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5 facts about Tubman’s faith

Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, making her the first African-American, the first woman in more than 100 years and the first unabashed Christian to be portrayed on a bill. Tubman was born in slavery and died in 1913 a free woman. Here are five faith facts about the abolitionist and famed conductor of the Underground Railroad.

1. Her nickname was “Moses.” Tubman returned to the South more than a dozen times to help lead hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad. This earned her the nickname “Moses,” which came from her faith in God.

Harriet Tubman. Photograph by H. B. Lindsley. Picture from the Famous People: Selected Portraits From the Collections of the Library of Congress From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository Published in the US before 1923 and public domain in the U.S.

2. She believed she had visions. As a teenager, Tubman received a blow to the head that caused her seizures, vivid dreams and hallucinations throughout her life. She believed these “visions” came from God and relied on them to lead herself and others out of slavery and into the North.

3. Her favorite hymn was “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and it was sung at her funeral.

4. “The Lord” told her to go on a hunger strike for $20. Sometime after Tubman escaped to freedom, she learned her parents, still enslaved in Maryland, were in trouble, tweeted Yoni Appelbaum for The Atlantic. She staged a sit- down hunger strike to secure the $20 to rescue them. While she slept, supporters slipped $60 into her pockets and she was able to lead her father to freedom. Another $20 fact— Congress awarded her a monthly pension of $20.

5. Her dying words referred to heaven. At the end of her life, Tubman was active in the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Zion in Auburn, N.Y. According to her obituary in the Auburn Citizen, the last words she uttered were ones of faith: “I go to prepare a place for you.”

Correction Thomas Rusert is a pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Doylestown, Pa. (May, page 28).

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South African bishop dies Manas Buthelezi, 81, bishop emeritus of the Central

Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa and a former Lutheran World Federation (LWF) vice president, died in April. Hailed by the LWF as a great African theologian of the 20th century, Manas served as bishop for 20 years, ending in 1997. “His deep and visionary theological analysis, his prophetic voice, his charismatic leadership and commitment to ecumenism and global Lutheranism have marked the lives of many people around the globe,” said Martin Junge, LWF general secretary.

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