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Posted at 02:19 PM ET, 02/07/2012

Madame Tussauds debuts Harriet Tubman figure

It was the eyes.

The eyes that sought out the North Star so many times. The eyes that guided feet through the Underground Railroad. The eyes that saw freedom for her people.

The glint in Harriet Tubman’s eyes, unveiled as a wax figure Tuesday at Madame Tussauds, moved her descendants to tears.

“I’ve seen so many people try to portray Harriet,” said Valery Ross Manokey, Tubman’s great-great niece, and at 76, the oldest living descendant living on 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 the District’s Harriet Tubman Elementary School saw her for the first time early Tuesday, before the figure took its place with other historical figures in the Presidents Gallery of Madame Tussauds.

Tubman is believed to have led at least 300 slaves to freedom.

By Stefanie Dazio  |  02:19 PM ET, 02/07/2012

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