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Go Down, Moses

Go Down, Moses
Item# 13
$14.95
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Product Description

The Story of Harriet Tubman: Runaway Slave, Conductor on the Underground Railroad, and Spy for the Union Army

by Arline Chase Eppie Finalist

After escaping to freedom herself, Harriet Tubman led more than 300 other slaves to freedom. She spied for the Union Army during the Civil War. A fictionalized biography, based on her published interviews with her biographer, and on other source records.

ISBN: 1-59431-013-0 Fictional biography

Cover: Louise Trellian



Chapter One

“I grew up like a neglected weed.” — Harriet Tubman, to journalist Benjamin Drew.

Minty Lou Ross was the second daughter of Benjamin Ross and Harriet (sometimes called Hattie) Green.

Her father ran a saw mill. Her mother was a laundress and later a cook. Both were slaves, but they were not owned by the same people.

They were allowed to marry, and set up housekeeping in a cabin on the Broadas Plantation. But they had to ask permission from their slave-holders first.

Minty Lou’s older sister was named after their mother, Harriet. It was the custom then to name the oldest girl for the mother and the oldest boy for the father. Minty Lou had ten brothers and sisters.

She never went to school. Slaves had no schools. Back then, it was against the law to teach a slave to read. Minty Lou Ross never learned to read or write. She never had riches, or sought fame. She was just a girl who loved her family and wanted to help them. No one would have thought she could ever grow up to do anything special.

When she was five years old, Minty Lou was sent to tend the baby of a neighbor. If she did well at her task it could mean a life of easier work as a “house-slave”.

Minty Lou was told by her mother and father, to be good and do as she was told. She understood. If she did well enough, she would not have to spend her days working in the fields under a burning sun.

Minty Lou was told to keep the baby safe and quiet. But the baby had colic. It cried all the time.

When she talked to the baby, it cried. When she rocked the baby, it cried. When she told it stories and tried to get it to sleep, that baby just cried and cried!

Then Minty Lou remembered how her mother tied a spoonful of sugar into a handkerchief and gave it to a crying baby to suck. She took some sugar from the table, tied it in a handkerchief and gave it to the baby. Her plan worked.

For the first time in days, the baby was quiet. Minty Lou thought the mother would be pleased.

She was wrong. Minty Lou was whipped for “stealing” the sugar and sent home in disgrace.





Introduction

The Under-ground Railroad

“I was a conductor on the Under-ground 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.” – Harriet Tubman, to Sarah Bradford, her biographer.



The Under-ground Railroad; what was it, anyway? When they first hear those words most children today think of subway trains. But in the time before the Civil War ended slavery in America forever, those words were whispered in secret, in awe, and in hope. Those words inspired a dream of freedom in the hearts of slaves. And they struck fear in the hearts of slave-holders.

Slavery did not begin in our country. It had been going on for thousands of years. In some places it still goes on today.

America was built on a desire for freedom. Some people came here because they craved a new land in their hearts. Others were forced to come here, sold into slavery by an enemy, or sentenced to be transported for some imagined crime. However people came to our shores, their hearts soon cried out for freedom. They fought a war to be free. Yet even after the war was won – even after the founding fathers signed into law the words, “all men are created equal” – slavery was still legal. People could own other people in our country.

Some people who owned slaves were cruel. Some were kind. Whether a slave-holder was cruel or kind made little difference, because the system of slavery was cruel. The law said that slaves were property, to be bought and sold. Back then, people bought and sold slaves the way people today buy cars or furniture. Under that system, children could be sold away from their mothers, husbands and wives were split up and sent to different places. Every day of their lives, slave families knew that they could be sold away and never see their loved ones again.

Many Americans felt slavery was wrong, and some states passed laws that made slavery illegal. But in most of America, it was the law of the land. In the north, people who thought slavery was wrong banded together to help slaves escape to freedom. They were called Abolitionists, because they wanted to abolish slavery.

Most slaves lived in the south. Even in the south there were people who worked in secret to help slaves. They helped slaves get away to a place where they would be safe and free. The network of people who worked to free slaves were called the “Underground Railroad”, because they helped to put slaves on the “freedom train”. Houses where it was safe to ask for help, were called “stations” on the Underground Railroad. People who led slaves to freedom were called “conductors.” In all the thousands of people who helped form the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman was the most famous conductor of all.



* * *





Chapter One

“I grew up like a neglected weed.” – Harriet Tubman, to journalist Benjamin Drew.



Minty Lou Ross was the second daughter of Benjamin Ross and Harriet (sometimes called Hattie) Green. Her father ran a saw mill. Her mother was a laundress and later a cook. Both were slaves, but they were not owned by the same people. They were allowed to marry, and set up housekeeping in a cabin on the Broadas Plantation. But they had to ask permission from their slave-holders first. Minty Lou’s older sister was named after their mother, Harriet. It was the custom then to name the oldest girl for the mother and the oldest boy for the father.

Minty Lou had ten brothers and sisters. She never went to school. Slaves had no schools. Back then, it was against the law to teach a slave to read. Minty Lou Ross never learned to read or write. She never had riches, or sought fame. She was just a girl who loved her family and wanted to help them. No one would have thought she could ever grow up to do anything special.

When she was five years old, Minty Lou was sent to tend the baby of a neighbor. If she did well at her task it could mean a life of easier work as a “house-slave”. Minty Lou was told by her mother and father, to be good and do as she was told. She understood. If she did well enough, she would not have to spend her days working in the fields under a burning sun. Minty Lou was told to keep the baby safe and quiet. But the baby had colic. It cried all the time.

When she talked to the baby, it cried. When she rocked the baby, it cried. When she told it stories and tried to get it to sleep, that baby just cried and cried!

Then Minty Lou remembered how her mother tied a spoonful of sugar into a handkerchief and gave it to a crying baby to suck. She took some sugar from the table and her plan worked. For the first time in days, the baby was quiet. Minty Lou thought the mother would be pleased. She was wrong.

Minty Lou was whipped for “stealing” the sugar and sent home in disgrace.