Now that Joe Biden is in the White House, Democrats are once again on the march, this time to put abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. They don’t actually know very much about Harriet Tubman, but she was Black, and Democrats desperately want to put somebody Black on our money. So here she comes.
I say they don’t know very much about Ms. Tubman because Democrats announced this on the same day that Democrats sent a procession of House Managers over to the Senate to deliver an Article of Impeachment against former President Trump. They are charging him with “inciting insurrection.”
If Democrats want to impeach someone for inciting insurrection, they could start with Harriet Tubman. She was one of the major planners of the attempt to take over and occupy the United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry in 1859. Seventeen people were killed in that action. The leader, John Brown, was charged with treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia, murder, and inciting insurrection. He and six others were convicted and executed for their roles in the attack. Had she not fallen ill shortly before the attack, Harriet Tubman might well have been among those captured and executed.
Michigan State University maintains an extensive online history of the Civil War era, and has an entire section devoted to Harriet Tubman. The chapter entitled “John Brown’s War” tells us:
John Brown was a famous abolitionist who was identified as being a violent abolitionist. Tubman had been an admirer of John Brown for a while. Tubman had met John Brown through fellow abolitionist Frederick Douglass. In 1858 John Brown had began to finish up his plans for the raid. When Tubman finally met with Brown he would keep referring to her as “General Tubman.” After Tubman heard his plan she was on board, and was set to go and recruit men for the raid. That summer she continued to raise funds for Canada while helping John Brown. She even stayed with Douglass at the time. Tubman had suggested July 4th for the raid on Harpers Ferry. Brown and Douglass had different ideas on how the Raid was supposed to go, Douglass said that Brown’s idea was suicidal. Brown wanted to do a full scale attack instead of doing small guerilla attacks. After Brown said he would not be deterred Douglass decided to back out. Brown went ahead and attacked Harpers Ferry. The attack was ill fated as [Brown] successfully got some slaves and was able to arm them. However they were eventually defeated and John Brown was sentenced to death. In the wake of the defeat Tubman had to keep a low profile because anyone who was involved in the planning of the raid was in jeopardy.
According to West Virginia Archives and History,
Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman were asked to join the raiders, and Harriet Tubman agreed to participate but was ill at the time of the raid.
One hundred-sixty years ago, Harriet Tubman narrowly escaped being hung for treason. But I guess if you wait long enough, you’ll be right on the money.