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From worker-brc-news@lists.tao.ca Tue Jun 27 20:26:39 2000
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 13:17:49 -0400
From: Mike Alewitz <alewitzm@mail.ccsu.edu>
Subject: [BRC-NEWS] Harriet Tubman: Armed and Dangerous
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Reprinted in AgitProp News, 17 June 2000.
Special Issue: Harriet Tubman: Armed and Dangerous

Statement by Mike Alewitz

For Immediate Release, 14 June 2000

The following statement was issued on June 14, 2000, by Mike Alewitz, muralist and creator of "The Dreams of Harriet Tubman."

"Harriet Tubman was a fierce opponent of slavery in all it's forms. She was opposed by the southern slave-master and northern industrialist alike. She was an organizer, educator, leader of the abolitionist movement, feminist, conductor on the underground railroad and armed insurrectionist against slavery.

Then, as now, Harriet was feared not because she carried a gun, but because she organized a mass, militant and uncompromising struggle for social justice.

There are those who would like to transform Harriet Tubman into a safe and acceptable icon for corporate America. They wish to disarm her both physically and politically. I will not help them. I will not disarm Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman does not belong to any individual or group. She is a figure of international stature. She belongs to working people throughout the world. Harriet Tubman's life, the war to end slavery, and the continuation of that struggle today, deserves to be portrayed in murals, poems and songs by many artists.

The spirit of Harriet Tubman lives on today, with the students protesting the World Trade Organizations economic policies, in the prison cell of Mumia Abu Jamal and other victims of racist injustice, in the strikes and struggles of working people.

We intend to go forward and put Harriet Tubman on the walls of Maryland. We intend to continue to educate and inform about her life, not as a matter of historical record, but because she is an inspiring example for working people today.

We appeal to the people of Maryland to provide us with the walls to do this."

Mike Alewitz is the Artistic Director of the Labor Art & Mural Project (LAMP). He is Asst. Professor of Art at Central Connecticut State University, and the author, with Paul Buhle, of the forthcoming book: "Insurgent Images: the Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz," Monthly Review Press, NY.

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