Harriet Tubman was born a slave. She and her brothers, Ben and Henry, escaped from slavery on September 17, 1849. When her brothers later decided to return to slavery, she followed, but not for long for she soon escaped again. Once free, she brought refugees from slavery in Maryland to freedom in Canada. In the fall of 1851, Tubman returned for the first time since her escape to find her husband, John. She once declared “I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to – liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive; I should fight for my liberty as song as my strength lasted, and when the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.” She and uncounted others crossed the Suspension Bridge in Buffalo into Canada to set themselves free. Names and details about most freedom seekers remain unknown. Their safety lay in secrecy. Tubman personally let about 70 people to freedom.
Joan of Arc
“I like Joan of Arc best of all my books; and it is the best; I know it perfectly well.
And besides, it furnished me seven times the pleasure afforded me by any of the
others; twelve years of preparation, and two years of writing. The others needed no
preparation and got none.” Mark Twain
Most people are unaware that Mark Twain spent over a decade researching Saint Joan of Arc and wrote what he considered to be his greatest work – Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc – originally published in Harpers Magazine in 1895 as chapters attributed to the fictitious author Sieur Louis de Conte. When the public found out that Twain was actually the author, many were suspicious, thinking Twain was perpetrating some kind of a joke. Twain’s biographer Albert Paine
defends Twain saying it is actually his greatest writing: “Considered from every point of view, Joan of Arc is Mark Twain’s supreme literary expression, the loftiest, the most delicate, the most luminous example of his work.”
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