Human Rights

Hero: Harriet Tubman

This post is the work of students at the 2011 Live Action Leadership Summit currently taking place. The students have formed teams for their time at the Summit and each chose heroes as their team name. The teams are competing with one another, and their first assignment was to write about a hero in history who upheld the value of the human person, and discuss how this hero informs and inspires them to be pro-life advocates today. We now encourage you to give your feedback and encouragement to these amazing youth age 14-19 in the feedback section below.


“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” In today’s society, the truth of this quote by Edmund Burke can be seen clearly. Planned Parenthood has established an empire based on the murder of 1.2 million unborn children each year. In the midst of this evil, it is necessary to rise against this legalized murder and follow the principle outlined by Burke.  One of the best illustrations of standing against organized evil is the life of Harriet Tubman; a woman whose actions should be a lesson to the pro-life movement.

Three parallels we can draw from her include the way she fought to defend the helpless, how improbable of a candidate she was, and how she pursued her goal all the way to the end.  Through her example we can better improve our tactics in our stand against abortion.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

The first parallel between Harriet Tubman and our goals as pro life activists is a willingness to defend the helpless.  A runaway slave herself, Harriet Tubman returned to slave owning plantations to aid and free her people, thus earning the nickname: “Moses”. She managed to rescue over seventy slaves through the Underground Railroad; a secret coalition of persons sympathetic to the plight of the slaves.  At a time when few were willing to defend their fellow man, Tubman stood up to defend those without political protection. Her stance demonstrates exactly the type of action that we should aspire to in our struggle against abortion. In our world, we should see the unborn, defenseless members of society in the same way that Tubman did, as human beings worthy of protection.

The second similarity between Tubman and modern day activism is just how unlikely of a candidate she was.  She had multiple different things going against her.  She was an African-American runaway slave. She had a medical condition that caused her to have fainting spells which could last for days. And during the 1840’s, her people faced extreme political opposition.  But despite these difficulties she continued to fight for what she believed in. Similarly, we, the pro-life of America need to stand up for life. Age, race or gender should not be mental hindrances, nor should anything else for that matter. Sometimes we try to give ourselves empty excuses to avoid doing the right thing, but if someone like Harriet Tubman could overcome countless odds, then why can’t we?

The final virtue practiced by Harriet Tubman that we can apply to our pro life activism is that of perseverance. After each of her rescue expeditions, she could have retired a hero, and considered her duty fulfilled.  No one would have considered less of her, but she refused to quit until all the slaves were protected.  She famously stated: “Do you suppose he wanted me to do this just for a day…? No! the Lord… told me to take care of my people… so long as I live, and… I do what he told me.” Likewise, we the defenders of life should never believe that we have an excuse to give up, when there are thousands of desperate muted cries begging for a chance to live. If there is any cause worth fighting for, it is life.

We have seen through Harriet Tubman’s defense of the helpless, improbable servitude, and perseverance, a woman whose achievements should provide a rallying point for the pro-life movement.  Edmund Burke said that evil will flourish unless good men and women stand to oppose them.  Let us be the “good men and women”; let us stand up for life.

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