Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Recasting A Harriet Tubman Quote

Reading Black Agenda Report's latest I saw the following oft quoted statement attributed to Harriet Tubman:
“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
Obviously a reference to literal slave times in which I actually find it hard to believe that people didn't actually know they were slaves. I would hazard to guess that the objects of Tubman's ire knew full well their social (and economic) status but for whatever reason were comfortable with the situation. Furthermore; for whatever reason those who declined Tubman's offer it is quite possible that what Tubman offered was, to them, not a better option.

You'd be tempted to say that with all the abuse and whatnot, why wouldn't freedom from that be a better option than a state of enslavement. I would point you right back to Tubman's quote. Did she say that they were afraid? No. I'm sure it's there somewhere but this quote only speaks to the state of bondage and convincing someone that they are IN that state, not that the person was afraid of the consequences of trying to remove themselves from that state.

All that to point out the obvious that today, 2015, unless you are incarcerated, there is no black American in a state of slavery. And those who find themselves in state sanctioned slavery AKA incarcerated, it was most likely due to their own behavior rather than at the hands of kidnappers and slavers. So I'd like to update Tubman's quote for the modern era. I could have freed a thousand more if only they opened their eyes and saw they were free.