Hunting, Foraging, And Herbalism Were Essential For Harriet Tubman's Rescue Missions

photo of harriet tubman
Graciella Ye’Tsunami
November 8, 2023

Harriet Tubman is known for her fearlessness. She was called the Moses of The Underground Railroad. But exactly how was she able to free hundreds of people with so few resources?

Having grown up hunting in swamps, Tubman held  immense knowledge about hunting, foraging, and herbalism. When food was scarce on long journeys, these skills made the difference between life and death.

Tubman was responsible for finding sustenance and medicinal remedies for all escapees she rescued, and because many plants were poisonous, sometimes that task felt impossible.

Christmas was a common time to stage escapes. Many feared being sold on New Year's Day, so they ran while enslavers were distracted by holiday festivities. But food sources were scarce in the winter. 

At times, other members of The Underground would hide food sacks in the woods on the route along the way to the nearest safe house. Other times, foraging acorns was the best option.

While we might not have access to infinite resources, like Tubman we can be resourceful and make the best out of what we’ve got. 

When we tap into ancestral knowledge, community resources, and collective brilliance, building a Black liberated future feels not only possible, but abundantly nourishing.

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