Black History Month – Notable African American spies

By Susanna Speier
Denver Private Investigator Blogger

“Southern black women operating as spies, scouts, couriers and guides were willing and able to offer enormous support to Union military personnel and operations” according to an article Theresa McDevitt wrote for Ms Magazine in 2011.

Harriet Tubman, most notably, served “as a scout for the Union, she would don disguises and lead local blacks in dangerous missions behind enemy lines to gather information on rebel troop location, movements and strength.” This included accompanying Colonel James Montgomery on plantation liberation raids. Be sure to visit McDevitt’s article to learn about the lesser know though, equally formidable contributions black women made to American intelligence during the civil war on the International Spy Museum blog

Elizabeth Van Lew (also mentioned in McDevitt’s article) pretended to be illiterate when she obtained a position in the Confederate version of the White House. Her photographic memory enabled her to replicate documents and was — More—

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