Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head. But she was also a nurse, a Union spy and a women’s suffrage supporter.
How did Harriet Tubman join the Underground Railroad?
Born into slavery in Maryland, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 to become the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. Tubman risked her life to lead hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom on this elaborate secret network of safe houses.
Did Harriet Tubman use the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1849. She then returned there multiple times over the next decade, risking her life to bring others to freedom as a renowned conductor of the Underground Railroad.
How old is Harriet Tubman now 2021?
Tubman must have been between 88 and 98 years old when she died. She claimed in her pension application that she was born in 1825, her death certificate said she was born in 1815 and to add to the confusion, her gravestone indicated that she was born in 1820.
Is Gertie Davis died?
What is Harriet Tubman trying to accomplish? She wants to help people escape slavery.
Who helped with the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.
How did the Underground Railroad operate?
The Underground Railroad was a secret system developed to aid fugitive slaves on their escape to freedom. The free individuals who helped runaway slaves travel toward freedom were called conductors, and the fugitive slaves were referred to as cargo.
What did Harriet Tubman do as a conductor on the Underground Railroad apex?
Who was Harriet Tubman? She was one of the most famous abolitionists who helped the Underground Railroad (a “conductor”). She was a Union spy and nurse during the Civil War. After she escaped from slavery, she made at least 19 trips on the underground railroad to help others escape.
Did Harriet Tubman have epilepsy?
Her mission was getting as many men, women and children out of bondage into freedom. When Tubman was a teenager, she acquired a traumatic brain injury when a slave owner struck her in the head. This resulted in her developing epileptic seizures and hypersomnia.
What years did Harriet Tubman live?
Harriet Tubman, née Araminta Ross, (born c. 1820, Dorchester county, Maryland, U.S.— died March 10, 1913, Auburn, New York ), American bondwoman who escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War.
Where did the Underground Railroad start?
In the early 1800s, Quaker abolitionist Isaac T. Hopper set up a network in Philadelphia that helped enslaved people on the run. At the same time, Quakers in North Carolina established abolitionist groups that laid the groundwork for routes and shelters for escapees.
Is there anyone alive related to Harriet Tubman?
At 87, Copes-Daniels is Tubman’s oldest living descendant. She traveled to D.C. with her daughter, Rita Daniels, to see Tubman’s hymnal on display and to honor the memory of what Tubman did for her people.
Where is Harriet buried?
It was this adaptability that would lead Tubman to excel in her post-Underground Railroad endeavors. Over the next half-century, she would work as a Union Army General, a liberator, a nurse, a cook, a scout, a spy-ring chief, a celebrated orator, a caretaker and a community organizer.
After the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman Led a Brazen Civil War Raid
They dubbed her “Moses” because she was responsible for bringing enslaved individuals from the South to freedom in the North. The Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, on the other hand, battled against the system of slavery far beyond her function as a conductor for the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, while serving as a soldier and spy for the Union Army, Harriet Tubman made history by being the first woman to command an armed military action in the United States, known as the Combahee Ferry Raid.
Tubman had traveled to Hilton Head, South Carolina, at the request of Massachusetts Governor John Andrew, leaving her family behind in Auburn, New York, and having established herself as a prominent abolitionist in Boston circles.
Tubman Becomes Military Leader
The Union troops used Harriet Tubman as a spy and militia commander during the Civil War, and she was awarded the Medal of Honor. Photograph courtesy of the Hulton Archive/Getty Images She worked as a laundress, opened a wash house, and worked as a nurse for many months before being ordered to join an espionage organization. As the leader of the Underground Railroad, Tubman had proved herself to be a great asset in terms of acquiring covert information, recruiting allies, and evading capture.
According to Brandi Brimmer, a history professor at Spelman College and expert on slavery, “her first and main priority would be to combat and eliminate the system of slavery and, in doing so, to definitively defeat the Confederacy.” Tubman collaborated with Colonel James Montgomery, an abolitionist who led the Second South Carolina Volunteers, a regiment comprised primarily of African-American soldiers.
Together, they devised a plan for a raid along the Combahee River, with the goal of rescuing enslaved people, recruiting freed soldiers into the Union Army, and destroying some of the richest rice fields in the surrounding area.
According to Kate Clifford Larson, historian and author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, “She was daring and courageous.” “She had a keen sense of what was going on.
Overnight Raids Launch From the River
Two more gunboats,the Sentinel and the Harriet A. Weed, were guided out of St. Helena Sound and into the Combahee River by Tubman and Montgomery, who were on board the government cruiser theJohn Adams on the night of June 1, 1863. The Sentinel became aground while on its way to the destination, forcing men from that ship to transfer to the other two boats. Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom, written by Catherine Clinton, describes how Tubman, who was illiterate, could not record any of the information she acquired since she couldn’t write.
- It was necessary for them to transport gunboats up the river, according to Clinton.
- A few hours later, the John Adams and the Harriet A.
- Tubman commanded a force of 150 soldiers on the John Adams in pursuit of the fugitives.
- Rebels attempted to track down the slaves by shooting their weapons at them.
- As the fugitives made their way to the coast, Black troops in rowboats ferried them to the ships, but the operation was marred by confusion.
- More than 700 people managed to escape enslavement and board the gunboats.
Confederate forces also disembarked near Field’s Point, where they set ablaze plantation after plantation as well as fields and mills, warehouses, and mansions, resulting in a humiliating setback for the Confederacy that included the destruction of a pontoon bridge by gunboats.
Tubman Was Recognized a Hero (But Not Paid)
In the July 4, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly, there is an illustration showing slaves fleeing to a Union ship on the Combahee River while houses burn in the background. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information. The ships stopped in Beaufort, South Carolina, where a reporter from the Wisconsin State Journaloverheard what had transpired on the Combahee River and reported it to the authorities. He composed a narrative about the “She-Moses” without putting his name on it, but he never used Tubman’s name.
Although she remained anonymous until July 1863, Harriet Tubman’s fame soared when Franklin Sanborn, editor of Boston’sCommonwealthnewspaper, took up the story and revealed that she was an acquaintance of his called Harriet Tubman as the protagonist.
She died as a result of her efforts on the mission.
“She was turned down because she was a woman,” Larson explains.
“However, there isn’t a clear vision for the job of women who serve in the military with weapons, particularly Black women.” When it came time for Tubman to get a pension, it would be as the widow of a Black Union soldier who she married after the war, not as a reward for her valiant service as a soldier during the war.
1863: Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was already putting her life in danger to save slaves on the Underground Railroad when the Civil War began. Why not throw in a few of fighting armies into the mix? During the American Civil War, Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists collaborated with the Union Army to assist slaves fleeing to the North once they had crossed Union lines into the territory of the Confederacy. Tubman also offered to assist the Union Army in gathering intelligence from beyond Confederate enemy lines, which he did successfully.
In order to assist military tactical planning, Tubman provided the intelligence to Union Col.
Harriet Tubman and Col.
Montgomery led the raid on Combahee Ferry in June 1863, utilizing her intelligence information to get past the Confederate mines dug into the Combahee river by the Confederate forces. More than 700 slaves were successfully rescued from the plantations along the river during the mission’s course.
Read more about Harriet Tubmanon CIA’s website.
While Harriet Tubman is most remembered for leading enslaved members of her family and a large number of other enslaved people to freedom through the Underground Railroad during the American Civil War, she also supported the cause of liberty by serving as a spy for the Union during the Civil War.
She had a particular set of skills
While guiding people away from slavery on the Underground Railroad throughout her years of service, Harriet Tubman was required to organize clandestine meetings, survey routes without drawing attention to herself, and think quickly on her feet. And, despite the fact that she was illiterate, she had mastered the art of keeping track of large volumes of information. The abilities listed above are ones that every prospective spy would do well to learn.
Tubman had a difficult start
Tubman embarked on a journey to a Union camp in South Carolina in the spring of 1862. Despite the fact that she was purportedly there to aid previously enslaved persons who had found sanctuary with Union forces, her involvement with the Underground Railroad made it plausible that she also meant to act as a spy for the Union. Unfortunatley, Tubman was unable to begin gathering information right away. One difficulty she faced was that, as a Marylander, she had any local expertise to depend on.
She would later say, “They laughed when they heard me talk, and I couldn’t comprehend what they were saying, no matter how hard I tried.”
She assembled a spy ring
Tubman took attempts to bridge the gap that had opened between herself and the newly emancipated residents of the area. Because they were resentful of the fact that she was receiving army meals while they were not, she agreed to give up her rations. In order to make ends meet, she sold pies and root beer to troops and ran a washing business, where she employed several previously enslaved individuals to assist her with laundry and distribution of her products, among other things. When it came time to map the land and rivers, Tubman assembled a squad of reliable scouts, as well as conducting some reconnaissance herself.
Tubman’s information helped keep Black troops unharmed
In June 1863, Union boats with Black troops crossed the Combahee River into Confederate territory, marking the beginning of the Civil War. The value of Tubman’s knowledge was proved when the ships were able to sail away undamaged because they were aware of the locations of Confederate mines that had been submerged. Assisted by a colonel she trusted, Tubman led the mission and became the first and only woman to organize and conduct a military action during the Civil War. As part of the attack, Union forces grabbed supplies and demolished Confederate assets.
When the alarm went off, hundreds of people rushed to the scene to be saved; more than 700 people would be rescued in all (approximately 100 would go on to enlist in the Union army).
She was a successful spy
It was Tubman’s espionage work that helped the Confederates win the Combahee Raid, which they acknowledged in one of their reports: “The enemy appears to have been well posted as to the character and capacity of our troops and their small chance of encountering opposition, as well as to have been well guided by persons thoroughly acquainted with the river and country.” A Wisconsin newspaper reported on the expedition’s success, noting that a Black lady had been in charge of the mission, but did not mention Tubman’s identity.
Tubman’s name was mentioned by name in a Boston anti-slavery newspaper in July 1863.
She continued her services
Tubman proceeded on subsequent missions, of which only a few details are known, and continued to gather information for the Union army throughout his life. During the American Civil War, a soldier wrote that one commander was adamant about not allowing Tubman to leave South Carolina because he believed “her services are too vital to lose,” and that she was “able to acquire more knowledge than anybody else” from newly freed individuals.
Tubman was fully paid
Although nothing is known about Tubman’s further missions, it is clear that he was continuing to collect information for the Union army. During the American Civil War, a soldier wrote that one commander was adamant about not allowing Tubman to leave South Carolina because he believed “her services are too vital to lose,” and that she was “able to acquire more knowledge than anybody else” from freshly liberated individuals.
Aboard the Underground Railroad- Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged
|Images of the Harriet Tubman Home for theAged, Harriet TubmanNationalHistoric Landmarks photographs|
Renowned as a Black liberator, Harriet Tubman was also a brilliant spy
A scheme to demolish bridges, raid Confederate outposts and rice fields, and cut off supply lines to Confederate forces was hatched by Harriet Tubman and Union troops from the Sea Islands on June 1, 1863, under the cover of darkness on the Combahee River in South Carolina. Tubman had snuck beyond Confederate lines while serving as a spy for the Union Army, gathering intelligence from enslaved Black people in order to get the coordinates of torpedoes hidden along the river by the Confederates.
- During the night, with Tubman in command, the Union gunboats cruised silently, skilfully dodging each torpedo attack.
- Weed, were used to transport Black men up the Combahee River, where they were successful in overrunning Confederate sentinels in a devastating raid.
- Union forces destroyed bridges and railways, as well as Confederate homes and rice farms, during the American Civil War.
- They were escaping for their lives.
- In the rice fields, they all rush sprinting for the gunboats.
- The fact that Tubman was the first woman to successfully plan and command a military mission during the Civil War will go down in history.
- Most people in the United States are familiar with Harriet Tubman as the brave lady who escaped slavery and subsequently assisted in the liberation of 300 other enslaved persons as part of the Underground Railroad.
Tubman, on the other hand, was more than just a hero of the Underground Railroad.
“What most Americans don’t know is that she was down there collecting intelligence on the Confederacy from behind enemy lines,” Costa said.
Tubman was born enslaved about 1821 or 1822 on a farm held by Anthony Thompson on the Eastern Shore of Maryland’s Dorchester County, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland’s Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Araminta Ross is the name she was given by her parents, Benjamin and Harriet Green Ross.
She was employed in a general store in Bucktown when she was 12 or 13 years old.
The lead weight missed the child completely, but it struck Minty in the forehead, almost killing her instantly.
Minty married John Tubman, who was a free Black man, in 1844.
Tubman plotted her escape from slavery in 1849, when she became concerned that she and others may be sold.
Despite the danger of being apprehended and killed, Tubman returned to Maryland, sometimes on foot, sometimes by boat, horse, or train, and sometimes in disguise as a man or an elderly lady.
She was so cunning that enslavers in Maryland set a $40,000 premium on her head in order to apprehend her.
After putting forth “almost superhuman efforts” in escaping from slavery, and then returning to the South nineteen times, and bringing away with her more than three hundred fugitives, Tubman was sent to the South by Governor Andrew of Massachusetts at the start of the Civil War to act as spy and scout for our armies, and to be employed as a hospital nurse when necessary, according to “The Moses of Her People,” a biography of Tubman written by Sarah Bradford.
- Tubman was recruited by Union Major General David Hunter in South Carolina to work as a spy and scout beyond Confederate territorial lines, which he did.
- Even though she was unable to read, she learned detailed information about the geography of the area and the movements of Confederate forces.
- “General Hunter requested Tubman to accompany six “gun-boats up the Combahee River,” Bradford reported.
- In the words of Harriet Tubman, “Colonel Montgomery was one of John Brown’s soldiers, and he was well known to her.” The Colonel, James Montgomery, with whom she collaborated was a firm believer in guerilla warfare, Costa explained.
- This woman was just five feet tall, yet she was as strong as nails.
- It seemed as though they were swarming from the rivers, raiding and torching homes and warehouses that served as Confederate supply depots.” A charge was generated in the slaves by the sight of the gunboats, who raced after them in pursuit of them.
- “We brought them all aboard and christened the white pig Beauregard and the black pig Jeff Davis after famous generals.
According to Tubman’s hall of fame biography, a Union general reported on the raid to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, saying, “This is the only military command in American history where a woman, black or white, commanded the expedition, and under whose inspiration it was devised and carried out.”
|Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.” Tubman was born a slave in Maryland’s Dorchester County around 1820. At age five or six, she began to work as a house servant. Seven years later she was sent to work in the fields. While she was still in her early teens, she suffered an injury that would follow her for the rest of her life. Always ready to stand up for someone else, Tubman blocked a doorway to protect another field hand from an angry overseer. The overseer picked up and threw a two-pound weight at the field hand. It fell short, striking Tubman on the head. She never fully recovered from the blow, which subjected her to spells in which she would fall into a deep sleep.Around 1844 she married a free black named John Tubman and took his last name. (She was born Araminta Ross; she later changed her first name to Harriet, after her mother.) In 1849, in fear that she, along with the other slaves on the plantation, was to be sold, Tubman resolved to run away. She set out one night on foot. With some assistance from a friendly white woman, Tubman was on her way. She followed the North Star by night, making her way to Pennsylvania and soon after to Philadelphia, where she found work and saved her money. The following year she returned to Maryland and escorted her sister and her sister’s two children to freedom. She made the dangerous trip back to the South soon after to rescue her brother and two other men. On her third return, she went after her husband, only to find he had taken another wife. Undeterred, she found other slaves seeking freedom and escorted them to the North.Tubman returned to the South again and again. She devised clever techniques that helped make her “forays” successful, including using the master’s horse and buggy for the first leg of the journey; leaving on a Saturday night, since runaway notices couldn’t be placed in newspapers until Monday morning; turning about and heading south if she encountered possible slave hunters; and carrying a drug to use on a baby if its crying might put the fugitives in danger. Tubman even carried a gun which she used to threaten the fugitives if they became too tired or decided to turn back, telling them, “You’ll be free or die.”By 1856, Tubman’s capture would have brought a $40,000 reward from the South. On one occasion, she overheard some men reading her wanted poster, which stated that she was illiterate. She promptly pulled out a book and feigned reading it. The ploy was enough to fool the men.Tubman had made the perilous trip to slave country 19 times by 1860, including one especially challenging journey in which she rescued her 70-year-old parents. Of the famed heroine, who became known as “Moses,” Frederick Douglass said, “Excepting John Brown – of sacred memory – I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than.” And John Brown, who conferred with “General Tubman” about his plans to raid Harpers Ferry, once said that she was “one of the bravest persons on this continent.”Becoming friends with the leading abolitionists of the day, Tubman took part in antislavery meetings. On the way to such a meeting in Boston in 1860, in an incident in Troy, New York, she helped a fugitive slave who had been captured.During the Civil War Harriet Tubman worked for the Union as a cook, a nurse, and even a spy. After the war she settled in Auburn, New York, where she would spend the rest of her long life. She died in 1913.Image Credit: Moorland-Spingarn Research Center|
Harriet the Spy: How Tubman Helped the Union Army
When Harriet Tubman led men with Colonel James Montgomery on a raid on rice plantations along the Combahee River in South Carolina in 1863, they were dubbed “the Combahee Raid.” In addition to destroying buildings and tearing down bridges, they liberated numerous slaves from the farms. When slaves noticed Tubman’s ships with black Union troops on board, they dashed towards them, despite the fact that their overseers begged them to stay. According to reports, one of the overseers exclaimed, “See you in Cuba!” It was during this point in time that Confederates were spreading false information about Union plans to transfer fugitive slaves to Cuba to work on sugar plantations, which proved to be untrue.
However, she also performed a pivotal and trailblazing role throughout the American Civil War.
“She was one of the great heroes of the Civil War,” says Thomas B.
“She was one of the great heroines of the Civil War.” “However, it wasn’t until many years after the war that she was recognized.” (She didn’t collect her pension until 1899, after which she died.) The employment of former slaves as spies was a clandestine program, and President Abraham Lincoln didn’t even inform the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy of its existence.
- Seward was a close friend of Tubman’s.
- “They had lived their lives as if they were invisible,” Allen writes in his book on the women.
- Allen claims, for example, that slaves would inform spies of locations where Confederate forces had placed barrels packed with gunpowder into rivers in order to attack Union ships.
- For any former slave to walk into Confederate territory (these people were not legally “free”; they were still considered fugitives under the law) was an act of bravery.
- According to Claire Small, a former history professor at Salisbury University in Maryland, “she was a lady who possessed bravery.” “And she wished to be free, and she wished for others to be free as well.
- For a brief period, the guy questioned if he was too elderly to accompany the soldiers.
But only for a brief period of time. He subsequently recalled that one was “‘never too elderly to escape the realm of bondage,'” according to Allen, who quotes him as saying. Becky Littleon may be found on Twitter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who was Harriet Tubman?
In the United States, Harriet Tubman, née Araminta Ross, (born c. 1820 in Dorchester County, Maryland, U.S.—died March 10, 1913 in Auburn, New York) was an abolitionist who managed to escape from slavery in the South and rise to prominence before the American Civil War. As part of the Underground Railroad, which was an extensive covert network of safe homes built specifically for this reason, she was responsible for guiding scores of enslaved persons to freedom in the North. Araminta Ross was born into slavery and eventually assumed her mother’s maiden name, Harriet, as her own.
- When she was approximately 12 years old, she reportedly refused to assist an overseer in punishing another enslaved person; as a result, he hurled an iron weight that accidently struck her, causing her to suffer a terrible brain injury, which she would endure for the rest of her life.
- Tubman went to Philadelphia in 1849, allegedly on the basis of rumors that she was due to be sold.
- In December 1850, she made her way to Baltimore, Maryland, where she was reunited with her sister and two children who had joined her in exile.
- A long-held belief that Tubman made around 19 excursions into Maryland and assisted upwards of 300 individuals out of servitude was based on inflated estimates in Sara Bradford’s 1868 biography of Tubman.
- If anyone opted to turn back, putting the operation in jeopardy, she reportedly threatened them with a revolver and stated, “You’ll either be free or die,” according to reports.
- One such example was evading capture on Saturday evenings since the story would not emerge in the newspapers until the following Monday.
- It has been stated that she never lost sight of a runaway she was escorting to safety.
Abolitionists, on the other hand, praised her for her bravery.
Her parents (whom she had brought from Maryland in June 1857) and herself moved to a tiny farm outside Auburn, New York, about 1858, and remained there for the rest of her life.
Tubman spied on Confederate territory while serving with the Second Carolina Volunteers, who were under the leadership of Col.
Montgomery’s forces were able to launch well-coordinated attacks once she returned with intelligence regarding the locations of munitions stockpiles and other strategic assets.
Immediately following the Civil War, Tubman relocated to Auburn, where she began caring for orphans and the elderly, a practice that culminated in the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Home for IndigentAged Negroes in 1892.
Aside from suffrage, Tubman became interested in a variety of other issues, including the abolition of slavery.
A private measure providing for a $20 monthly stipend was enacted by Congress some 30 years after her contribution was recognized. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Jeff Wallenfeldt was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
Harriet Tubman Biography
She was known as the “Moses of her people” because she was enslaved and then fled to become a “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, where she assisted others in gaining their freedom. Aside from being a scout, spy, and guerilla fighter for the Union Army during the Civil War, Tubman also worked as a medic for the army. She is widely regarded as the first African-American woman to serve in the United States armed forces. Tubman’s precise birthdate is uncertain, however it is believed to have occurred between 1820 and 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland, according to some estimations.
- She had eight siblings, all of whom survived.
- Early indications of her opposition to slavery and its abuses appeared when she was twelve years old and intervened to prevent her owner from striking an enslaved man who attempted to flee.
- However, despite the fact that slaves were not permitted to marry, Tubman entered into a marriage partnership with John Tubman, a free black man, in 1844.
- Tubman did not construct the Underground Railroad, contrary to popular belief; rather, it was built in the late eighteenth century by both black and white abolitionists.
- The man she married refused to accompany her, and by 1851, he had married a free black lady from the South.
- As a result of her achievement, slaveowners have offered a $40,000 reward for her arrest or murder.
- She also took part in various anti-slavery campaigns, including assisting John Brown in his failed attack on the Harpers Ferry arsenal in Virginia in 1859, which she helped organize.
As a spy and scout for the Union army, Tubman frequently disguised herself as an elderly woman.
Tubman assisted a large number of these people in obtaining food, housing, and even employment in the North.
During her time as a nurse, Tubman administered herbal cures to black and white troops who were dying of sickness or illness.
Anthony, looked after her aging parents, and collaborated with white writer Sarah Bradford on her autobiography, which she hoped would be a source of income.
She lived in Auburn, New York, and cared for the elderly in her house.
In 1895, as Davis’s widow (he died in 1888), she was ultimately given a $8 per month military pension, followed by a $20 pension in 1899 for her service in the army.
In 1896, she donated land near her home to the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, which is still in operation today. Tuberculosis was discovered in 1913 and Tubman was interred at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York, with full military honors.
Harriet Tubmandanielled65142021-05-05T Harriet Tubmandanielled65142021-05-05 10:05:50-04:00 As part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, visitors can learn about the life and times of Harriet Tubman – freedom seeker and Underground Railroad conductor, abolitionist and suffragist, human rights activist, and one of Maryland’s most famous daughters – as well as other notable figures from the state’s history.
Tubman, who was born about 1822 in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is one of the most praised, known, and beloved persons in the history of the United States of America.
If this is the case, Harriet Tubman would become the first woman and the first African-American to be featured on U.S.
A courageous leader
Harriet Tubman was the middle child of nine enslaved siblings, and she was reared by parents who had to fight against overwhelming difficulties to keep their family together. In spite of her terrible impairment, she grew up to become an accomplished hunter, lumberjack, and fieldworker. Her athletic skills prepared her for the potentially hazardous road she would choose as an adult. Tubman was able to make it to Philadelphia in 1849 after a daring escape. Once free, she went on to become an operator of the Underground Railroad, a hidden network of people, places, and routes that gave sanctuary and support to fugitive slaves during the American Civil War.
By 1860, Tubman had gained the moniker “Moses” for her work in rescuing so many enslaved people while putting her own life in danger to do it.
- The fact that she had never learned to read or write did not detract from her ability to be intelligent, cunning, and brave, and she was never caught during her 13 perilous trips to free her friends and family from slavery. In June 1863, she made history by being the first woman to command an armed military raid during the American Civil War. Additionally, Tubman served as a Union spy and nurse
- She was a suffragist who campaigned for women’s rights
- She founded an African-American Nursing Home on her farm in Auburn, New York
- And she came close to death as a young child after suffering a concussion and traumatic brain injury. She suffered from seizures, discomfort, and other health difficulties for the remainder of her life, despite the fact that she was devout. When she began seeing visions and intense dreams, she took them to be revelations from God
- Nevertheless, she later came to believe otherwise.
A dedicated humanitarian
As a result of her widespread admiration among abolitionists in the North, Tubman established herself as a valued friend and counselor to many, earning her a position in the Union Army as a scout, spy, nurse, and confidante of generals. After the Civil War, she relocated to Auburn, New York, where she devoted her time and energy to the misery of the poor, opening her house as a haven for the aged, the sick, and those who were physically handicapped. Even before the American Civil War, she was a tireless advocate for the rights of women, minorities, the crippled, and the elderly in general.
She went on to establish a nursing home for African Americans on her land in New York, which she owned at the time.
Tubman had already been the topic of a slew of articles, recollections, and an autobiography at that point.
It is only necessary to go along the Byway that bears her name to appreciate the significance of her humble origins and the scope of her accomplishment.
Her mission was to help others, combat tyranny, and make a difference in the world – all ideas that are recognized along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, where ordinary individuals performed incredible feats of bravery.
- She was born into slavery as Araminta “Minty” Ross in Dorchester County, Maryland, most likely around the year 1822. Her parents, Harriet (“Rit”) Green and Ben Ross, were both enslaved
- She was born into this situation. A family member of Harriet’s mother’s “ownership,” the Brodess family, rented Harriet out and assigned her to do various jobs, including caring for children, checking muskrat traps, agricultural and forest labor, driving oxen, plowing, and moving logs. During her childhood, most likely in the 1830s, she had a serious brain injury that required surgery. Seizures, migraines, and visions plagued the victim for the rest of his life. Around the time of her marriage to John Tubman, a free Black man, in 1844, she changed her name from Araminta to Harriet, and so became known as Harriet Tubman 1849: She managed to escape slavery and make her way to Philadelphia on her own, primarily through the darkness of the night.
- Following her emancipation, she spent more than a decade making secret return journeys to Maryland in order to assist her friends and family members who were also fleeing slavery. With each journey, she put her life in danger. Tubman’s last rescue expedition took place in 1860
- When the Civil War broke out, she joined the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, then as an armed scout and spy, among other roles. With the liberation of more than 700 slaves in 1863, she made history as the first woman to command an armed expedition during the war. The next year she relocated to a home she had acquired in Auburn, New York (where she cared for her aged parents) that she had purchased in 1859. She was active in the suffrage campaign, advocating not just for the rights of women, but also for the rights of minorities, the crippled, and the elderly
- And On March 10, 1913, she passed away. Tubman is buried in Auburn, New York
- On April 20, 2016, the United States Treasury Department announced a plan for Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson as the portrait gracing the $20 bill
- And on April 20, 2016, the United States Treasury Department announced a plan for Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson as the portrait gracing the $20 bill.
Dispelling the myths about Harriet Tubman
“We believe we are familiar with Harriet Tubman, a former slave who went on to become an Underground Railroad conductor and an abolitionist. However, much of Tubman’s true life narrative has been clouded by years of myths and bogus tales, which have been spread through children’s books and have only served to obfuscate her enormous accomplishments in the process. This woman’s story is significantly more intriguing and astonishing than everything that has been spoken about her previously.” — Kate Clifford Larson, author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero (Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero), Several misconceptions and facts regarding Harriet Tubman’s life are debunked by Kate Clifford Larson, author of the well-regarded book Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero (Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero).
- We have included some of the myths in this section with the author’s permission.
- While speaking at public and private gatherings in 1858 and 1859, Tubman regularly stated that she had saved between 50 and 60 persons in eight or nine visits to different locations.
- In her 1868 biography, Sarah Bradford overstated the figures to make a point.
- Other individuals who were close to Tubman expressed strong disagreement with the statistics.
- Additionally, in addition to teaching his family and friends, Tubman also provided education to around 70 other freedom seekers from the Eastern Shore who had discovered their own route to freedom.
- The property was located south of Madison in a location known as Peter’s Neck in Dorchester County, and was owned by Brodess.
- FACT: The sole reward for Tubman’s arrest was provided in an advertising for the return of “Minty” and her brothers “Ben” and “Harry” published on October 3, 1849, in which their mistress, Eliza Brodess, paid $100 for each of them if they were apprehended outside the state of Maryland.
- Sallie Holley, a former anti-slavery activist in New York who sent a letter to a newspaper in 1867 pleading for support for Tubman in her pursuit of back pay and pension from the Union Army, concocted the number of $40,000 as a reward for Tubman’s capture and execution.
- For $40,000, which is the equivalent of many million dollars today, she would have been apprehended, and every newspaper in the country would have run an advertising announcing her arrest.
- It was too perilous for her to venture into unfamiliar territory where she did not know the people or the terrain.
During her captivity in Philadelphia, Tubman had a coded letter composed for her that was delivered to Jackson in December 1854, telling him to inform her brothers that she was on her way to rescue them and that they needed to be prepared to “climb onboard” the “Old Ship of Zion.” There is no evidence that he genuinely provided refuge to runaways in his home.
- FAITHFUL:Harriet Tubman did not participate in the construction of the canal, which was completed between 1810 and 1830 while she was still a kid.
- We do not know whether her father, Ben Ross, was involved in the construction of the canal, but he would almost probably have utilized it to move lumber.
- Tubman used a variety of ways and routes to escape slavery and to return to help others who were in need of rescue.
- She utilized disguises, walked, rode horses and wagons, sailed on boats, and rode genuine trains to get where she needed to go.
- She communicated with people through letters prepared for her by someone else and addressed to trusted persons such as Jacob Jackson, as well as by direct conversation with them.
- Rivers snaked northward, and she followed their course.
- Harriet Tubman took a tiny handgun with her on her rescue operations, mostly to protect herself from slave catchers, but also to discourage weak-hearted runaways from turning around and jeopardizing the group’s overall safety.
- TRUTH: While on her rescue operations, Tubman performed two songs to keep herself entertained.
- Tubman explained that she altered the speed of the songs to signify whether or not it was safe to come out.
- Because “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was written and composed post-Civil War by an Afro-Cherokee Indian residing in Oklahoma, Tubman would not have been familiar with it prior to the Civil War.
- She was 27 years old when she fled slavery on her own in the fall of 1849, when she was 27 years old.
Photographs shot later in her life, as highlighted by Washington Postcritic Philip Kennicott, “had the effect of softening the wider sense of who she was, and how she achieved her heroic legacy.”
Learn Harriet Tubman’s Story at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
The abolitionist Harriet Tubman, a former slave, Underground Railroad conductor, and abolitionist, is someone we believe we know.” However, much of Tubman’s true life narrative has been clouded by years of myths and phony mythology, which have been spread through children’s books and have only served to disguise her significant accomplishments and contributions. “The reality of the lady who will be the new face of the $20 note is considerably more captivating and astonishing,” says the author.
- With the author’s permission, we’ve included some of the misconceptions in this section.
- As Tubman consistently stated in public and private meetings over the years of 1858 and 1859, in 8 or 9 voyages, she had saved 50 to 60 persons in all.
- In her 1868 biography, Sarah Bradford overstated the figures.
- These figures were particularly challenged by other acquaintances of Tubman who were close to him.
- Additionally, in addition to teaching his family and friends, Tubman also provided education to around 70 other freedom seekers from the Eastern Shore who had discovered their own road to freedom.
- The farm was located south of Madison in a location known as Peter’s Neck in Dorchester County.
- FACT: The sole reward for Tubman’s arrest was provided in an advertising for the return of “Minty” and her brothers “Ben” and “Harry” published on October 3, 1849, in which their mistress, Eliza Brodess, paid $100 for each of them if they were apprehended outside of Maryland.
Sallie Holley, a former anti-slavery activist in New York who sent a letter to a newspaper in 1867 pleading for support for Tubman in her pursuit of back pay and pension from the Union Army, concocted the number of $40,000 as a reward for Tubman’s capture and imprisonment.
This was the equivalent of several million dollars now, and she would have been apprehended for that sum.
FACT: Tubman only returned to Maryland to pick up loved ones she couldn’t bear to be separated from — relatives and friends she couldn’t bear to be without and in whom she could put her faith.
FAMILY FACT: Harriet Tubman’s confidante was Jacob Jackson, a free Black farmer and veterinarian.
FAITHFUL:Harriet Tubman did not participate in the construction of the canal, which took place between 1810 and 1830 while she was only a kid.
Her father, Ben Ross, did not participate in the canal’s construction, but he would have relied on it for the transportation of lumber.
In order to escape slavery and return to help others, Tubman employed a variety of means and routes.
She utilized disguises, walked, rode horses and wagons, went on boats, and rode genuine trains to go where she wanted to go.
For example, she sent letters to trusted persons such as Jacob Jackson that were written for her by someone else, and she communicated with them in person.
She followed the rivers as they snaked northwards toward her destination.
Harriet Tubman took a tiny handgun with her on her rescue operations, mostly to protect herself from slave catchers, but also to discourage weak-hearted runaways from turning around and jeopardizing the safety of the entire group.
TRUTH: While on her rescue operations, Tubman sung two songs to herself.
Tuberman explained that she altered the pace of the songs to signal if it was safe to go outside.
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was written and composed after the Civil War by an Afro-Cherokee Indian residing in Oklahoma, and as a result, it would have been unfamiliar to Tubman before to the American Civil War.
After fleeing from slavery on her own in the fall of 1849, when she was 27 years old, she eventually made it out.
Tubman is frequently depicted as a frail, elderly woman in popular culture, including artwork, monuments, picture books, and living-history performances.
This is due to images shot late in her life, which, as Washington Postcritic Philip Kennicott observed, “had the effect of softening the larger recollection of who she was, and how she accomplished her heroic legacy.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
“We believe we are familiar with Harriet Tubman, a former slave who went on to become an Underground Railroad conductor and abolitionist. The truth is that much of Tubman’s true life narrative has been buried by years of myths and bogus tales, which have been spread through children’s books, and which have only served to disguise her enormous accomplishments. This woman’s story is considerably more intriguing and astonishing than anything that has been said about her.” — Kate Clifford Larson, author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero (Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero) Several misconceptions and facts regarding Harriet Tubman’s life are debunked by Kate Clifford Larson, author of the highly regarded memoir Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero.
We’ve included some of the myths below with the author’s permission.
While speaking at public and private gatherings in 1858 and 1859, Tubman regularly stated that she had saved between 50 and 60 persons in eight or nine journeys.
In her 1868 biography, Sarah Bradford overstated the statistics.
Other individuals who were close to Tubman expressed strong disagreement with such figures.
As well as providing education to relatives and friends, Tubman also provided instruction to around 70 other freedom seekers from the Eastern Shore who had discovered their own route to freedom.
Tubman was eventually sent to Bucktown, where she lived on Brodess’s modest farm with her mother and brothers.
Slaveholders on Maryland’s Eastern Shore were completely unaware that Harriet Tubman (or Minty Ross, as she was known to them) was assisting and persuading individuals to flee their possessions.
To put this in context, the United States government offered $50,000 for the apprehension of John Wilkes Booth, the man responsible for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.
FACT: Tubman only returned to Maryland to pick up loved ones she couldn’t bear to be apart from — relatives and friends she couldn’t live without and in whom she could place her faith.
FACT: Harriet Tubman confided in Jacob Jackson, a free Black farmer and veterinarian who lived in the South during the Civil War.
Jackson would be referred to as an agent in this context.
When she was a young adult working in the region around the late 1830s and early 1840s, she most likely utilized it to move lumber and agricultural items.
FACT: Because the quilt code is a fiction, Harriet Tubman never employed it.
She was reliant on trustworthy individuals, both black and white, who protected her, directed her in the right direction, and informed her about more people she could rely on.
She utilized specific tunes to signal danger or safety in different situations.
She used bribes to get others to do things.
The stars and other natural phenomena guided her north, and she relied on her intuition and faith in God to guide and comfort her when she encountered unpleasant and new land or circumstances.
During the Civil War, Tubman was armed with a sharpshooters rifle.
In Sarah Bradford’s biographyScenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, two of her songs are mentioned: “Go Down Moses” and “Bound For the Promised Land.” When it was safe to come out, Tubman said she adjusted the speed of the songs.
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was written and composed after the Civil War by an Afro-Cherokee Indian residing in Oklahoma, and hence would not have been known to Tubman before to the Civil War.
She fled slavery on her own in the fall of 1849, when she was 27 years old, when she was 27 years old.
Tubman is frequently shown as a frail, elderly lady in popular culture, including paintings, monuments, picture books, and living-history events.
This is due to images shot late in her life, which, as Washington Postcritic Philip Kennicott observed, “had the effect of softening the larger recollection of who she was, and how she accomplished her heroic legacy.”