Earlier this year, members of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools® team and other colleagues had opportunity to attend a training session near the plantation on Maryland’s Eastern Shore where Harriet Tubman was enslaved and where she returned again and again after her own escape to lead others to freedom.
The retreat’s theme was “Give Light and People Will Find the Way,” the title indomitable Civil Rights Movement justice warrior Ella Baker used for one of her training workshops at the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee. This message is relevant to the CDF Freedom Schools program’s work today teaching young people they can make a difference in themselves, their families, their communities, their country, and their world with hope, education, and action, and the same message could also describe some of the inspiration the team drew from Harriet Tubman’s legacy.
During the retreat they visited the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Church Creek, Maryland and sites important in her life, including the plantation where her family was enslaved and the dry goods store where she was assaulted and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child. She was standing inside that store when an enslaved boy ran in being chased by an overseer who ordered Harriet to help grab the boy. When she stood between the boy and the white man and did not move, the overseer hurled a lead weight at her head, leaving her bloody and unconscious. She suffered seizures, sleeping spells, and debilitating headaches the rest of her life, but also began experiencing vivid dreams about God and visions and premonitions about escaping slavery. Seeing these places and the land where she had to travel and hide reinforced how difficult her mission was and how much courage and determination she needed to possess in order to survive.
Now, through the National Historical Park, a state park and visitor center, the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center, and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway, a 125-mile trail that includes waterways and safe houses she and others used as they fled towards freedom, these sites are preserved as a piece of American history that can teach and inspire young people today.
Read the Full Column: https://www.childrensdefense.org/child-watch-columns/health/2022/give-light-and-people-will-find-the-way/
Marian Wright Edelman is Founder and President Emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to: https://www.childrensdefense.org/?utm_source=cultivation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=childwatchcolumn