The events leading up to Tubman’s passing: – January 1 marks the 50th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. – On March 3, the women’s suffrage movement stages a national protest march in Washington, D.C. Tubman, too ill to attend, delivers a message of unity through Mary B. Talbert, a call not heeded by racist white suffragists. – On March 10, surrounded by loved ones, Tubman dies of pneumonia at the age of 91. She speaks Christ’s words before dying: “I go to prepare a place for you.” She is buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.
Tubman, wheelchair bound, is admitted into the John Brown Hall Infirmary. Funds are raised for her care and admission fee. The New York Age, an African American newspaper, includes the headline, “Harriet Tubman is Ill and Penniless,” to help raise funds.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is founded as an interracial organization supporting the rights of African Americans. Founding members include W.E.B. DuBois, Mary White Ovington, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett among others.
The Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged officially opens and includes the John Brown Hall Infirmary.
– In May, Tubman is featured in an article in the Boston Herald about Colonel Robert Gould Shaw of the Massachusetts 54th for Memorial Day. – In July, a group of African Americans, led by DuBois, dine at the home of Black club woman and suffragist Mary B. Talbert (1866-1923) in Buffalo, New York, later meeting across the Niagara Falls border in Ontario, Canada, to address Black civil and political rights beyond the “accommodation” views of Black leader Booker T. Washington (1856-1915). They form the Niagara Movement, a forerunner to the NAACP.
– Tubman transfers ownership of her twenty-five-acre property to the AME Zion Church. – W.E.B. DuBois publishes The Souls of Black Folk.
An expanded and final edition of Harriet Tubman: The Moses of Her People is published. Tubman is celebrated in different press stories.
– In February, “New Negro” writer James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) pens the poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” that his brother J. Rosamund Johnson (1873-1954) sets to music on the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It will later be known as the “Black National Anthem.” – From July 23-25, the first Pan-African Conference is held in London, drawing 37 delegates from around the world, including Africa, the Caribbean, the U.S., and Europe. Intellectual leader W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963), Harvard’s first African American Ph.D., plays a leading role.
– After years of struggle, Tubman finally receives her veteran’s pension, the amount adjusted to $20 a month in recognition for her work as a Civil War nurse, but not as a spy and scout. – Around the turn of the century or before, Tubman’s adopted daughter Gertie, who had already lost an infant son in 1893, dies from an illness.
– Tubman undergoes surgery in Boston for her epileptic seizures when the pain of recurring headaches becomes unbearable. Also this year: – The United States expands territory in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.