Monday, January 18, 2016

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford and Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

I had a promising Martin Luther King Jr. book on order at the library, which I intended to do for today, but  I was a little behind schedule in requesting it. Oh well, I can consider it very early reasearch for next year. Or I could be wild and crazy and post it not on Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day. 

In lieu of MLK books, I will do another amazing African American, Harriet Tubman. 

I am a little conflicted about this book. Harriet Tubman is an amazing woman and the illustration by Kadir Nelson are gorgeous and glowing. But Harriet Tubman is carrying on a conversation with God a lot of the way. Now I have a fierce belief and trust in God, but I also have a...well... for lack of a better term, New England reticence, that makes me feel a relationship with God is a pretty private thing. Not because I am ashamed, but because it is too precious a thing to pull out and have random people poke and prod. 

So in some ways, I feel like I am eavesdropping where I shouldn't be when I read this book. But that is just my own weird hang up. 

This really is an amazing story. 

The words are lyrical.
"I set the North Star in the heavens and I mean for you to be free."

I can't even imagine how much those words would have meant to a slave. 

Aren't the pictures fabulous? 

The book chronicles the difficulties of her own, first journey north, with just a brief mention at the end about her bringing others. 

Being a runaway was almost as bad as being a slave--the constant fear and worry. But the hope and light of the future, of being free, would have been something slaves never had. 

She had to hide for days in a potato hole. Seven days I believe. Can you imagine the endurance? The uncomfortable, crampedness of it all? 

"As far as you can walk with me, my child, and I can carry you."

She reaches freedom safely, (forgot to take a picture of this page, but it is the picture from the cover). Oh the peace and beauty of that moment. Of being able to walk free. Of being safe after the grueling journey and constant vigilance.

And then, life as a freed woman. But all the while, she was thinking of the ones she left behind. 

And for them, and many others, she was willing to go through all that pain, the fear and uncertainty, to win them their freedom too. She took nineteen trips south and brought back as many as three hundred slaves to freedom. 

An incredible, selfless woman. 

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