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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Harriet's Smile


Did you hear? Harriet Tubman smiled one night in December; I wish I could’ve seen it. I wish there was a photographer or sketch artist who could’ve captured it at the very moment when Momma Tubman smiled. I imagine the moment; she closed her eyes and stretched her arms to the cold December sky as she gave thanks to God. “I give you all the praises and all the glory dear Lord! Praise you Jesus!" Moses shouted as she looked across the field towards that land called Canaan. It wasn’t long ago when she was back in Dorchester County, Maryland. She went back to get her people. Harriet Tubman was determined to facilitate the manumission of her family members. She would eventually achieve that mission, but on Christmas Eve night in 1854 she would call upon two of her brothers Benjamin, 28 and Robert, 35. There were two other men and a woman from a nearby plantation, John Case, 20, Peter Jackson (age?), and Jane Kane, 22. The December air was cold, but they were all warm and brimming with thoughts of freedom. They heard the song:

“Steal away, steal away
Steal away to Jesus
Steal away, steal away
I ain't got long to stay here”

They quietly and expeditiously took their first steps towards freedom and left that old troubled world behind; I said they left that old troubled world behind and didn’t turn back as they slipped into the darkness of the Maryland woods. Now, freedom was more than a word, and Christmas carried a truer meaning; it meant FREEDOM. Harriet would make many trips to Maryland after this, but this was a glorious one. She was the conductor on that train to glory one December night. "Glory, Glory Hallelujah," Harriet shouted as she gave thanks to God and smiled. Merry Christmas.


Photo source: The Baltimore Sun

13 comments:

BronzeBuckaroo said...

That was lovely, Mr. Bess.

At this moment in our time, I'd want our people to be free in their minds as well as in their physical bodies: divisions by class, education, skin color, etc. Right now, the Promise Land to me is no more intra prejudices and caring about the circumstances of my brother and sister and obliquely that of everyone else.

P.S.
I'll be back to blogging soon. :-)

Deep Fried said...

I am so glad I found your blog. I'll definitely be back.

Michael J. West said...

that was beautiful. Did you write it, or is the whole text what appeared in Ebony?

Stephen Bess said...

Bronze-
So true. We are all God's Chillun'. :) Thanks.

Deep Fried-
Thank you and welcome.

MJW-
Hello. No, it is a piece that I wrote. The Ebony article just states facts about the date and names. So, thanks for the compliment. :)

NML said...

I love the insight you give me into African American history. This was a lovely post. Big hugs x

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

she was definetly the truth

get zapped said...

I can imagine Harriet's eyes lighting along with her wide smile :) Thanks!

Stephen Bess said...

NML-
Thank you. I'm happy that you enjoy it. I really enjoyed writing it.

TStephens-
Indeed

Zapped-
I'm sure that she had a smile as beautiful as Ms. Cicely Tyson who portrayed her. Thanks.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Are you working on my suggestion? About writing history your style? I hope so.

Harriette reminds me of the ole, ole, ooooole women I've met in countryside Jamaica.

Stephen Bess said...

GG-
I have given your suggestion some serious thought. I love to imagine the hopes, dreams, pain, and love of those who came before us. They have such wonderful stories. Now, I have to figure out a way to do just that. Thanks.

Kawana Aminata Oliver said...

I love your work here ;-)

Ali's Zay said...

Brother Bess one word: goosebumps.

Peace and Love,

Ali's Zay.

Stephen Bess said...

Kawana-
Thank you and welcome.

Ali's Zay-
Thank you, bro. I love to write and talk about the history of black people. Peace~