Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Descendant of Harriet Tubman dies

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- A long-time member of the Kansas City, Kanas community with ties to Kansas City Kansas Community College has passed away.

Isabel Elizabeth Gibson, mother-in-law of KCKCC professor Ewa Unoke, passed away July 2 in Kansas City, Kansas. A beloved mother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend, Gibson was a descendant of the legendary humanitarian and Union spy during the Civil War, Harriet Tubman.

“It was all about serving others, always trying to help others,” said Melody Unoke, one of Gibson’s daughters. “She was also a disciplinarian, especially in bringing up her children.”

As a school teacher, Gibson served in several capacities such as a Sunday school teacher, church organist, leader of the Girls Guides Association and member of the Cape Palmas Prayer Bands. She was passionate in training young boys and girls as a music teacher.

Gibson is an African descendant of Harriet Tubman of the United States Underground Railroad fame. Harriet was married to John Tubman, who visited Cape Palmas, Liberia to meet with his relatives Shedrach and Sylvia Tubman.

The couple had three children - Alex Tubman, John Hillary and another child who was killed in the tribal war between the Americo-Liberians and the natives.  General John Hilary Tubman led the army that eventually defeated the native forces.

The 18th President of Liberia, W.V.S. Tubman, Alfred Tubman (Bob Willie) and Gibson are direct descendants of General Alex Tubman who bravely stopped the French invasion of the young Republic of Liberia.

“We are therefore related to Harriet Tubman through marriage. Bob Willie’s daughter, Harriet Tubman who lives in Virginia is named after the legendary freedom fighter,” Melody Unoke said. “Our county in Liberia is called Maryland county named after Maryland State in the U.S where Harriet Tubman hailed from.”

A viewing and prayer service will be from 5 to 9 p.m. July 18 at Porter Funeral Home, 1835 Minnesota Ave. in Kansas City, Kansas.

There will be a Celebration of Life from 9 to 10 a.m. July 19 at St. Monica Catholic Church, 1616 Paseo Blvd. in Kansas City, Mo. Interment will be at the Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum, 12601 Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas. Repast at Savior Pastoral Center, 12601 Parallel Parkway.

For more information, contact Dr. Ewa Unoke, professor at KCKCC and son-in-law of Isabel Gibson at 913-563-8586.