The photograph, on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, is significant because it shows a young Tubman casually seated in a chair wearing an elegant dress with an elaborate bodice and full skirt. Other surviving photographs of Tubman show her looking stern or pensive and, in her later years, frail and wan.
“What this photograph does is humanize Harriet Tubman,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the founding director of the museum. “The photograph shows her stylish and in the vibrancy of her youth.”
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