Publication Date

November 2019




Simon & Schuster


For an extraordinary historical figure, Dunbar offers an accessible and multidimensional biography of Harriet Tubman Ross and renders her as a complex “a true boss lady, a superhero, and a warrior” in She Came to Slay (xii).Organized chronologically, Dunbar opens with a discussion of Tubman’s grandmother Modesty who “planted a seed of resilience in her progeny that would blossom even in her absence (6-7).” Acknowledging the scant archival record, Dunbar establishes the familial roots contributing to Tubman’s fortitude and character. Although offering freedom to her daughters and granddaughter in his will, Pattison’s daughter and her husband, however, ignored this provision. Death, however, enabled Rit to find love and marry Ben Ross, enslaved person owned by her owner’s second husband (13). Their enslavers’ financial issues threatened the Ross family. After the sale of her sister, Harriet “prepared her for her future role as rescuer-in-chief of members of her family (16).” She also experienced the brutality of slavery. By the time she reached adolescence, Dunbar contends that her body became a “sinewy machine of muscle and strength;” but one regularly inflicted epileptic seizures, visions, and severe headaches following a head injury (22)...