Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard

Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard

Author:Timothy Ballard
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Published: 2018-07-15T16:00:00+00:00

Ten days later they arrived in Philadelphia. Harriet was almost thirty years old, and she had at last made it to the free states! (ILSG, 201–3).

What a miracle the previous weeks had been! As it turned out, nothing ever came from old Jenny. She had most likely seen nothing in the storeroom that night after all—which, of course, only adds to the mysterious, miraculous chain of events that ended in this beautiful moment of arrival in Philadelphia. What if there had not been a weather delay once Fanny boarded the ship? What if Molly had not forgotten to lock the storeroom door? What if Jenny hadn’t showed up unexpectedly? If any of those occurrences had not happened, then Harriet would still be locked up in an attic. Moreover, if the strange coincidences had not occurred that had led Harriet and Molly to suddenly abandon the opportunity for escape, then Fanny would have been left behind in dire need. And yet, all these things happened, and they combined to instead deliver two innocent daughters of God to the freedom they deserved.

Though they had arrived in Philadelphia at night, the captain advised them to stay on the boat and disembark in the morning, so as to not excite suspicion. Better to hide in plain sight. “Be it said to the honor of this captain,” wrote Harriet, “Southerner as he was, that if Fanny and I had been white ladies, and our passage lawfully engaged, he could not have treated us more respectfully.” Harriet remembered how the captain during their voyage had expressed embarrassment and shame toward his countrymen (to include his own brother, who was a slave trader) for participating in something as pitiful and degrading as the buying and selling of human beings. He would do what little acts he could to counter the evil (ILSG, 202–5).

The captain pointed Harriet and Fanny to elements of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia. From there the women were cared for and set on their way. Harriet, at her request, was sent safely to New York City, where she went in search of her precious Lulu, whom she had not seen in two years. Only about seven when she had left her dear mother that sacred night in Molly’s home, Lulu was now nine years old and somewhere in or near that great Northern city. Though Harriet had found immediate friends, she was saddened by the obvious racism and discrimination she also encountered in the North (ILSG, 209). She quickly realized that she had much work still to do to help change an unfair and crooked American system, even in the Northern states. She would fight until the end to do so. But for now, it was time to focus on finding her baby.

Once in the city, Harriet found a friend from her hometown who helped her track down the family with whom Lulu had been residing. Eventually they found what they believed was the right neighborhood. Shortly thereafter, they saw two young girls walking by them.



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