Sweet Mother Moses

Sweet King Martin, Sweet Queen Correta, Sweet Brother Malcolm, Sweet Queen Betty, Sweet Mother Moses❤️‍🔥, Sweet Father Joseph, Sweet Jesus, We made it in America

Mixed Media on Canvas; Approx. 152cm x 175cm ( 60in. x 69in.)

From the estimated 100,000 people who escaped through the Underground Railroad many of them were from the border states because the journey was much shorter and safer. It was thought that once they arrived they were free. On the other hand African Americans from the South had way longer journeys until the north and probably many of them didn’t even know the free states existed. As an enslaved individual knowing how to read or write was a crime so without any maps not knowing where to head escaping alone was very difficult that being said this is where the Underground Railroad comes into the story as the name says this route was made of many underground ghost train stations that led to the far north even Canada or at least that’s what they say. In reality it was neither underground nor railroad but a secret network which was not run by a single organization or person. It was run by both black and white people who tried rescuing individuals to the far north. This system had a well defined structure and certain people had certain roles whose names were coated so masters and owners of the enslaved people wouldn’t be aware of the secret route.

Underground Railroad

It is believed that the Underground Railroad was created shortly before the beginning of the 19th century by abolitionists many of whom lived in Pennsylvania many abolitionists or people who were enslaved but escaped on their own joined the network one of the most important roles in this system was the agent who was the person that went to plantations to try and help free slaves. Telling them to meet at a certain time near the plantation with a conductor who was a guide.

In creating Harriet’s gown I assembled broken pieces of plastic, loose threads, paint, and polymers to create an homage to the Underground Railroad.


During the late 1800s and 1900s they had shared songs that were transmitted from generation to generation and contained hints that helped the escapees go north. So they were something like musical maps lyrics from follow the “drinking gourd” a guide for people who wanted to escape and even the title means follow the North Star. Travel until the sunrise and rest in the day and then again when night came follow the north star and Moss on trees to go north.

The Drinking Gourd

The agents usually pretended to be enslaved to enter plantations and tell the others the date when they would have to escape the perfect time would have been on a clear night on Saturday because masters would have to wait until Monday morning to place an announcement in the newspaper. The best season to try and escape was late fall or early winter because the longer the nights would allow more ground for the escaped groups to cover.


Harriet was nicknamed “Moses” by William Lloyd Garrison who was an active abolitionist during that time. The name was used as a reference to the biblical story of Moses, the man who lead the Jews to the Promised Land and freed them from slavery. Tubman freed approximately 70 people in 13 trips. In addition to the family and friends, Tubman also gave instruction to another 70 or so freedom seekers from the Eastern Shore who found their way to freedom on their own.


Harriet Tubman is the most widely recognized symbol of the Underground Railroad. When she escaped in 1849, she was aided by members of the Underground Railroad. However her freedom felt empty without being able to share it with the people she loved. Her people. Our people. “I have heard their groans and sighs, and seen their tears, and I would give every drop of blood in my veins to free them.” -Harriet Tubman

Portrait of Harriet Tubman

Sweet King Martin, Sweet Queen Correta, Sweet Brother Malcolm, Sweet Queen Betty, Sweet Mother Moses❤️‍🔥, Sweet Father Joseph, Sweet Jesus, We made it in America

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