Harriet Tubman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Clara Barton, Julia Ward Howe, and Sarah Josepha Hale came from backgrounds that ranged from sheer enslavement to New York City’s elite. Surmounting social and political obstacles, they emerged before and during the worst crises in American history, the Civil War.
In his presentation, Plumb traces these five remarkable women’s awakenings to analyze how their experiences shaped their responses to the challenges, disappointments, and joys they encountered. Here is Tubman, fearless conductor on the Underground Railroad, alongside Stowe, the author who awakened the nation to the evils of slavery. Barton led an effort to provide medical supplies for field hospitals, and Union soldiers sang Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” on the march. And, amid a national catastrophe, Hale’s campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday helped move North and South toward reconciliation.