Harriet Tubman, best known for helping hundreds of slaves escape the South during the Civil War also played a role as a Union spy. But she wasn’t an Underground Railroad “Conductor” with just a flash light and dream. Two of Tubman’s tools for freedom and espionage are now on display at the Florida A and M University Black Archive.
Harriet Tubman’s personal pistol and her 3 foot long ivory-handled sword are on temporary loan to the Florida A&M Black Archive Research Center as part of an exhibit called “The Struggle Continues”. The Tallahassee family of Alex Brickler owns the pieces and considers them a family heirloom since he’s a 5th generation decedent of Tubman. He said Harriet found the sword and kept it with her, just in case.
“You know it’s a very threatening kind of a weapon, she was a spy so she may not have had direct recourse in order to use the saber, but you know if you’re walking around the south in the woods with a big saber like that people are gonna take notice and they’ll be out to not necessarily threaten you as much,” Brickler says.
As far as the pistol, Brickler family members aren’t sure if she ever fired it, but say she did take it with her on a slave raid. The Bricklers are considering loaning the pistol and sword on a long term basis to the FAM-U Archives, or the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington DC.
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