Harriet Tubman Visits Catholic School for Black History Month

Paul Keggington

February 28, 2013

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity serving at St. Francis of Assisi School, Greenwood, MS report on a culminating activity for Black History Month, a visit from Harriet Tubman.

“…and before I’d be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave, and go home to my Lord and be free.”  These are words from the Negro Spiritual “Oh Freedom” and are also attributed to Harriet Tubman, a heroine of the Underground Railroad.  The students, staff and parents of St. Francis of Assisi School as well as members of the Greenwood community were privileged to experience a visit from Harriet Tubman as a culminating activity for Black History Month.

Ms. Hester J. Moore, a professional actress and African American storyteller from Memphis transformed herself into Harriet Tubman and truly brought this famous figure to life.  Ms. Moore arrived the evening before her performance and spent the night at the convent.  This was a true first for her and she had many questions.  It was a wonderful evening of sharing.

She presented two performances, doing one for the younger students and a slightly altered one for the older children.  She told of Harriet’s childhood as a slave, her longing for freedom, her experience of escape and her determination in bringing others to freedom via the Underground Railroad.  Throughout her performance she would burst into song giving stirring renditions of several Spirituals and explaining their secret meanings for the runaway slaves.  The students and adults were mesmerized and all learned a great deal.  Ms. Moore reminded us all that we have much to be grateful for in considering our heritages and those who went before us.  Freedom is a gift to be cherished and never to be taken for granted!

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