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Women Walk On National Mall In Honor Of Harriet Tubman

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Stephanie Pressley of was one of dozens of women walking in Harriet Tubman's honor on the National Mall.
Jacob Fenston
Stephanie Pressley of was one of dozens of women walking in Harriet Tubman's honor on the National Mall.

Underground railroad conductor Harriet Tubman passed away 100 years ago Sunday. In her honor, dozens of women gathered on the National Mall for a moving tribute — walking in Tubman's honor. It's part of a national movement to improve women's health and fitness.

A few years ago, Morgan Dixon's life was in a rut — she was overworked and not taking care of herself. A visit to Harriet Tubman's birthplace on Maryland's Eastern Shore spurred change in her life. Dixon was inspired by Tubman's choice in 1849 to pick up and walk to freedom.

"She said, 'You know what? I don't need anybody to go with me; I'm actually going to just put one foot in front of the other,'" Dixon says. "And so for that reason, I think she's a great inspiration of what is in our control to do."

Dixon and a friend founded a group called Girl Trek two years ago.

The group is tackling America's obesity epidemic through walking, inspired by African American women from Tubman to Civil Rights activists — women Dixon says changed the world on two feet.

"When black women walk together, things change. When women in the Montgomery bus boycotts walked together, things changed," Dixon says. "When we walk together, things are going to change."

Co-founder Vanessa Garrison says black women's health is a civil rights issue. She cites numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, which show that African American women have the highest obesity rates in the nation.

"It should be the issue of today, because 80 percent of black women are currently overweight," says Garrison.

It was a beautiful day for a walk on the National Mall, and in cities across the country, thousands more women were walking in Tubman's honor.


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