WHEATON – After interviewing Harriet Tubman's grandniece, Wheaton author Glennette Tilley Turner discovered more about the life of Tubman, who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad.
Turner will discuss her children's book, "An Apple for Harriet Tubman," during a program from 7 to 8 p.m. March 5 at the Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St., Wheaton. To register for the event, call the library at 630-868-7520 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turner is a historian and former teacher; she taught in Wheaton-Warrenville Community Unit School District 200. The program is being held in conjunction with Harriet Tubman Day on March 10.
Through interviewing Tubman's grandniece, Turner said she learned details about Tubman's life beyond her efforts as a leading abolitionist.
"I learned a number of stories [about her], but the main one that the book is based on is that when she was a little girl and enslaved, one of her jobs was to pick apples," Turner said. "But the slaveholder forbid the enslaved people from eating apples. They could pick, polish, wash and do everything but eat them. She, of course, was curious what this luscious-looking fruit would taste like. And one time she thought the coast was clear and the overseer had gone far enough away that she could bite into an apple. But he turned around and saw what she did and whipped her. The whipping left marks that remained the rest of her life."
That incident empowered her, Turner said.
"She promised herself two things," she said. "One, that one day she was going to be free, and two, that she was going to have all the apples she wanted. Of course, both happened."
She hopes the book will provide people with more insights about Tubman.
"It's an additional side, and I think, a softer side," Turner said. "She planted apple trees near her home, and when the apples were ripe, she would tell all the townspeople to bring their bushel baskets and help themselves. She was very generous, and I guess apples were really a symbol of freedom to her."
If you go
WHAT: "An Apple for Harriet Tubman" children's book discussion
WHEN: 7 to 8 p.m. March 5
WHERE: Wheaton Public Library, 225 N. Cross St., Wheaton
INFO: 630-868-7520, email@example.com