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Harriet Tubman Warns "Kill the Snake Before It Kills You" (with text supports)

Harriet Tubman was among the best known conductors of the Underground Railroad, a network of enslaved people, free blacks, and white sympathizers that assisted thousands of runaway slaves escape north. During the Civil War, Tubman offered her services to the Union army, first as a nurse and cook, and later as an armed scout and spy. In the allegory below, Tubman warns that the Confederacy would never be defeated unless slavery was defeated first. Tubman could not read or write, but her words were written down by Lydia Maria Child, a white abolitionist and women’s rights activist from Massachusetts. Child met Tubman in a Union camp in Hampton, Virginia where both women volunteered helping “contraband” slaves.

Source | Letter from Lydia Maria Child to John G. Whittier, January 21, 1862, in Letters from Lydia Maria Child (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1882), 161.
Creator | Harriet Tubman
Item Type | Diary/Letter
Cite This document | Harriet Tubman, “Harriet Tubman Warns "Kill the Snake Before It Kills You" (with text supports),” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 25, 2023,

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