National Museum of African American History and Culture Reveals Plans for Rare Harriet Tubman Photo

John Blanding/the Boston Globe via Getty Images

Call her Moses or call her Minty. Just know when you call her, you headed for freedom.


We are speaking, of course, of the great Harriet Tubman, fierce conductor of the Underground Railroad, Union spy and American hero, whose life story has had a resurgence in light of her replacing Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill and because of Aisha Hinds’ deft portrayal of her in the latest season of Underground.

Some months ago, a rare photograph of Tubman was discovered in an album of white abolitionist Emily Howland. The album went to auction shortly after and was purchased for $161,000 by the National Museum of African American History and Culture in conjunction with the Library of Congress.

The photo, which is the only one known to depict Tubman in her 40s, will be digitized for public access, according to a spokesperson for NMAAHC.


The Citizen reports that the Harriet Tubman Museum in Auburn, N.Y., where Tubman lived and the photo was taken (she is also buried there), tried to buy the photo but was able to raise only $27,000 in its #BringHarrietHome campaign.

Harriet Tubman Home President Karen Hill said Thursday that she was “profoundly disappointed” that the national museum didn’t reach out to the Tubman home as an additional partner in the photo’s acquisition.


However, a curator at the Smithsonian’s newest museum says that it would review any requests to display the original photo at the Harriet Tubman Home. The site recently became part of the national park system.

Read more at The Citizen.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.