This Photo of Harriet Tubman Was Lost for Close to a Century

Source: Time

By OLIVIA B. WAXMAN

March 6, 2018

More than a century after Harriet Tubman died in March of 1913, the Library of Congress announced on Tuesday that it has conserved and digitized a previously unrecorded portrait of the “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, the secret network that helped fugitive slaves in the South get to freedom in the North.

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Catalogers believe that the photograph was taken between 1867 and 1869, when she lived in Auburn, N.Y., where Tubman — who had herself escaped from bondage in 1849 — took care of fugitive slaves in their old age.

“Other iconic portraits present her as either stern or frail,” Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, said in a statement. “This new photograph shows her relaxed and very stylish.”

The fact that she’s seated in a parlor chair sporting a lace collar and elegant bodice reflects a deliberate way she carried herself at the time. As TIME has previously reported, she often donned lace and fine clothes, believing that if she dressed respectably, then people would treat African Americans with respect. She particularly prized a lace shawl that Queen Victoria had given her in 1897.

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Categories: Racism, The Muslim Times

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