The great abolitionist Harriet Tubman, made 14 trips on the Underground Railroad during the Civil War to guide others to freedom. This took a lot of heart. 14 items will be placed within the glass heart to represent important facets of her life story and commitment to freedom.
Cheryl Derricotte is a visual artist and her favorite mediums are glass and paper. Originally from Washington, DC, she lives and makes art in San Francisco, CA. Her art has been featured in the New York Times, The Guardian, The San Francisco Chronicle, MerciSF and the San Francisco Business Times. In 2021 she was awarded the commission to develop a monument to Harriet Tubman at the new transit-oriented development, Gateway at Millbrae Station; it is believed to be the first sculptural tribute to Tubman in glass. www.CherylDerricotteStudio.com
Beginning in 2016, the former US Treasury Secretary proposed putting Harriet Tubman's image on the $20 bill by 2020. The goal was to have her on the bill by the 100th anniversary of the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. This action had bi-partisan support, more and more of a rarity in the US. Frustrated by set-backs from the Trump Administration, artist Dano Wall made a 3-D stamp and encouraged others to use his model to make their own. Through his own sale of stamps, he raised money for charities. See https://tubmanstamp.com/Currently, it is 2022 and we are still waiting. Some stay it may be as long as 2030 before we actually see Harriet Tubman on US currency. In the meantime, I stamped a $20 using one of the many variations of Dano Wall's stamp sold on Etsy and put it into my glass heart.
2. Critical Biography
There is one well-regarded critical biography of Harriet Tubman’s life. Entitled “Harriet Tubman Portrait of an American Hero: Bound for the Promised Land,” this work by scholar Dr. Kate Clifford Larson debunks a lot of the myths surrounding Harriet’s life. This picture of the book cover was placed into the heart.
3. Feminist Perspectives
Much to my delight, my monument design was featured with an essay by Dr. Larson for Ms. Magazine's celebration of Harriet Tubman's 200th Birthday . You can read the full article here: https://msmagazine.com/2022/02/08/harriet-tubman-life-myth-misinformation-civil-rights-slavery/ I put a copy into the glass heart.
4. Wealthy & Wise
I wrote the number "3" on a piece of paper and put it into the heart. Every article or book about Harriet Tubman states that she died poor. While she may not have had cash on hand, she owned over 30 acres of land, with 3 buildings. Her properties were located in Auburn, NY and she donated them to here the AME church where she had been a long-time member. Philanthropists, like Harriet Tubman, have big hearts.
A lot of the myths about Harriet Tubman’s life, came from two early biographies written by her friend, Sarah Hopkins Bradford. Bradford was an abolitionist, and she wrote highly embellished versions of Harriet’s life story -- so that Harriet would have income. Harriet had struggled for years to get the US government to pay her a pension for her time as a Civil War nurse, and the widow of a Civil War Veteran, her second husband, Nelson Davis. Her friends decided that her story would appeal to a wide audience and Sarah agreed to write it. We could all use a friend like Sarah. She had a big heart.
I put a small cloth handkerchief in the heart, to remember the tears in Congress when Sen. Cory Booker addressed the chamber during the confirmation proceedings of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. When confirmed, she will be the first Black woman on the US Supreme Court. “Throughout his monologue, Booker cited the Black men and women who had helped pave a path for Jackson and himself. He talked about how the abolitionist Harriet Tubman was beaten before she escaped slavery, then went back to save other slaves, establishing a network of safe houses. Tubman, Booker said, would gaze at the night sky looking for a star that was a "harbinger of hope." “I thought about her. And how she looked up, she kept looking up no matter what they did to her she never stopped looking up. And that star was a harbinger of hope,” Booker said. "Today, you're my star. You are my harbinger of hope. This country's getting better and better and better. And when that final vote happens, and you ascend on to the highest court in the land, I'm going to rejoice.”” Link to the full video here: https://www.yahoo.com/news/booker-brings-jackson-to-tears-with-impassioned-speech-you-are-my-star-231627224.html
7. Military Service
The National Portrait Gallery ( https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.2006.31 ) states that Artist John G. Darby (1830-1860's) created this woodcut of Harriet Tubman for the book, Scenes in the life of Harriet Tubman (1868). It commemorates her service to the Union Army as a spy during the Civil War. It should be noted that Harriet was never paid for her service by the US Government and she sued them in a bid for women's financial independence. Ultimately, she received her husband's pension as a widow, but not her own.