Harriet Tubman is officially set to be the first woman in history on a US dollar bill — and most people don’t know the half of what she did.
In a 2015 episode of Comedy Central’s Drunk History, Crissle — a comedian and co-host of The Read podcast — downs drinks and launches into a brilliant, booze-soaked tribute to Tubman, educating host Derek Waters and viewers on the activist’s crucial contributions to the Civil War.
“Harriet Tubman does not get her just due,” Crissle says. “You hear her name and think, ‘Yeah, she led the slaves to freedom,’ but you most certainly do not know that she was a spy for the Union.”
From there, Crissle tells the story of how Tubman (played by Octavia Spencer) used her network and deep knowledge of plantations and their surrounding areas to spy for the Union. It eventually resulted in Tubman leading the Combahee River Raid, a full-on military operation that freed at least 700 slaves in one fell swoop.
It’s a fascinating story, made only better by Crissle’s hilarious, sloshed commentary (“I got like a good 15 minutes in me before the liquor takes over, and God only knows what I’ll say”). But it’s even more than one isolated incident; it’s a huge moment in history, and precious few people know why. As Crissle explained it:
It was the first military operation that was executed and led by an American woman, and it was planned by a former slave who could not read or write, who was five feet tall, who was black, and a woman. And she still pulled that shit off.
Or as she concluded even more simply, in between bursts of drunken laughter: “[Harriet Tubman] was just dope as hell.”