January 20, 2020

THE LAST FOUNDERS:

HARRIET TUBMAN'S LAST GREAT HUMANITARIAN ACT (Carly Stern, JANUARY 20, 2020, OZY)

In 1911, Harriet Tubman moved into a home she had never imagined she would need herself: the Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes. The famed abolitionist had created the haven to lift up the poor and aging in her community. She hadn't necessarily planned to spend her own final years there. But after a lifetime of seizures, headaches and narcoleptic attacks as a result of a childhood head trauma, she'd become increasingly frail at nearly 90 years of age.

Tubman, who was born into slavery, is famous for guiding hundreds of slaves to safer ground through the Underground Railroad in the 1800s following her own escape from bondage. But many of her numerous post-Civil War accomplishments to fight for the poor and vulnerable remain obscured. In addition to being an outspoken suffragist and co-founder of the NACW -- the National Association of Colored Women -- Tubman opened what some historians say was the first nursing home for aging Black people.

Located in Auburn, New York, the Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes formally opened in 1908 but had been a project years in the making. She created a place for former slaves to receive housing and health care that would enable them to age in dignity and decency, says Karen V. Hill, president and CEO of Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. "This is the culmination of her life's work" in freedom, says Kimberly Szewczyk, a park ranger and senior interpretive specialist at the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.

Posted by at January 20, 2020 12:00 AM

  

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