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Hi, I am John O. Slim and I am here today to interview the famous Harriet Tubman about her daring and dangerous life that made many of us realize how bad slavery really is.
What was that?
It was my gun. I carry a gun to threaten anybody who thinks about going back to the plantation because they think that their Masters may catch them. I liked to do the running during the night to keep from being caught. Also, I couldnít bear seeing them working in the fields like I used to. I really wanted to help them be free like me. Fortunately I have never had to use my gun.
Yes, I have never had to use it before on anyone. Sometimes I do have to shoot it up in the air to get my fellow slavesí attention or I will shoot it up if I hear somebody talking about turning back. I try to control that because it is too much of a risk. If I keep shooting it off we may get caught by our masters or people who are looking for a reward before we can run away to the north.
I see. Well, now that that is over, letís talk about your child life, Harriet. What was that like?
Well, John, since I was a slave, my childhood was very sad and lonely as well as a lot of work. It was also sad and lonely because I was always away from my family. My family worked in the fields while I worked in the house.
Is that really true?
Yes, that is true. I didnít see my family until I was in the early teens when I was hired out in the fields! That is very common for girls because our masters donít think we are strong enough to work in fields until then. Most boys are hired out when they are about the age of ten.
I also heard you always had a great fear that you never told anyone about because you thought they would laugh at you.
Well, this may seem funny to you, but I was always afraid of my master dying, because I might have been sent further south-a virtual death to any Negro such as myself.
Ha-ha-ha. You are right, that is pretty funny, but why did that mean death to you?
I told you that people would laugh at me if I told them my worst fear was my master dying. It meant death to me because if I was shipped farther south, I would have been treated very badly. They would make me work harder, too. Also, I would be split up from my family again.
Well, anyway, did your "hem" fear ever come true?
Yes, it did. It happened in 1849 when my master died. Luckily they were not going to start sending slaves to the south until the next morning, so that gave me all night to plan and make my escape to the north!
It must have been a successful escape too, otherwise you wouldnít be here with us.
That is true, John, it was successful, and I want to thank the Underground Railroad for all of their help. The Underground Railroad is a group that helps slaves like me escape to the north. They provided me with food and shelter.
Oh, Harriet, I was wondering if you have seen the newspaper, because I happen to have one. It reads:
Wow, they were offering that much for my catch?
Yes, they were. Why do you think they would pay that much for your capture?
I think they were paying that much for me because nobody wanted to lose their slaves. I made exactly nineteen trips back to help more of my fellow slaves escape to the north to Canada. The Underground Railroad helped the slaves and me a lot on our journey by feeding us, giving us shelter and clothing, and hiding us when slave catchers where nearby. I saved over three hundred slaves by helping them escape north. Out of the nineteen trips, my fourth was the most enjoyable because I finally helped my parents run away north! Because I caused so many masters to lose their slaves, the reward offered for my capture was always very large.
Tell me Harriet, do you think your life affected others?
Yes, John, I do think that my life affected other white men or women as yourself, because I think that they saw me helping my fellow slaves escape north from their horrible masters. I think that they will realize how cruel slavery is and they might even join the Underground Railroad and help slaves escape north to Canada. I also think that I am affecting other Negroes as such myself by showing that they can escape and be free from slavery!
Well, thatís all. I hope you live many more years, Harriet! Goodbye.
One year later the headline read:
Harriet Tubman Timeline
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