escaped slaves living in the North could be captured and returned to slavery. Because of this, Harriet rerouted the Underground Railroad to Canada which forbid slavery without exceptions or conditions. Within a decade, Harriet Tubman had made a course of 19 trips back into the South with the use of the Underground Railroad and personally escorted 300 slaves to freedom into the North.
As an African – American person living in the Americas, 420 should have a lot more significance to life than just a day to celebrate being a pot-head. It is a moment in time and history that one enslaved woman stood above many, risking her freedom and life to passionatley save many of her enslaved people. Knowledge is power and the voice of reason.
– Keep growing and glowing.
About the author:
Ife’ Miller is a diversified writer in all spectrums of poetry and subjects of life. She’s been writing since age seven and continues to expand her writting styles. Self published author of Metamorphosis of a Butterfly: Collaborations of My Mind, CEO and Founder of RREM Business Consulting, RREMBC Webdesign and VA Services, and life long advocate and public speaker currently residing in Houston, Texas as she continues to be her brand and build her business.