There is one female character that we certainly cannot forget if we remember the anti-racial slavery struggle in America. She was Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), a black woman who managed to cover 100 miles alone while running from slavery to freedom, through difficult routes, forests and rivers. In fact, miraculously, Harriet didn't just do it once—she didn't give up and didn't mind doing it over and over again to save her family and friends, all black, from slavery in the American South in the 1850s. The film Harriet (2019) is a kind of biographical summary of this female character in American history, a film that is a pity to miss.
Harriet Movie Review (2019)
Film Harriet (2019) begins with a background in 1849 on a farm in Bucktown, Maryland. We are immediately introduced to a woman named Araminta Ross Tubman, the name Harriet bore before she was freed from slavery. On the farm, she was called Minty. His father was a free black man, but his mother was a slave to the Edward Brodess family. Because his mother was a slave, according to the law at that time, the children her mother gave birth to, including Minty and her brothers and sisters, automatically became slaves to the Edward Brodess family.
Minty is married to a free black man, named John. Things get complicated when they both make a claim against the promise of freedom that Edward Brodess's family was supposed to give at the age of 45 for Minty's mother. At that time, even Minty's mother was 57 years old and still continued to be a slave. John and Minty wanted to see their children live as free people, not slaves—they even hired a lawyer, but the Edward Brodess' family was vehemently rejected. Disappointed that her master is so cruel, Minty, who is known for praying (and has a special spiritual gift), retreats to the forest and prays to God to take her master's life if her master can't change. A mystery to all: before long, Edward Brodess actually died of illness.
Full of anger because he felt Minty was the cause of his father's death because of hearing Minty's prayers earlier, Gideon impulsively decided to immediately sell Minty. The emergency condition forced Minty to run. Alone, traveling the 100 miles to Philadelphia, a difficult route he had never known before and Gideon following behind. However, Minty believes, God will be with and take care of her. Minty arrives in Philadelphia, meets William Still and the Pennsylvania Antislavery Society, is free from slavery, and adopts a new name to mark her freedom: Harriet Tubman.However, Minty feels strange and strange to be alone in an unfamiliar land without her family and friends. He returned to Edward Brodess' ranch to free them. Not only that, the film then describes how Harriet struggles to free hundreds of people from racial slavery in America.
Film Harriet (2019) is a film to carry a very vocal about anti-slavery. The dialogues in the script are sharp and clear, highlighting the bitter reality that occurred in the history of slavery in America, while also underlining with certainty the resistance to slavery. The songs with deep meaning embedded throughout the film, sung by Minty (Harriet) and black people, become a force that also gives strength to this film. This film also frames Harriet's story well, with the spirit of promoting the leadership and empowerment of a woman—to do something that is considered impossible in a patriarchal society.
Closer to Minty (Harriet) in Harriet (2019)
No one thought that a woman could be so strong as to save herself and also save hundreds of people towards freedom from racial slavery. If people don't believe that the 'conductor' (a term for those who help and lead people to escape from slavery) is a woman, they call him Moses [quoted from Christian scriptures, referring to the character Moses or Moses, who led the nation of Israel. from Egyptian slavery]. People imagine Moses to be a big tough man, when in fact he is Harriet Tubman, or who was known as Minty before freedom from slavery, a small black woman.
Mr. Still : You got lucky, Harriet. And there is nothing more you can do.
Harriet : Don't tell me what I can't do. I made this far on my own. God was watching, but my feet was my own. Running, bleeding, climbing, nearly drowned, didn't eat for days and days, I made it. So, don't you tell me what I can't do. You don't know me.
—Harriet on William Still, in the film Harriet (2019)
Distrust of women's capabilities is also reflected in the words of her husband, John Tubman, who seems kind enough to protect Minty (Harriet) in his patriarchal perspective when Minty (Harriet) wants to run away. “ You won't make it alone, Minty. Who gon' protect you, you fall into one a them spells? Who's gon' be there when you wake up? You need me." Time and time again, Harriet also has to contend with William Still—who still automatically belittles Minty, also because she's a woman.
In Harriet's story, we must not ignore the fact that Harriet is a woman who is close to spirituality. She is a woman of prayer with a special spiritual gift, which may be difficult for many to understand. Harriet is a figure worth listening to in feminist Christian studies. In the midst of all the patriarchal narratives in the church that forbid women to lead and fight, who would have thought that God sent a woman to lead a mission to free black people from slavery in America? God can use anyone. Not only men, because men and women are equal before Him.
“I asked God how a sickly little boy could think he owned me. God don't mean people to own people, Gideon!”
—Harriet to Gideon, in the film Harriet (2019)
The face of racial slavery at that time was indeed very heart-wrenching. Harriet Movies(2019) succeeded in highlighting the various realities of slavery clearly, through the dialogues of the characters: that even among black people there is a bitter gap. When Harriet was born as a slave, Marie could be born as a free woman because her mother's master died while she was still in her mother's womb. When Harriet is able to escape from slavery, her sister Rachel and Mary (his brother's wife, Robert) must do everything they can to stay sane because they can't escape. Rachel, in fact, died as a slave on the Edward Brodess farm—before Harriet had time to save her. Harriet's strengths that made her such a formidable female leader for the struggle for freedom of slavery in America lie in her experience: that she was a survivor,
“I ain't giving up rescuing slave just because it's far. Many of you don't know slavery firsthand. You were born free. You've been free so long, you forget what it's like. You've gotten comfortable, and important. You got beautiful homes, beautiful wifes. But I remember – chil'ren beat for not workin', when dey too young to understand what work is. Girls raped before dying first blood. Brothers whipped, til dey back in ribbons… Sisters sold way from dey babies. Tryin' not to think a what dey went through… What those still enslaved are goin' through right now! I have heard their groans and sighs, and seen their tears, and I would give every drop of blood in my veins to free 'em!
So I ain't givin' up! I'ma do whatever I got to, go wherever I got to, however I got to do it – to rescue as many slaves as possible, til dis beast, dis monster call slavery is slain dead!”
—Harriet, in the film Harriet (2019)
The logic of slavery may be difficult for us to understand in the context of a time when human rights (human rights) have been carried so high at this time (although yes, it is illegally hidden, it must be admitted that slavery still occurs in the chain of human trafficking crimes.). However, if we want to try to empathize and understand, the reality of racial slavery in the past is indeed very bitter—especially for women. Racial slavery is tantamount to the experience of sexual violence and exploitation of women's wombs: every child born to a slave girl will return to being a slave, which is legally valid if the master wants to sell it to someone else. The more children a woman gave birth to, the more slaves her master had—tragically, this was seen as a recapitulation of ever-increasing property. How can humans be considered as property, which can be bought and sold for a certain amount of money to guarantee social status and wealth? However, this harsh reality did happen in the past.
“I was never yours, Gideon. I was never nobody's property! That was a lie you told yourselves. Since the day your daddy sold my sisters I prayed for God to make me strong enough to fight, and that's what I've prayed for ever since! I reasoned there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death. If I couldn't have one, I'd have the other.”
—Harriet to Gideon, in the film Harriet (2019)
Minty (Harriet) can see all the tragedies of slavery around her very clearly, in her own life experience. It made him restless, grieving and wailing in his prayers. It made him want to fight back. That's the reason why Harriet didn't want to give up on trying to free black people from racial slavery in America. That is why to this day, Harriet Tubman has become one of the female figures in American history who will be remembered forever as an anti-slavery fighter.