A Woman Called Moses (1978)




Director:     ,

Starring:      Cicely Tyson (Harriet Ross Tubman), Orson Welles (narrator), Will Geer (Thomas Garrett), Robert Hooks (William Still), James Wainwright (Andrew Coleman), Jason Bernard (Daddy Ben Ross), Clifford David (Doc Thompson), Judyann Elder (Bernette Wilson), John Getz (Stewart), Mae Mercer (Aunt Juba), Hari Rhodes (Tavwell Robinson), James Sikking (McCracken), Charles Weldon (Shadrack Davis), Dick Anthony Williams (John Tubman), Jean Foster (Young Harriet Tubman).

Harriet Tubman helps slaves escape via the underground railroad




This is a good movie about the story of Harriet Tubman (Cicely Tyson).

This story deals with Harriet's 19 forays into Maryland to take slaves to freedom in Canada. It keeps your interest because the pressure to catch her constantly mounts from the slaveholders who offer as much as $40,000 for her capture.  It is a very inspiring story because this woman constantly risked her life going into the south to bring slaves to freedom.

It is at times hard to understand what Cicely Tyson is saying and at times you wonder how such a skinny woman would have the energy for 19 forays, but she still does an excellent job in the role.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


Historical Background:


1820  --  born a slave, Araminta Greene, Dorchester county, Md., U.S.  She adopts her mother's first name, Harriet.

1844 --  marries John Tubman, a free black.

1849  --  she hears she is to be sold; flees to Philadelphia.

1850 --  makes her way back to Baltimore, Maryland and leads her sister and two children to freedom. This is the first of what became 19 increasingly dangerous forays into Maryland in which, over the next decade, she conducts upward of 300 fugitive slaves to Canada along the Underground Railroad ,an elaborate secret network of safe houses organized for that purpose.

She becomes the railroad's most famous conductor and is known as the "Moses of her people" or simply "Moses." Slaveholders offer dead or alive rewards for her totalling $40,000.

John Brown consults her about his plans for a slave rebellion.  He calls her "General" Tubman.

1857  -- she sneaks her parents out of Maryland.

1858 --  she buys a small farm near Auburn, New York, where she places her aged parents

1862-1865 --  a scout and spy, as well as nurse and laundress, for Union forces in South Carolina.

after 1856  --  settles in Auburn where she takes in so many orphans and elderly that the Harriet Tubman Home for Indigent Aged Negroes is established.

late 1860s --  applies for a federal pension for her Civil War services.

late 1890s  --  reapplies for the federal pension. Some 30 years after her service a private bill providing for $20 monthly was passed by Congress.

1913  --  dies at her home in Auburn, N.Y.


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