I had crossed de line of which I had so long been dreaming. I was free; but dere was no one to welcome me to de land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land, and my home after all was down in de old cabin quarter, wid de ole folks, and my brudders and sisters. But to dis solemn resolution I came; I was free, and dey should be free also; I would make a home for dem in de North, and de Lord helping me, I would bring dem all dere.
Harriet Tubman (c. 1820–1913), African American abolitionist. As quoted in Harriet, the Moses of Her People, by Sarah Bradford (1969).
Bradford was the friend and first biographer of the great abolitionist and ex-slave who, after escaping to freedom, returned nineteen times to the South and ushered more than 300 other runaway slaves, including her parents and brothers, to freedom in the North. Here, Tubman was remembering what she thought when, as a fugitive slave, she finally reached free soil.