Embarking on a quest to overcome one of the biggest obstacles of her life, one Black woman retraced the iconic steps taken on a 695-mile route by the great abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman in the 1880s, reenacting her walk to freedom from Maryland to Canada.
Metra Lundy, a 45-year-old fitness professional, gym owner, and author born, raised, and currently residing in Central NJ, covered 245 miles on foot, as Tubman did numerous times while freeing herself and countless others from enslavement. Lundy started her journey on the Eastern Shores of Maryland and ended it in Saint Catharines, Ontario.
A mother of two adult daughters, Lundy’s family and friends were initially shocked when she first began talking about making the journey.
“Once I had made the final decision to move forward, however,” said Lundy, “they were very supportive.” She cites “pain, the need for ancestral connection, and the desire to show up more purposefully in my own life,” as the driving forces that inspired her to want to take on this mission.
Along the way, Lundy had the opportunity to meet descendants of Harriet Tubman and other freedom seekers. In addition, she was introduced to historians who have studied or are currently studying Tubman, community leaders, social workers, and many other political figures who love and respect Tubman’s unforgettable contributions to American history.
“On the journey I saw the land where Harriet Tubman was born and raised, the church where she sought refuge for herself and her parents in the late 1850s, and her final resting place in Auburn, NY. I got a hands-on lesson about Tubman, learning many things about her life that I had not previously known. I had the opportunity to take in the history of Black Americans and learn more about the lives of formerly enslaved individuals in a more meaningful way.”
Naturally, the journey was not easy, and at times was even more taxing because of Lundy’s personal troubles. However, she saw the journey as an opportunity for self improvement and growth.
Lundy says both the undertaking and completion of the journey have been multifaceted and layered. In addition to learning more about Tubman, she was also able to learn more about herself, discovering who she really is in the process.
“I now have a much greater appreciation for Tubman and other freedom seekers. This journey has also made me more purposeful in my day to day life and has taught me several lessons. The most valuable thing I have learned along the way is that I have everything that I need and that my job is to continue to push when called. I have also learned to look to my ancestors for help to guide me when I struggle.”
Lundy has documented her journey in an inspirational documentary titled A Walk In Her Shoes. Through this homage to the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman, she and the filmmakers bring the scope of Tubman’s epic journeys into a poignant and unprecedented present-day context. Released in time to commemorate the bicentennial of Tubman’s birth, the powerful film is available on DVD as well as digitally on Amazon, iTunes, Google, and Vudu.