If you’ve been with us for a while, you know we like to start out our posts with a clever hook. This time, we’re celebrating a woman whose accomplishments are so badass that she needs no hook. She was enslaved, suffered from chronic health conditions, escaped slavery, and then went back and helped other people escape. Harriet Tubman, you’re a Bakeriarchy favorite.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery as Araminta Ross in Maryland in 1822 (midwife records). Probably. It could also have been 1815 (death certificate), 1820 (gravestone), or 1825 (Tubman’s own report). Slave records are notoriously shit. Early in her life, she suffered a severe head injury from a heavy metal weight that a slave owner threw, aiming for another slave. The repercussions of this head injury would follow her the rest of her life.
In about 1844, she married a free black man, John Tubman and records indicate that she changed her name shortly after that. Five years later in 1849, she and her two brothers escaped. Two weeks after that, her brothers started having second thoughts and forced Harriet to return with them. But Harriet, never one to give in, escaped again shortly after and this time, alone. She reached Philadelphia and began to build her new life.
Over eleven years, she personally led 70 slaves to freedom and gave instructions to as many more. Utilizing the Underground Railroad and some serious ingenuity (this woman used everything from a peeved chicken to a newspaper to block herself from view), she evaded the notice of slave owners. Seriously, they all thought it HAD to be a white abolitionist helping their slaves to escape. No way could it possibly be the petite disabled slave who escaped that no one had ever found a trace of.
That alone would make for a woman worthy of high praise. But did Tubman stop there? Of course not. She helped recruit former slaves for John Brown’s (failed) raid on Harpers Ferry. She gave abolitionist talks, took care of her relatives, and continued making an occasional trip back to Maryland to lead more to freedom.
When the Civil War broke out, Tubman traveled to South Carolina with a group of abolitionists and quickly became a fixture in the camps, assisting refugees. When President Lincoln balked at total emancipation, Tubman called him out on it, saying “God won’t let master Lincoln beat the South till he does the right thing.” Damn straight, Harriet.
But here’s where it gets really badass: in 1863, following the Emancipation Proclamation, Harriet Tubman became the first woman to lead an armed assault during the Civil War. On June 2, 1863, she guided three steamboats through the marshes of South Carolina to execute a raid that freed over 750 slaves. She scouted Confederate territory, recruited newly freed blacks for the Union army, and served as a nurse as well.
And just in case you thought that emancipation was her only cause and she retired to live a nice quiet life after the Civil War, you’d be wrong. She was also a suffragette and worked right alongside Susan B. Anthony and Emily Howland.
In a twist of kismet, we’d like to serve up a sweet treat for a woman who gave an epic middle finger to everyone who tried to keep her down on the very day that the confederate battle flag has finally been lowered from the South Carolina state capitol grounds. Ruby-red cherries, tender cake, and plenty of butter make this cherry cobbler the perfect way to celebrate Harriet Tubman.
Cherry-et Tubman Cobbler
- 6 TBS butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¾ cup and 2 TBS sugar, divided
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted
- Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place butter in 8-inch cast iron skillet and put in preheating oven to melt.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk, ¾ cup of sugar, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla extract.
Toss cherries in the remaining 2 TBS of sugar until evenly coated.
Remove the cast iron skillet with melted butter from oven and place on a baking sheet. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Working quickly, top the batter with the sugar-coated cherries. Bake until golden brown and batter is set, about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool slightly, then top with whipped cream or ice cream and devour.