“I knew of a man who was sent to the State Prison for twenty-five years. All these years he was always thinking of his home, and counting by years, months, and days, the time till he should be free, and see his family and friends once more. The years roll on, the time of imprisonment is over, the man is free. He leaves the prison gates, he makes his way to his old home, but his old home is not there. The house in which he had dwelt in his childhood had been torn down, and a new one had been put up in its place; his family were gone, their very name was forgotten, there was no one to take him by the hand to welcome him back to life.
So it was with me. I had crossed the line of which I had so long been dreaming. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom, I was a stranger in a strange land, and my home after all was down in the old cabin quarter, with the old folks, and my brothers and sisters. But to this solemn resolution I came; I was free, and they should be free also; I would make a home for them in the North, and the Lord helping me, I would bring them all there.”
Note: After her own escape, Harriet Tubman returned to the South many times to lead others to freedom. She would go to to rescue about seventy enslaved people. Please click here to read our snapshot biography of Harriet Tubman.
“Harriet Tubman quote on freedom” sources: Harriet, The Moses of Her People (1886) by Sarah Hopkins Bradford / Harriet Tubman Wikiquote / Portrait of Harriet taken circa 1868 by Benjamin F. Powelson / Wikimedia Commons