Did you know?

Swing low, sweet Harriet.

No, you didn’t read that wrong.

The derivation of the song which spawned an Oscar winning film about two British Olympic athletes and was then championed by England rugby supporters has its origins in Harriet Tubman.

Harriet who?

Well you’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more about Harriet with a new film coming out this year about the abolitionist whose Underground Railroad helped thousands to safety from the Deep South.

I saw the cramped ‘railroad’ first hand in Memphis and felt truly humbled and embarrassed because of the colour of my skin though there were in truth many white abolitionists who helped in the struggle too.

Harriet is currently big news in the US and not just because of the movie… when I visited the Deep South two and a half years ago they were planning to put her face on the $20 dollar bill – a great honour considering only Presidents normally receive that accolade.

Now that has stalled and she may not get her face on the $20 bill until 2028. The US Treasury is reviewing the Trump administration’s delay.

Watch this space.

And read more about Harriet and the Abolition Movement in my Martin Luther King MLK50 trip through Memphis and Mississippi.The Promised Land

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