Story at a glance
- A group of eight women walked along the estimated historical path Harriet Tubman took on the Underground Railroad.
- The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved Americans to escape.
- Their leader, Linda Harris, has been inspired to educate others about Tubman’s journey.
When Linda Harris started walking at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, she had no idea how far she’d go.
“I had no intentions of walking the Tubman trail,” Harris told Yahoo! ahead of the trek. “It's just something divine, something glorious that happened. And I simply decided to follow the light and the spirit of Harriet Tubman.”
The Maryland resident felt called to learn more about Tubman’s journey and eventually make a 116-mile journey along the Underground Railroad with a group of friends and fellow walkers.
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"There is much social unrest. And we know that finding our center, communing with nature, beauty and the quiet moments is a place to start. When we clear our minds, we are FREE to explore all the possibilities. Harriett is symbolic of the Freedom we need, the Freedom we must have to succeed," Harris wrote on the GoFundMe page that has now raised nearly $6,000 for the Harriett Tubman Museum and Educational Center in Cambridge. The group is also selling Walk with Harriet memorabilia, including a t-shirt, bags and mug.
After months of training, research and fundraising, Harris and seven other women began their walk from Cambridge, Md., to Kennett Square, Pa., buoyed by supporters along their best approximation of the trail Tubman used to shepherd escaped enslaved Americans to freedom.
“We felt Harriet with us as we walked,” Harris told the Washington Post after the trek. “We were amazed at how this woman was able to do this, to take on such a journey while being followed by dogs and guns and people who wanted to do her harm.”
The group remains active on Facebook, sharing their daily walks and continued education with more than 8,000 followers. Harris wrote and performed a song on a livestream and the community is planning a holiday concert in honor of Tubman. The retiree is also planning to convert a home she purchased with her savings and retirement funds into an educational recreation center called "Camp Harriet."
“This is what I’m pledging to do for the rest of my life,” Harris told the Washington Post. “Just the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can bring awareness to so many people.”
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