A recent­ly unveiled pho­to shows Har­ri­et Tub­man cir­ca 1865 — 1868. The petite Tub­man (who stood at 5 feet) is seat­ed, wear­ing a fit­ted blouse and full skirt, with her hair part­ed down the mid­dle and pulled back. Accord­ing to his­to­ri­ans she is between 43 and 46 years old.

So, a few thoughts about this pic­ture…

1. Black has not been crack­ing for a long time now…
Because when I first saw the pho­to I was like, “Oh great! They found a pic­ture of Har­ri­et Tub­man in her twen­ties!” until I read the accom­pa­ny­ing info.

2. This is how she looked after years of spir­it­ing slaves off of plan­ta­tions in dan­ger­ous, win­try con­di­tions.
One of Tubman’s last mis­sions was to get her moth­er in 1855. Which means that this pho­to was tak­en years after her slave free­ing days were over. Ol girl is chill­ing like, “Oh yeh, I saved dozens of black folks from cru­el enslave­ment. Naw, they ain’t catch me once. I’ll tell you about it some time.” 

3. The hair, obvi­ous­ly.
Look­ing all thick and healthy, pulled back in a pro­tec­tive style. YAS Miss Tub­man!

Har­ri­et Tubman’s abil­i­ties as a tac­ti­cal strate­gist weren’t just used to free slaves. She was also the first woman — black or non-black — to lead an armed assault dur­ing the Civ­il War, suc­cess­ful­ly attack­ing and set­ting fire to a series of plan­ta­tions in 1863 and free­ing hun­dreds of slaves. This also hap­pened before this pho­to was tak­en

“When Pres­i­dent Lin­coln final­ly issued the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion in Jan­u­ary 1863, Tub­man con­sid­ered it an impor­tant step toward the goal of lib­er­at­ing all black men, women, and chil­dren from slav­ery. She renewed her sup­port for a defeat of the Con­fed­er­a­cy, and before long she was lead­ing a band of scouts through the land around Port Roy­al. The marsh­es and rivers in South Car­oli­na were sim­i­lar to those of the East­ern Shore of Mary­land; thus her knowl­edge of covert trav­el and sub­terfuge among poten­tial ene­mies were put to good use. Her group, work­ing under the orders of Sec­re­tary of War Edwin M. Stan­ton, mapped the unfa­mil­iar ter­rain and recon­noi­tered its inhab­i­tants. She lat­er worked along­side Colonel James Mont­gomery, and pro­vid­ed him with key intel­li­gence that aid­ed the cap­ture of Jack­sonville, Flori­da.

Lat­er that year, Tub­man became the first woman to lead an armed assault dur­ing the Civ­il War. When Mont­gomery and his troops con­duct­ed an assault on a col­lec­tion of plan­ta­tions along the Com­ba­hee Riv­er, Tub­man served as a key advis­er and accom­pa­nied the raid. On the morn­ing of June 2, 1863, Tub­man guid­ed three steam­boats around Con­fed­er­ate mines in the waters lead­ing to the shore. Once ashore, the Union troops set fire to the plan­ta­tions, destroy­ing infra­struc­ture and seiz­ing thou­sands of dol­lars worth of food and sup­plies. When the steam­boats sound­ed their whis­tles, slaves through­out the area under­stood that it was being lib­er­at­ed. Tub­man watched as slaves stam­ped­ed toward the boats. “I nev­er saw such a sight,” she said lat­er, describ­ing a scene of chaos with women car­ry­ing still-steam­ing pots of rice, pigs squeal­ing in bags slung over shoul­ders, and babies hang­ing around their par­ents’ necks. Although their own­ers, armed with hand­guns and whips, tried to stop the mass escape, their efforts were near­ly use­less in the tumult. As Con­fed­er­ate troops raced to the scene, steam­boats packed full of slaves took off toward Beau­fort.”

Get into this hilar­i­ous and infor­ma­tive Drunk His­to­ry episode star­ring Crissle (of The Read) and Octavia Spencer.

Ladies, what do you think of the new­ly dis­cov­ered pho­to of Har­ri­et Tub­man?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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4 Comments on "A Few Thoughts About the Recently Discovered Photo of a Younger Harriet Tubman"

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Michelle

That was one kick-ass woman! I hope a movie is made of her life dur­ing the time she worked with Mont­gomery. Would love to see the freed broth­ers and sis­ters run­ning towards the boat.

Carolyn

I’m always stunned by the amaz­ing strength of our women! Har­ri­ett, so petite and brave! How I would have loved to be able to see her in per­son. I’m hap­py some­one took this pic­ture of her and that you shared it with us. Thank you:)

Cindy Minday

Fan­tas­tic post! And I Love this pic of HT. Her strength shine through.

TWA4now

Awe­some! I hope we find more!

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