Swing low, sweet Harriet

I doubt whether there will be too many England rugby supporters who will know the story behind their anthem.

But maybe they’ll get an idea after they watch the film I’ve been waiting all year for.

Harriet Tubman

I refer, of course, to Harriet which tells the story of one of the greatest Americans, nay a woman for the ages, hits cinemas today.

Harriet Tubman is as large a figure in American history as her more lauded peers Abraham Lincoln or Frederick Douglass.

And yet the ‘great’ Americans of our day have in their wisdom decided to hold off from giving her a worthy place on a banknote.

Myrlie Evers

An honour which had been reserved for American Presidents and a certain ‘bastard son of a whore and a Scotsman’.

I don’t know if the Scotsman bit was a bigger challenge and yet this son of the Caribbean rose to be George Washington’s trusty aide and moneyman.

And Broadway sensation. In fact if you look hard enough you can see Alexander Hamilton all over New York…

But much like the course of American history, the one I did, I’m off on a tangent.

Rosa Parks

So back to Harriet.

In the absence of her own bank note the best place to see Harriet is in the Deep South or on the big screen.

The backstory to ‘Swing Low’ was that Harriet was a slave who fled captivity.

The Underground Railroad

And yet was a key figure in the Underground Railroad to transport fellow slaves up north to Freedom.

At great personal cost and danger to herself with the equivalent of $1million bounty on her head.

The slaves kept their morale up by masking their trust in Harriet behind what their masters thought was a gospel spiritual.

Fannie Lou Hamer

You can learn more about Harriet and the history of slavery here on this site.

And meet another couple of iconic women, Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer and the actual Myrlie Evers.

I’ll point you in the right direction and the hottest Smithsonian ticket in Washington DC, the African-American Museum.

And much, much more… Easy DC.

With the unfinished sculpture of MLK

My American Trilogy

And explore Tennessee and Mississippi in my American Trilogy series..

Which was part of the Martin Luther King 50th commemoration…

The Promised Land, The story of the Blues. And The King of Kings.

The story of slavery and the Road to Freedom is of course the whole of Ameria’s story.

Outside Ben’s Chili Bowl, central to the story, in DC

But here are some of the places and the websites I’ve been where you can feel truly part of it…

With special mention to the African-American Museum in DC, the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee and the Museum of Mississippi.

http://www.washington.org, https://nmaahc.si.edu, http://www.civilrightsmuseum, http://www.mmh.mdah.ms.gov.

Swing by your local cinema and see this film… I will. And I might even start singing.

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