A group of Christians led Philadelphia leftists into believing that they were invited to a rally about placing Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill — only to learn that the event was a benevolent troll meant to teach about equal protection under the law for all humans.
For the past ten months, members of Free The States — a Christian organization seeking the immediate abolition of abortion — distributed over 550,000 “Tubman 20s” across the country. The front of the bill features Harriet Tubman holding a lantern and a pistol, while the back of the bill features the burning of Pennsylvania Hall — the headquarters of Philadelphia’s slavery abolition movement, which was torched by an angry mob four days after its opening in May 1838.
— Christian Reed-Ogba (@OGchrisO) October 19, 2020
In addition to other imagery recalling the abolition of slavery, the bill pointed recipients toward a website called Tubman20.com, which announced an in-person and livestreamed rally on August 1 at the former site of Pennsylvania Hall.
T. Russell Hunter — nineteenth-century historian, founder of Free the States, and the artist who designed the Tubman 20 — explained to virtual and in-person attendees that though the abolitionists who opposed slavery are lauded in the modern era, they were loathed by the vast majority of Americans in the decades leading to the Civil War.
“Harriet Tubman is popular today,” said Hunter. “Her abolitionist friends are popular today. You can watch PBS documentaries about the abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass … But when Harriet Tubman was living in this city, she was an outlaw. People tried to chase her down.”
Hunter then explained that Tubman’s faith in Jesus Christ drove her to boldly push for the end of slavery.
“Harriet Tubman — and these men and women in the abolitionist movement — rejected all compromise with slavery. They demanded its total and immediate abolition. These abolitionists not only argued that slavery was evil, but they argued that gradual abolition was evil. They spent as much time arguing with moderate anti-slavery gradualists as they did arguing against slavery itself.”
“Here’s the point. Does our culture truly support Harriet Tubman?” Hunter asked the attendees. “Do we appreciate people like Harriet Tubman, or do we treat abolitionists of today in the way we treated abolitionists of the past?”
Hunter said that Free The States — operating under the name “Human Art Tribe,” an anagram for “Harriet Tubman,” for the project — agrees with Tubman’s methodology.
“We find ourselves in a similar situation today among a similar people,” he explained. “Chattel slavery is no longer legal; it has been abolished. The Supreme Court no longer prohibits individuals or states from helping those in bondage. However, the federal government, every state government, and the majority of the population totally, emphatically, and unquestionably protects the Supreme Court-sanctioned evil of our own age… I am talking about the evil of human abortion and the movement to abolish it.”
As soon as Hunter mentioned abortion, roughly one-quarter of attendees left.
“Some of these folks that leave, that don’t want to hear us out — they don’t realize that they are treating us just the same way as they treated the abolitionists of an earlier age,” Hunter noted. “They were willing to celebrate abolitionists like Harriet Tubman until someone said, ‘You agree with her then, but you would not agree with her now.’”
“We believe that these children ought to be rescued from being taken away to death. Like her, we believe that we should not live for ourselves, but we should live for others. Like her, we believe in and follow Christ. We believe that He leads the abolitionist cause, and that His gospel is the answer to abortion.”
Hunter told The Daily Wire that “it was very interesting to note who left and who stayed.”
“Almost all the white liberals stormed off in anger when the rally switched gears,” he said. “But nearly no black people left. Many of them stayed for more than thirty minutes after the rally was over to talk about abolitionism and have me sign their bills. Our message resonated strongly with them.”
“Our culture thinks they like Harriet Tubman, but that’s only because they have created a false, secularized version of her,” Hunter continued. “She was a Bible-quoting, gun-toting, evangelical Christian abolitionist who trusted in God’s providence above all else. Tubman was the furthest thing from a modern leftist.”
Hunter observed, however, that Tubman would by no means consider herself a pro-life Republican.
“Tubman demanded slavery’s total and immediate abolition. She told Lincoln, ‘Never wound a snake. Kill it.’ She supported nullifying tyrannical fugitive slave laws. She supported immediatism, nullification, and many more of the principles pro-life leaders argue against when they oppose abolition bills.”
“Because of this, we set out to teach the culture about immediatism, nullification, and — most importantly — the gospel of Jesus Christ that animated Harriet Tubman,” said Hunter.
Tubman20.com will continue to promote the gospel and the immediate abolition of abortion; it will eventually host Free The States’ documentary about the project.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.