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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Woman's Era, Volume 3, an electronic edition

by Josephine St. P. Ruffin and Florida R. Ridley, Eds. [Ruffin, Josephine St. P. and Ridley, Florida R.]

date: [1894-1897]
source publisher: Woman's Era Club
collections: Abolition, Freedom, and Rights, Women's Advocacy

Table of Contents

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Victoria Earle

June 1896

Efforts are now being put forward to bring before the young generation the last of the grand characters identified with the "uprising of a great people." The woman whom the great-hearted Mrs. Sarah H. Bradford of Geneva, said, is "worthy to be handed down to posterity side and side with the names of Joan of Arc, Grace Darling, and Florence Nightingale."

"In my opinion" says Wendell Phillips, "There are few Captains, perhaps few Colonels, who have done more for the loyal cause since the war began, and few men who did that before that time, more for the colored race, than our fearless and most sagacious friend, Harriet Tubman. The last time I ever saw John Brown was under my own roof, as he brought Harriet Tubman to me, saying, 'Mr. Phillips I bring you one of the best and bravest persons on this Continent. General Tubman, as we call her.'"

This wonderful woman became famous before the fall of Sumter, by conducting hundreds of slaves to freedom, through the system known as the "Under Ground Railroad." So daring and intrepid was she, that sums averaging from 12 to 40,000 dollars were offered for her capture by the slave oligarchy. During the rebellion, she was employed as scout, guide and nurse, and served all through the war, acknowledged and appreciated by all the great characters having charge of the affairs of state and war at that time. At the conclusion of hostilities, she quietly retired into private life and a short while ago gave her modest dwelling over to be a "home for the aged and homeless of her race."

It will be an inspiration for the rising generation to see and clasp hands with this noble mother in Israel! She has attained the advanced age of 80 years, and should God in his providence bless the efforts now being put forth toward having her present at the Convention in Washington, we hope our people will give her a true Chautauquan welcome. We expect to reproduce her photograph on our souvenir programme. This alone will make them valuable. We hope to bring such pressure to bear upon our grate body of Afro-American Women, that a great unrest will seize our women, that the cry, "What shall we do to elevate, purify and upbuild our race?" will burst spontaneously from thousands of earnest hearts, all over this land. All over our country, thousands of women are awakening to the fact that a new day is, dawning of our people, and that a tidal wave of deep heartfelt anxiety for better and purer homes, healthier and better trained children, broader and more helpful educational missionary work is sweeping over the great body of Afro-American Women. So at the very beginning of this new day let us all meet in the benign presence of this great leader, in days and actions, that caused strong men to quail this almost unknown, almost unsung "Black Joan of Arc," to whom the lamented Frederick Douglass once wrote - "Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You on the other hand have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day - you in the night. I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the multitude, while the most you have done has been witnessed by a few trembling scarred and footsore bondmen and women, whom you have led out of the house of bondage, and whose heartfelt 'God bless you' has been your only reward. The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism.

The primary object of the Federation is to bring our women together, we owe it to our children, to uncover from partial oblivion and unconscious indifference the great characters within our own ranks. The fact that we know so little that is creditably and truly noble about our own people constitutes one of the saddest and most humiliating phases of Afro-American life. Every woman who feels that is so, should rally now, and aid the great Cause, represented by The National Federation of Afro-American Women, and so nobly championed by our own Mrs. Booker T. Washington.

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