In the story, The Long Path to Freedom, by Kate McMullan, Harriet Tubman is the main character. She is a slave who had been hit in the head with a brick when trying to aid another escaping slave. This punishment left Harriet with a huge scar on her head. It also caused her to have sudden sleeping spells which meant she could fall asleep anytime or anywhere.
Harriet was born a slave, but was married to John Tubman who was free. Her husband told her, “He would inform Dr. Thomspon, the master of the plantation, if she tried to run away.” One morning as Harriet was working in the field, a white neighbor woman approached her. Harriet recognized this lady as a Quaker and knew that she could be trusted because she doesn’t believe in slavery. She asked her name and how she had gotten the scar on her head. Harriet told her story to the Quaker woman and she kindly offered her to go to her farm if she ever needed help.
Harriet appreciated what this lady had told her, but she knew that escaping would not be easy, especially if she was caught. Her biggest fear was that she would have one of her sleeping spells and be seen easily. Harriet soon received news that she and three of her brothers were to be sold to a slave trader from the south. Harriet went to find her brothers to tell them the news that they all must run away. They started on their way but the brothers were too frightened to continue. Harriet wanted to keep going but they fought her and forced her back to the plantation. Two days later, she waited until her husband was fast asleep. Then she got up. She packed a little corn bread and salt pork in a bandanna. She was finally on her way. Her first stop was the white woman’s house, but the lady told her she was not safe to stay there overnight.
The Quaker woman explained to Harriet that she had more than ninety miles to go before she would cross the Mason-Dixon Line to Freedom.” Harriet again was very grateful to the woman and gave her a beautiful quilt.
Harriet continued her journey all through the night. She rested during the day. She knew she could be easily seen if she walked during daylight. As she was walking, all of a sudden she fell to the ground and slept for a while. When she awoke, she heard men’s voices and horses snuffling and stomping on the road. When the path was clear, she continued her journey towards Camden, NJ. She was headed to Quakers Eliza and Ezekiel Hunn’s house. Harriet stood with them for three days but remained hidden. On the fourth day, Eliza packed Harriet some food and Ezekiel took her in his wagon where he covered her with a blanket. At one point, Harriet had to get out of the wagon and walk through the woods. Making sure there was no one on the road, he told Harriet to climb out. He explained that it wasn’t safe for him to drive her any further. Slave hunters were everywhere in this part. So again, Harriet continued her journey through the woods.
She was very thankful to God for bringing her this far. She went to another Quaker’s house. His name was Thomas Garrett. He was well known for helping slaves. He dressed Harriet up real well so that she didn’t look like a slave and they rode in Thomas’ buggy into town. At this point, he told Harriet that she wasn’t far from freedom, but it was still dangerous for her. She was getting close to Pennslyvania, the free state, but there were too many people watching the border where slaves crossed. Thomas told her to look out for a signpost further down. Harriet started up the road again the dark. A few mintues later she heard horses galloping along the road. She stayed hidden until all was quiet. Then she ran through the woods, not stopping until she came to the road. As the sun came up, she saw the signpost that read “Pennsylvania” and she crossed the line into freedom.
Harriet was finally safe. She knew from this point on that slavery was behind her. Harriet said, “There was such a glory over everything, the sun came up like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.” Now that Harriet is no longer a slave, she is determined to return to Maryland one day and free her family also.