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Harriet Tubman deserves better

Harriet Tubman deserves better

Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in 1849 and went on to be a leader in the operations of an Underground Railroad providing routes for slaves to escape to the north.  She organized 13 trips to the south, bringing 70 slaves to freedom.  She was the first woman to lead a United States Army raid that freed more than 700 slaves in South Carolina in 1863.  Until her death in 1913 at the age of 91, she was active in the abolition and suffrage movements and a promoter of the Republican Party.  The latter is a fact that many modern historians and documentarians omit.

Tubman arose out of contemporary obscurity in 2016, when President Obama proposed her image on the $20 bill in place of President Andrew Jackson.  He did not proceed with the plan.  Some have suggested that he put the idea on hold after he got pushback from Democrat leaders – who still revere the white supremacist Jackson as their iconic hero.  In fact, annual Jackson Day Dinners is the equivalent of the Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinners.

President Trump never demonstrated any interest in the Tubman $20 bill proposal. It may be due to his personal admiration for Jackson. He ordered Jackson’s portrait to be given a place of honor in the Oval Office – and among his first travels as President, Trump visited the Jackson gravesite.  Trump has never been good at pointing to the historic distinctions between the Democratic and Republican parties on issues of civil rights.  (At the time, I wrote a critical commentary entitled “Trump’s visit to Jackson’s grave was a disgraceful act of historical ignorance”.)

Early on, President Biden promised to follow through with the new Tubman $20 bill.   After three years in office, however, no action had been taken.

Harriet Tubman is in the news again – this time the controversy is over a statue of the abolitionist.  It began when the Creative Philly – the Philadelphia Office of Arts Culture and Creative Economy – commissioned artist Wesley Wolford to create a “temporary” statue honoring Tubman.  The statue named “Journey to Freedom” depicted Tubman as young woman leading a group of slaves to freedom with rifle in hand.  (Tubman routinely carried a pistol, but a bit of artistic license is okay.)

After being displayed in Philadelphia, the statue was sent on a 17-city tour in which it was viewed to great acclaim.  The statue became so popular that Creative Philly gave Wolford a $500,000 commission to create a version of the statue for permanent display on the City’s commons.

That is when the clay hit the woke fan.

A modicum of pushbacks came because Creative Philly did not put the job up for bids.  Based on the past involvement with Wolford and his statue, they wanted him to make a permanent one – obviously something no other artist could do.

The real pushback came from the radical woke left.  You see, Wolford is a … white male.  According to leftwing woke orthodoxy, no white person can produce a meaningful work of art depicting a black woman.  Even though Wolford already had.  Only a black person – preferably a woman – can have the experiential sensitivity to perform the task … so the critics claimed.  Only Black artists “can truly understand and portray Tubman’s struggles and achievements.”  If you follow that line of reasoning, the artist should be a black woman REPUBLICAN.

(Psssst!  Do not tell the terminally offended perma-pissed folks on the woke left that the official White House portrait of President Obama was done by Robert McCurdy … a white male.  But I digress.)

As for Harriet Tubman, Creative Philly should proceed with Wolford … Biden should make good on his promise to get the lady on the $20 bill before he forgets again … and every Republican organization in American should have a “Harriet Tubman Day.”

So, there ‘tis.


About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    Yeah, Horist, I read this one many time in other legitimate new outlets that source their material when copied.

    My family is mostly from Philadelphia, except for me, the Jersey boy who is really not from Jersey either…. I love Rocky and anything Rocky including the famous statue. It was created by a white guy from Colorado. Worse yet, he was bald….. The statue was first located at the Philie museum after those 72 stairs at the end of the parkway. It was fantastic.

    Once, when kids were little, I rented a suite at Embassy, over 20 floors up and facing the parkway. We had three rooms, french doors, and a glassed porch facing the statue that I highlighted for the kids, made them climb the stairs, the whole nine yards. Asked what they liked best about the trip: “elevator.” Just can’t take the country out of the kids…. Well, because the elevator broke down, dinner was late so they gave us over $100 in free food and stuff. Kids are always right I guess.

    Then the statue went to the Spectrum and then lied and said did it cuz that’s where the fight was. Different Spectrum I think gents. Then it came back and now is at the foot of the stairs and near the modern museum. Lots of politics over was it art or a prop.

    Then there was the Barns, where this most interesting zillionaire’s will and trust were broken so they could move the museum closer to Rocky (actually from the main line to the city), and all sorts of crap was tossed about. Actually I was for not breaking the will, but loved that I lost because I have been a member every since. It’s fantastic.

    I guess Philie has had art wars for some time now and it seems almost anything can trigger is. On this one, the artist himself said: “The task ahead of us regarding underrepresentation in public spaces, is so huge that every living, working artist needs to be working on it. It is not that only black artists should be sculpting black subjects. I think that we all need to get there together” which, on this one, seems to say it all.

    Good unoriginal piece of non-analysis.

  2. Dan tyree

    Next frank will be saying he knew Harriet Tubman

  3. LibsWorshipSatan

    Wokeists can kiss my lily white conservative ass.