Harriet Tubman has been making the rounds in social media this week following comments made by rapper Kanye West. West on Sunday denounced and criticized the record of historical figure Tubman in his first event since he declared himself a presidential candidate in November’s general elections.
In a tirade, in which he touched on topics from religion, abortion, and international trade, West claimed the Underground Railroad conductor “never actually freed the slaves, she just had them work for other white people.”
His controversial comments have since received backlash, followed by a tweetstorm of fact-checks about the abolitionist and civil rights activist.
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Born Minty (Araminta) Ross in 1822 to a family of slaves, Tubman was a key figure of the Underground Railroad, a large movement in North America consisting of several individuals who worked together to aid slaves in their escape from their captors.
A post this week commending her said she “made 19 trips along the Underground Railroad to free over 300 enslaved people between 1850-1860. She once had a $40,000 ($1.2 million in 2020) bounty on her head.”
Indeed, Tubman helped free slaves while risking her own freedom, but the figures mentioned in the post and even repeated in other journals, are “exaggerated”, shrouding the real story of Tubman and her significant contributions.
Here are some myths about the daring abolitionist who was set to become the new face of the $20 bill: