At the height of racial unrest in this country, it seems fitting that the peaceful march through downtown Bristol Borough, Saturday, culminated at the statue of Harriet Tubman, gleaming on the banks of the Delaware River.
A renowned figure in the abolitionist movement. a semi-official member of the Union Army, an outspoken critic of Abraham Lincoln’s soft, initial stance on slavery and a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman had a preference for non-violent resistance and a fierce commitment to action.
Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman’s lifelong contributions to the cause of freedom are legendary, indelibly written on the pages of American history. In fact, this frail, petite woman, who could not read, was named one of the most famous civilians in American history before the Civil War, third only to Betsy Ross and Paul Revere.
She is aligned in history with others who resisted the masters of injustice and inequality without tearing down, but building through change: Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Ghandi and Harriet Tubman brought about change through the power of their message and inherent courage. Neither death nor destruction was part of it.
Harriet Tubman also helped 70 or more enslaved people reach freedom’s door and once said this: “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”