Harriet Tubman - They Called Her Moses

 (339)8.046min201813+
Discover the real Harriet Tubman in this compelling documentary narrated by Alfrelynn Roberts and featuring expert interviews with leading scholars, Dr. Eric Lewis Williams of the Smithsonian Institute and Carl Westmoreland of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It also features remarkable early 20th century audio recordings of African-American spirituals sung by former slaves.
Directors
Robert Fernandez
Starring
Dr. Eric Lewis WilliamsCarl Westmoreland
Genres
Documentary
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Vision Video
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Nudityviolence
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4.6 out of 5 stars

339 global ratings

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  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
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  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

KenyattaReviewed in the United States on August 24, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Freedom at Great Cost
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As a member of the black community, my mother ensured that we knew about our history despite it not being taught in schools and Miss Tubman was a star in my childhood. During many hard times I would always compare my life to that of my ancestors as slaves and found gratitude because I cannot imagine how my ancestors did not become extinct with the horrific conditions they endured. Harriet Tubman was an amazing woman and every time I hear of her it’s unbelievable how much she accomplished to be from such meager means. I have a masters degree and haven’t accomplished half of her feats. I enjoyed this documentary because it highlighted her strong faith in God. It changed the common narrative that Christianity was only valuable to white slave owners to subdue slaves but actually despite what intentions slaveowners had when introducing Christianity to slaves, it back fired because faith in Christ and his suffering provided the narrative that gave the slaves hope. I believe Harriet had spiritual gifts from the Holy Spirit because she did things that were humanly impossible but with God all things are possible. I hate that many blacks don’t know our history and the pieces they know are used to keep them enslaved versus using these stories to empower them and give hope. I hate watching slavery narrative but I refuse to forget the great grace God showed on our people for freedom

Also I love how they highlighted the Quakers, many blacks hate to acknowledge the courageous and altruistic white neighbors who risked everything to help a people who were not known to them. I couldn’t imagine being a young white Quaker in the late 1800s and placing my family and life endanger to help someone who could never help me and may hate me because of my physical features. We need to show more unity among the people when discussing slavery and stop painting all whites as villains and removing the humanity among antebellum slavery that still existed
94 people found this helpful
John P. Jones IIIReviewed in the United States on July 29, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
A woman has to do what she has to do…
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Harriet Tubman was a woman of determination. Regrettably I knew absolutely nothing about her. And then suddenly a few years back I read a news article that indicated that she was to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Certainly, I learned nothing about her from what passed as a “formal education.” Worse still, in my subsequent readings of American history, I never read about her remarkable story. This informative documentary finally remedied another lacuna in my understanding of American history.

The Director, Robert Fernandez, released this movie in 2018. There were a number of interviews with historians such as Dr. Eric Lewis Williams of the Smithsonian and Carl Westmoreland of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Tubman was born into slavery around 1820-21, the 5th child of nine. Her real name was Araminta. She and her family were not in the South’s “cotton belt.” Rather, she lived in Dorchester Co., Maryland, on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, about on the same latitude as Washington, DC. Thus, Pennsylvania, and freedom were tantalizingly near.

As a young slave she was whipped for stealing a bit of sugar. She would retain those scars all her life. In another incident, involving a slave who was attempting to run away, she was hit in the forehead with a weight; it would be another lifetime scar. The 1849 death of the plantation owner, who owned her, and who had heavy debts, was the catalyst for her to escape, since she was afraid that she would be sold to pay for part of those debts. At the time, she was married to a free black man. How that works was never really explained; presumably he had independent accommodation – was she ever allowed to stay there? He did threaten to turn her in to the authorities if she carried out her plans. The documentary made sure to categorize him as “sorry.” A mild critique. They were soon divorced.

Once she had made it to Pennsylvania, she was not content with just her own freedom. She would return 19 times and conveyed an estimated 300 slaves to freedom. The Quakers, who, in 1791, decided that slavery was wrong, were a backbone of the “Underground Railroad,” hiding the slaves in their homes. At times, Tubman had to play “dumb,” on her ventures back to Maryland, and would do a “step and fetch it routine” with a chicken she carried, when white men were near. She earned the sobriquet “Moses,” for leading slaves to freedom. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, that meant taking them all the way to Canada.

It was even more surprising to learn that she would be the guide who would lead Union troops on a raid at Combahee Ferry. Later, she helped Union troops on an attack in South Carolina… and for her services she was paid nothing! I felt the documentary could have provided greater details about her involvement with the Union Army. After the war, she remained active in causes to improve the lives of former slaves. For a period, she even worked with Susan B. Anthony, on women’s suffrage issues. She died in 1913, at approximately the age of 90, still illiterate.

And the $20 bill? Unmentioned in the documentary. Apparently, the “regime change” in DC, in 2016, placed this project on hold. Tubman, Jackson, Bedford Forrest, Confederate statues, et al. concern events of at least 150 years ago. I’m all for reviewing history, and its revisions and re-revisions, but, particularly in this case, I would encourage EQUAL time be given to the slavery of today – the treatment of immigrant workers in meat packing plants et al., the disposability of workers in the “gig economy,” including the purveyors of this movie, and the human trafficking in massage parlors, and on and on. But don’t get me started…

4-stars for this documentary.
39 people found this helpful
Lucy OsborneReviewed in the United States on June 9, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
incomplete and in some areas incorrect
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To make it short and to the point, Mrs. Tubman was not illiterate and her work was not a solo effort as this presentation implies. I have letters written between Mrs. Tubman and Martha Coffin Wright, indicating that the two worked very closely together on many levels. Wright's house was in Auburn New York, the last stop on the Underground Railroad before the Canadian border, where many slaves tasted their first days of freedom. Mrs. Tubman worked closely with William Garrison, Wright's brother-in-law, and with Frederick Douglas, who was introduced to her by Garrison. Mrs. Tubman lived after the Civil War with Mrs. Wright and her extended family for the rest of her life. There were so many people who made abolition possible, starting with William Lloyd Garrison in the 1830's, Harriet Beecher Stowe and so many others. Yes, Tubman was a true hero. And yes, many people were there helping her. I am the thrice great granddaughter of Martha Coffin Wright.
10 people found this helpful
Francisco J. MerinoReviewed in the United States on April 24, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A True Christian by example.
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She was indeed a God sent soul with a mission, a true Beacon for Christians then and today. So humble, yet so strong in her faith and will.
21 people found this helpful
Gary L FrenchReviewed in the United States on February 2, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Engaging and Informative
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Used this for researching a college paper. Super helpful and engaging!!!! Loved how it addressed the importance of faith to Harriet Tubman.
20 people found this helpful
Margaret OpineReviewed in the United States on December 30, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
I REALLY HAD A CRYING FIT IMMEDIATELY.....
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THEN I WAS FILLED WITH PURE ANGER AND I COULD HAVE CHOKED THE CHARACTER WHO SAID, '''HARRIET TUBMAN WAS BORN A SLAVE.''' I FELT OVERWHELMED...TOTALLY. I YELLED, "YOU LIEING BITCH!!!!"

Then I screamed, '''It is very obvious....OBVIOUS....OBVIOUS, OBVIOUS (!!!!) that Harriet was not a slave. And you are so ignorant if you say with your brain, forget your mouth, the damage is in your brain and your soul and that's where you are ignorant if you say that Harriet Tubman was a slave.

AND I SAY TO MY PEOPLE.....FREE HARRIET NOW!!!!!!! FREE HARRIET FROM BEING CALLED A SLAVE. IT IS QUITE OBVIOUS SHE WASN'T A SLAVE. SHE WAS ENSLAVED AS PROPERTY AND WOULD HAVE BEEN TERRIBLY MURDERED IF SHE HAD BEEN CAUGHT.

YOUNG AFRICAN AMERICANS LOOK AT THE ''''CASE OF HARRIET'''' AS A STUDY.
YOU WILL FOREVER SOLVE THE QUESTION, THE DILEMMA , AND THE PURE HELL THAT ENSLAVEMENT IS ....IF YOU CHOOSE THE HARRIET TUBMAN CASE TO STUDY IT WILL ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT ALL INHUMAN....INHUMANE....ENSLAVEMENT.
Point 1:
''ALL''....yes, I said all....human (humane) groups will go (inhumane) inhuman and grab people or buy people or trade to get people and they will do any and all things to dehumanize them. (That means the goal of this/these evil being(s) is to attack & kill your body, mind and the spirit in your soul) and reset it to something that ''he'' calls a '''slave'''. Dehumanized means to mistreat, torture, starve, rape and kill people to try and force them to lose their body, mind and soul and that means to become something else and that something else is what he wants you to be. He is under the impression that you have lost your mind, body and soul and became what he intends for you to be for him...so he cuts, stabs, lynches and does all kind of treachery....EVEN, cut a baby
from a woman's belly and let the fetus fall to the ground so that he can mash it into the earth......ALL TO MAKE HIMSELF FEEL ROYAL Great and Noble.
---NOW WHAT IS THIS CALLED?
It is called EVIL. It is called HELL.
IT IS CALLED A DEFINITE PART OF THE LIFE EXPERIENCE.
ALL OF US ARE CAPABLE OF GOING THERE, BEING THERE.
AND THERE ARE PEOPLE ENSLAVING PEOPLE RIGHT NOW IN THE U.S. AND IN EUROPE.
EUROPEAN STATES.....young females, young males are bought and sold as property and those young females and males are white: blonde, blue eyes and so on.

FOR A DECADE NOW I HAVE TRIED TO TEACH THIS BECAUSE I WANT MY PEOPLE TO RELEASE THEIR ANCESTRY FROM ENSLAVEMENT AND INSTEAD REALIZE THAT THEY WERE NEVER-EVER-EVER-EVER SLAVES.....THEY WERE PEOPLE CAUGHT AND STOLEN AND TIED UP AND DEHUMANIZED IMMEDIATELY TO CHANGE THEM TO SOMETHING THAT IS CALLED A SLAVE BECAUSE THE EVIL PEOPLE WANT TO GAIN A POSITION OVER THOSE STOLEN PEOPLE AND FORCE THEM TO ''''''''''ACT''''''''''''....DO YOU HEAR
ME? I SAID ''''''''ACT''''''.......'''ACT''''' LIKE A SLAVE. '''''THEY WERE NEVER SLAVES'''' I SAID TO A MIXED AUDIENCE IN ''''SAN FRANCISCO AT THIRD BAPTIST CHURCH'''' A DECADE AGO ON FREE MIKE DAY and the African Americans defied me and my view of this '''Inhumane Absolute'''. SO I TOLD THEM LIKE THIS, " I told you from the beginning that I know you will attack me so instead of trying to teach you The God's Heaven Truth about all of our people ....I will rephrase and say: I KNOW MY, MY, MY, MY PEOPLE, MY GRANDMOTHERS AND FATHERS WERE NEVER SLAVES....A WORD THAT GLORIFIES THE ''SLAVERS'''.....I REPEAT: TO CALL YOUR ANCESTRY ''SLAVES'' IS TO BE ON THE '''SLAVERS''' SIDE.....NOT ON GOD'S SIDE...NOT ON YOUR PEOPLE'S SIDE. AND THEN I SAID.....MY, MY, MY PEOPLE WERE NEVER SLAVES...THEY WERE STOLEN, ENSLAVED, AND DEHUMANIZED AND FORCED '''TO ACT'''' LIKE SOMETHING CALLED A SLAVE OR THEY WOULD GET MORE BEATINGS AND LYNCHINGS. (THE GOAL WAS TO NOT TREAT THEM HUMANLY) AND, WHILE ENSLAVED THEY WERE BEATEN AND STARVED AND RAPED AND LYNCHED ALL IN AN EFFORT TO BUILD AMERICA. (do you hear me?) ALL IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE RICH DUDES (NOT MEN) WHO FORCED MY ANCESTORS TO WORK FOR FREE.....BUILDING AMERICA!!!!
'''BUILDING AMERICA'''....DO YOU HEAR ME.....OUR PEOPLE HELPED TO BUILD AMERICA FROM THE START....THE FIRST SECOND.
* YOU CAN ARGUE: '''You stole my people. You dehumanized them. You brought them across the waters to a living hell and you forced them to help build America.''''

And they did that. They did that. They did that. My people helped build America.

NOW YOU HAVE HEARD MY VIEW: I HOPE TO FINISH MY THESES IN 6 MONTHS FOR MY 75TH BIRTHDAY. IT WILL BE CALLED:
''''BLUE HAIR SWAGGER'''', by Mildred Penn Lee
by Mildred Penn Lee, cultural anthropology
6 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on December 21, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Courage!
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Magnificent documentary of an Amazing Woman of God and my heritage !
21 people found this helpful
LexicronReviewed in the United States on February 28, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
Why the Railroad metaphors?
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Perhaps it was for lack of time and the desire to spend all of it with the focus on Harriet Tubman herself. Yet I would greatly appreciate some historical background on how the idea of there being a metaphorical "railroad" to freedom spread from slave to slave. Were there actual people who were considered "agents" and made this metaphor more specific? Who created the language for the Underground Railroad--is it written anywhere? Approximately how many free people (blacks and whites?) were involved in this process? For how long did the Railroad function? And why was Harriet Tubman in poverty during her last years? She had owned property, no? This documentary presents an impassioned homage to freedom, through the courage of Harriet Tubman (and others?), and it whets the appetite for more details, more information, more about the network known as the Underground Railroad.
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