Harriet Tubman's relative talks to students here

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By Jesef Williams

Students at Discovery School recently got the chance to hear the story of Harriet Tubman from a unique perspective.

Rashelle Glover, a 13-year-old descendant of Tubman, spoke to students Friday morning, sharing family stories and items she's collected.

Glover, 13, is Tubman's great-great-great-great grand niece on her father's side. She lives in Auburn, N.Y., where Tubman settled and is buried.

Tubman, a black woman born into slavery, spearheaded the Underground Railroad, a 19th century movement in which slaves gained permanent freedom through the help of antislavery activists and safe houses.

She rescued more than 300 slaves during 13 missions.

"I'm glad to be a descendant of hers and be able to share my knowledge of her with other people," said Glover, who's maternal aunt, Beckie Johnson, is the music teacher at Discovery School.

Although this was Glover's first time talking to a class about Tubman, she's been learning about her ancestor for years.

Growing up Auburn, she was exposed to endless memorials and tributes to the late abolitionist.

When Glover was 4, she took part in an archaeological dig on Tubman's property that unearthed medicine bottles and other personal items.

"I've always known about her," Glover said. "It's kind of like my whole life."

Glover's great-grandmother travels around the world educating people about Tubman. Glover said she'd like to do the same when she gets older.

Some students were surprised Friday to learn that one of Tubman's relatives was coming to speak.

"I didn't know that somebody so close knew Harriot Tubman," fifth-grader Autumn Cauthen said after Glover's presentation.

Johnson said it was great for Glover to come because it allowed students to make real connections regarding people they're learning about during Black History Month.

"It's amazing how many people know the story of Harriet Tubman but don't realize these were real people," Johnson said. "We needed to get her here and give a presentation that let them (the students) get closer and share a little more in the history."

Contact Jesef Williams at 283-1152 or jwilliams@thelancasternews.com