It was the eyes.
The eyes that sought out the North Star so many times. The eyes that guided feet along the Underground Railroad. The eyes that saw freedom for her people.
“I’ve seen so many people try to portray Harriet,” said Valery Ross Manokey, Tubman’s great-great-niece and, at 76, the oldest descendant and a resident of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where Tubman was enslaved. “This is the best I have ever seen. It’s like she’s looking at you. It’s like she’s watching you.”
Thirteen of Tubman’s relatives and about 50 students from Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Northwest Washington saw her for the first time early Tuesday, before the figure took its place in the Presidents Gallery of Madame Tussauds. Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849 and is believed to have led at least 300 slaves to freedom as a conductor on the Underground Railroad in more than a dozen trips.