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. Always ready to stand up for someone else, Tubman blocked a doorway to protect another field hand from an angry overseer.
What part does Tubman play in the Underground Railroad?
- Tubman: Conductor of the Underground Railroad Tubman made 19 trips to Maryland and helped 300 people to freedom. During these dangerous journeys she helped rescue members of her own family, including her 70-year-old parents. At one point, rewards for Tubman‘s capture totaled $40,000.
Why was the Underground Railroad so successful?
The success of the Underground Railroad rested on the cooperation of former runaway slaves, free-born blacks, Native Americans, and white and black abolitionists who helped guide runaway slaves along the routes and provided their homes as safe havens.
How did Harriet Tubman escape slavery herself?
Tubman first encountered the Underground Railroad when she used it to escape slavery herself in 1849. Following a bout of illness and the death of her owner, Tubman decided to escape slavery in Maryland for Philadelphia. Making use of the Underground Railroad, Tubman traveled nearly 90 miles to Philadelphia.
How many slaves did Harriet Tubman save?
Fact: According to Tubman’s own words, and extensive documentation on her rescue missions, we know that she rescued about 70 people —family and friends—during approximately 13 trips to Maryland.
What contribution did Harriet Tubman make to the abolitionist movement?
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom in the North along the route of the Underground Railroad.
Did Harriet Tubman escaped through 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. While that first attempt was unsuccessful, Tubman escaped on her own soon after.
Is Gertie Davis died?
Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 and then risked her life to lead other enslaved people to freedom.
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.
Was the Underground Railroad an actual railroad?
Nope! Despite its name, the Underground Railroad wasn’t a railroad in the way Amtrak or commuter rail is. It wasn’t even a real railroad. The Underground Railroad of history was simply a loose network of safe houses and top secret routes to states where slavery was banned.
What happened to the Underground Railroad?
End of the Line The Underground Railroad ceased operations about 1863, during the Civil War. In reality, its work moved aboveground as part of the Union effort against the Confederacy.
How Harriet Tubman and William Still Helped the Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad, a network of people who assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North, was only as strong as the people who were willing to put their own lives in danger to do so. Among those most closely associated with the Underground Railroad were Harriet Tubman, one of the most well-known “conductors,” and William Still, who is generally referred to as the “Father of the Underground Railroad.”
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and guided others to freedom
Tubman, who was born into slavery in Maryland under the name Araminta Harriet Ross, was able to escape to freedom via the use of the Underground Railroad. Throughout her childhood, she was subjected to constant physical assault and torture as a result of her enslavement. In one of the most serious instances, she was struck in the head with an object weighing two pounds, resulting in her suffering from seizures and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life. John Tubman was a free black man when she married him in 1844, but nothing is known about their connection other than the fact that she adopted his last name.
Even though she began the voyage with her brothers, she eventually completed the 90-mile journey on her own in 1849.
- As a result, she crossed the border again in 1850, this time to accompany her niece’s family to Pennsylvania.
- Instead, she was in charge of a gang of fugitive bond agents.
- Her parents and siblings were among those she was able to save.
- Tubman, on the other hand, found a way around the law and directed her Underground Railroad to Canada, where slavery was illegal (there is evidence that one of her destinations on an 1851 voyage was at the house of abolitionist Frederick Douglass).
- “”I was a conductor on the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say things that other conductors are unable to express,” she stated with a sense of accomplishment.
“I never had a problem with my train going off the tracks or losing a passenger.” Continue reading Harriet Tubman: A Timeline of Her Life, Underground Railroad Service, and Activism for more information.
William Still helped more than 800 enslaved people escape
Meanwhile, William Still was born in Burlington County, New Jersey, a free state, into a life of liberty and opportunity. The purchase of his freedom by his father, Levi Steel, occurred while his mother, Sidney, was on the run from slavery. In his early years, he came to the aid of a friend who was being pursued by enslaved catchers. He was still a child at the time. The Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery hired him in 1844 to work as a janitor and clerk at their Philadelphia offices.
Around this time, he began assisting fleeing enslaved persons by providing them with temporary lodging in the years leading up to the Civil War.
It is claimed that he escorted 800 enslaved persons to freedom over the course of his 14-year career on the route, all while maintaining meticulous records of their journeys.
More about Harriet Tubman’s life of service after the Underground Railroad can be found at this link.
Tubman made regular stops at Still’s station
Tubman was a frequent visitor at Still’s station, since she made a regular stop in Philadelphia on her way to New York. He is also said to have contributed monetarily to several of Tubman’s journeys. Her visits clearly left an effect on him, as evidenced by the inclusion of a section about her in his book, which followed a letter from Thomas Garrett about her ushering in arriving visitors. As Stillwright put it in his book, “Harriet Tubman had become their “Moses,” but not in the same way that Andrew Johnson had been their “Moses of the brown people.” “She had obediently gone down into Egypt and, through her own heroics, had delivered these six bondmen to safety.
But in terms of courage, shrewdness, and selfless efforts to rescue her fellow-men, she was without peer.
“While great anxieties were entertained for her safety, she appeared to be completely free of personal dread,” he went on to say.
will portray William Still, in the upcoming film Harriet. The film will explore the life and spirit of Tubman, and the role that Still had in guiding so many people on the road to freedom.
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: 8 Facts About the Daring Abolitionist
Even though her fans referred to her as “Moses” or “General Tubman,” she was actually born Araminta Ross. When the lady who would become known as Harriet Tubman was born is unknown, with periods ranging from 1815 to 1822 being cited as possible candidates. The fact that she was one of nine children born to Harriet “Rit” and Ben Ross, enslaved individuals who were held by two distinct households on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is well known to historians today. When Tubman’s parents divorced, her mother found it difficult to maintain her family together, and three of Tubman’s sisters were sold to other plantation owners to make ends meet.
- MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Enslaved couples were forced to endure heartbreaking separations, or even to choose between family and freedom.
- Tubman remained in slavery, although mixed marriages were popular in the region, which had a high number of previously enslaved persons who had acquired (or purchased) their manumission.
- Tubman suffered from chronic pain and disease for the rest of her life as a result of her abuse when enslaved.
- Tubman’s health began to decline while she was still fragile and little (she was likely no more than 5 feet tall), reducing her worth to her masters and restricting her opportunities for employment in the process.
- Tubman received no medical attention or recuperation time before being reassigned to her previous position.
- Tubman herself sought refuge on the Underground Railroad in order to avoid slavery.
- However, they were unable to go very far.
A few months later, Tubman set off once more, this time on her own, abandoning her husband and children as she made her way north through Delaware and Pennsylvania, stopping frequently at a succession of Underground Railroad hideouts along the route, until arriving in Philadelphia.
She then embarked on the first of almost two dozen missions to assist other enslaved persons in escaping as she had.
One of the more convoluted falsehoods about Tubman is the assertion (first cited in a 19th century biography) that she guided more than 300 enslaved persons to freedom over the course of 19 expeditions.
It is now believed that she was directly responsible for bringing over 70 people to freedom through the Underground Railroad in the decade leading up to the Civil War, according to historians.
Even if they did, it is improbable that Tubman’s previous owners, or the owners of the slaves she liberated, would have discovered that it was the lady formerly known as Minty Ross who had whisked their slaves away.
This advertisement was the only documented “reward” issued for Tubman’s capture at the time.
It is possible that Tubman’s “niece” was actually her biological kid.
After the Civil War ended, Tubman remarried, this time to a war veteran named Nelson Davis, who was 22 years her younger in age and 22 years her senior in age.
Shortly after settling in Auburn, New York, in 1859, Tubman embarked on another rescue trip, this time to Maryland, where she returned with a small girl called Margaret, whom Tubman referred to as her niece.
Tubman died in 1926.
The Combahee Ferry Raid was one of her most significant accomplishments.
Worked in a number of camps in Union-held areas of South Carolina, Tubman rapidly became familiar with the terrain and volunteered her services to the army as a spy, heading a squad of scouts that mapped out most of the territory for the army.
Tubman and her group successfully rescued more than 700 enslaved people working on nearby plantations after guiding Union boats through mine-infested waters and landing on the shore.
The raid’s success, which featured the valiant service of African-American troops, elevated Tubman’s notoriety, and she went on to serve on similar operations with the illustrious Massachusetts 54th Infantry before spending the remaining years of the war ministering to wounded combatants.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman led a daring Civil War raid after the Underground Railroad was shut down.
Tubman got minimal remuneration for her efforts to the war effort, and it is possible that she earned less than $200 throughout the war itself, according to historical records.
Tubman had been requesting a formal military pension for years, but had been refused each time.
lawmaker went so far as to draft legislation calling for Tubman to get a $2,000 pension two decades after the conflicts ended, but the bill was defeated.
Despite her popularity and accomplishments, Tubman died in a state of near famine.
As she struggled to pay off the debt she had incurred when she purchased a plot of land in Auburn, New York, that would soon become home to her extended family, she became the victim of a vicious fraud in which she was swindled and robbed of more than $2,000 while also being physically beaten by the perpetrators.
As part of the agreement, Tubman agreed to collaborate with historian Sarah Bradford to write two volumes on her amazing life, with the revenues of the books going to Tubman’s charitable foundation.
Bradford died in 2003.
The home Tubman had helped to build became her final resting place when her health began to deteriorate in 1911.
On March 10, 1913, she died of pneumonia in the home she had helped to build. More information may be found at: 6 Strategies Harriet Tubman and Others Used to Evade Captivity Along the Underground Railroad
Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad
Taking a look at Harriet Tubman, who is considered the most renowned conductor on the Underground Railroad, our Headlines and Heroes blog. Tubman and those she assisted in their emancipation from slavery traveled north to freedom, occasionally crossing the Canadian border. While we’re thinking about the Texas origins of Juneteenth, let’s not forget about a lesser-known Underground Railroad that ran south from Texas to Mexico. In “Harriet Tubman,” The Sun (New York, NY), June 7, 1896, p. 5, there is a description of her life.
- Prints Photographs Division is a division of the Department of Photographs.
- She then returned to the area several times over the following decade, risking her life in order to assist others in their quest for freedom as a renowned conductor of the Underground Railroad (also known as the Underground Railroad).
- Prior to the Civil War, media coverage of her successful missions was sparse, but what is available serves to demonstrate the extent of her accomplishments in arranging these escapes and is worth reading for that reason.
- Her earliest attempted escape occurred with two of her brothers, Harry and Ben, according to an October 1849 “runaway slave” ad in which she is referred to by her early nickname, Minty, which she still uses today.
- Photograph courtesy of the Bucktown Village Foundation in Cambridge, Maryland.
- Her first name, Harriet, had already been chosen for her, despite the fact that the advertisement does not mention it.
She had also married and used her husband’s surname, John Tubman, as her own.
Slaves from the Cambridge, Maryland region managed to evade capture in two separate groups in October 1857.
In what the newspapers referred to as “a vast stampede of slaves,” forty-four men, women, and children managed to flee the situation.
Tubman and the majority of her family had been held in bondage by the Pattison family.
While speaking at antislavery and women’s rights conferences in the late 1800s, Tubman used her platform to convey her own story of slavery, escape, and efforts to save others.
There are few articles regarding her lectures during this time period since she was frequently presented using a pseudonym to avoid being apprehended and returned to slavery under the rules of the Federal Fugitive Slave Act.
“Harriet Tribbman,” in “Grand A.
Convention at Auburn, New York,” Anti-Slavery Bugle (Salem, Ohio), January 21, 1860, p.
Convention in Auburn, New York,” Anti-Slavery Bugle (Salem, Ohio), January 21, 1860, p.
A description of Harriett Tupman may be found in “A Female Conductor of the Underground Railroad,” published in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA) on June 6, 1860, page 1.
In addition, when Tubman’s remarks were mentioned in the press, they were only quickly summarized and paraphrased, rather than being printed in their whole, as other abolitionists’ speeches were occasionally done.
With the rescue of Charles Nalle, who had escaped slavery in Culpeper, Virginia, but had been apprehended in Troy, New York, where Tubman was on a visit, Tubman’s rescue attempts shifted from Maryland to New York on April 27, 1860, and continued until the end of the year.
At the Woman’s Rights Convention in Boston in early June 1860, when Tubman spoke about these events, the Chicago Press and Tribunereporter responded with racist outrage at the audience’s positive reaction to Tubman’s story of Nalle’s rescue as well as her recounting of her trips back to the South to bring others to freedom.
- Later media coverage of Tubman’s accomplishments was frequently laudatory and theatrical in nature.
- On September 29, 1907, p.
- This and several other later articles are included in the book Harriet Tubman: Topics in Chronicling America, which recounts her early days on the Underground Railroad, her impressive Civil War service as a nurse, scout, and spy in the Union Army, and her post-war efforts.
- In keeping with contemporary biographies such asScenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman(1869) and Harriet, the Moses of her People(1886), both written by Sarah H.
- Taylor, financial secretary at Tuskegee Institute, certain content in these profiles may have been embellished from time to time.
This request was made in an essay written by Taylor shortly before to the release of his book, “The Troubles of a Heroine,” in which he requested that money be delivered directly to Tubman in order to pay off the mortgage on her property so that she may convert it into a “Old Folks’ Home.” On March 10, 1913, Tubman passed away in the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged Negroes in Auburn, New York, where she had lived for the previous twelve years.
While these newspaper stories provide us with crucial views into Harriet Tubman’s amazing heroics, they also serve as excellent examples of the variety of original materials available inChronicling America. More information may be found at:
- Harriet Tubman: A Resource Guide
- Harriet Tubman: A Resource Guide
- Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide
- Slavery in America: A Resource Guide Newspaper advertisements for fugitive slaves, as well as a blog called Headlines and Heroes Topics in Chronicling America: Fugitive Slave Advertisements
A Guide to Resources on Harriet Tubman Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide; Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide Newspaper advertisements for fugitive slaves, as well as a blog called Headlines and Heroes; Topics in Chronicling America: Fugitive Slave Advertisements
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad: how one woman saved hundreds from hell
She had managed to get away from hell. Slavery in the United States was a hellish experience characterised by bondage, racist treatment, terrorism, degrading conditions, backbreaking labor, beatings, and whippings. Harriet Tubman escaped from her Maryland farm and walked over 90 miles by herself to reach the free state of Pennsylvania, where she died in 1865. In order to make the perilous voyage, she had to go at night through woods and through streams, with little food, and dreading anybody who would gladly give her back to her masters in order to receive a reward.
Her 1849 escape from slavery was described as follows: “When I realized I had crossed the border, I glanced at my hands to check if I was the same person.” “There was such a radiance in everything.” I had the feeling that I was in heaven as the sun filtered through the trees and over the meadows.” Tubman was transferred to a region where she could live somewhat free of bondage thanks to the Underground Railroad; but, while others endured cruelty and misery, she would risk her life as the network’s most renowned conductor.
Tubman made it out of hell just to turn around and walk right back into it.
When and where was Harriet Tubman born?
Araminta Ross, Tubman’s given name, would have been put to work on her family’s plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland, practically as soon as she began to walk, according to family legend. It was the same terrible initiation to slavery that she and her eight siblings endured when they were born into it. Her rigorous outdoor job, along with long hours of domestic employment as a maid and then as a cook, resulted in her being underweight and unwell at times. The little Minty, like millions of other slaves in America, became all-too familiar with the awful physical and mental torture she suffered at the hands of her owners.
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Minty’s harsh upbringing resulted in a fervent Christian faith, which she developed as a result of hearing Bible tales read to her by her mother, as well as extraordinary strength, courage, and a desire to put herself in danger in order to save others. These characteristics helped her so effectively in the Underground Railroad, yet they almost resulted in her death when she was a little girl.
Once, as Minty was on her way to get supplies from a dry goods store, she found herself stuck between an overseer who was looking for a slave who had fled his property without permission and the slave’s pursuing master.
What was the Underground Railroad?
The term does not allude to genuine trains that went up and down the length of America in tunnels (at least not in the early nineteenth century), but rather to a system of clandestine routes that were designed to assist runaway slaves in reaching the free states of the North or Canada. In order to escape discovery, guides guided them down the circuitous routes, which frequently required trudging into the woods, crossing rivers, and climbing mountains to reach their destination. Although it was not always the case, a route may have involved conveyance, such as boats or carts.
- It was all done in secret, thus the term “underground,” and it made use of jargon from the booming railway industry.
- It was common for those participating – which included everyone from runaway slaves to rich white abolitionists and church officials – to congregate in small groups.
- ‘vigilance committees’ formed established in the bigger cities of the North, such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, to support the railroad.
- It struck Minty in the head, knocking her out cold and leaving her in a pool of blood.
- These remained constant throughout her life (although she claimed them to be premonitions from God).
- There was no reprieve from the horrendous conditions as the years passed, yet all of Minty’s hours of hard labor had given her a surprising amount of strength for her small five-foot body.
Despite the fact that she became Harriet Tubman in approximately 1844 – after marrying a free black man called John Tubman and choosing to use her mother’s first name – it would be another five years before she made her first steps toward freedom.
How did Harriet Tubman escape from slavery?
What makes Tubman’s escape from slavery even more remarkable is that she had to accomplish it twice before she was successful. When Mary left the plantation with two of her brothers on September 17, 1849, Harry and Ben had second thoughts and returned to the plantation with her mother and father. Instead of continuing without them, Tubman made sure they returned before attempting a second time to save her life. The 90-mile trek could have taken her anywhere from one to three weeks if she had done it on foot.
- As a result, in 1850, she returned to Maryland to pick up her niece Kessiah and her husband, as well as their two kids, and bring them back to Pennsylvania.
- (some accounts say she went as many as 19 times).
- It is estimated that she personally freed roughly 300 slaves – including some of her brothers and their families, as well as her own parents – and gave instructions to dozens of others in the process.
- An advertising for the ‘Liberty Line’ in 1844, which was a thinly veiled allusion to the Underground Railroad, and which promised “seats free, regardless of race,” is seen below.
- It only grew more perilous after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, which made it possible for runaway slaves to be apprehended in the North and returned to their original owners.
- As a result, Tubman had to find a way to get to Canada, which was under British control.
When Tubman was a conductor, her colleague William Still remarked, “Great anxieties were expressed for her safety, yet she appeared to be completely devoid of personal dread.” With her success in exploiting and growing the network to transport escaped slaves to safety, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison dubbed Tubman the ‘Moses of her people’ for her efforts.
She would frequently travel during the winter, when the nights were longer, and would leave with her ‘passengers’ on a Saturday evening – since runaway notices would not appear in newspapers until the following Monday – in order to avoid being discovered.
“Either you’ll be free or you’ll die,” she declared emphatically.
‘General Tubman’ was contacted before to his failed 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry in the hopes of igniting a slave insurrection, and it is said that he wanted her to take part in the attack as a member of the armed forces.
Seward was so impressed with Tubman’s work that she purchased a small plot of land near Auburn, New York – where she lived with her elderly parents, whom she had rescued during one of her final journeys – from her friend and admirer.
“Seats free, regardless of race,” according to an advertising for the ‘Liberty Line’ in 1844, which was a barely veiled reference to the Underground Railroad. Chicago History Museum/Getty Images (Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum) ) Having to trek into slavery area where she could be seized by armed slave hunters meant that Tubman was putting her life in danger every time she went out on the job, and she did it willingly. Moreover, the Fugitive Slave Act made it possible for fugitive slaves to be apprehended in the North and returned to their masters, making it an even more perilous situation.
To go to British-owned Canada, Tubman would have to find a way around the country.
According to Tubman’s colleague conductor William Still, “great anxieties were entertained for her safety, yet she appeared to be completely devoid of personal dread.” Tubman’s effectiveness in utilizing and developing the network to transport escaped slaves to safety led renowned abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to refer to her as the “Moses of her people.” Tubman, who was uneducated and illiterate, demonstrated her inventiveness time and time again in order to keep slaves under her charge safe and well-fed on the lengthy trek to the North Pole.
Traveling during the winter, when the nights were longer, she would frequently leave with her ‘passengers’ on a Saturday evening, because runaway notices would not appear in newspapers until the following Monday.
It was her firm statement that became “You’ll be free or perish.” Known to abolitionists and radicals, such as John Brown, Tubman became the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad.
The anti-slavery politician (and future Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln) William H.
Harriet Tubman and the American Civil War
Although the Underground Railroad came to a close with the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, it did not mark the end of Tubman’s heroic efforts on the Underground Railroad. She worked in the Union Army as a cook, laundress, and nurse, caring for wounded troops and escaped slaves, who were referred to as ‘contrabands,’ without regard for her own well-being. Tubman led a troop of scouts into Confederate territory after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, laying the groundwork for the abolition of slavery.
Because of the intelligence she acquired, Colonel James Montgomery was able to launch a deadly attack on enemy fortifications, making her the first woman to command an armed assault in the United States history.
Tubman escorted Union steamboats down the Combahee River on June 2, 1863, in order to plunder plantations in the state of South Carolina. More than 750 slaves were liberated during the uprising.
What were Harriet Tubman’s actions during the American Civil War?
Sophie Beale, a journalist, investigates. The first bullets of the American Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861, in the state of Virginia. Tubman had a large number of abolitionist admirers by this time, and Massachusetts governor John Andrew funded her to travel to Port Royal, South Carolina, which had recently been liberated from the Confederates by Union forces. Her first assignment after the onset of war was as a volunteer with Union troops stationed near Fort Munroe in Virginia. Harriet worked wherever she was needed: nursing those suffering from disease, which was common in the hot climate; coordinating the distribution of charitable aid to the thousands of ex-slaves who lived behind union lines; and supervising the construction of a laundry house, where she taught women how to earn money by washing clothes for others.
Hunter delegated power to Tubman to assemble a group of scouts who would enter and survey the interior of the country.
This persuaded Union leaders of the value of guerrilla operations, which led to the infamous Combahee River Raid, in which Tubman served as scout and adviser to Colonel Montgomery, commander of the second South Carolina volunteers, one of the new black infantry regiments, during the American Civil War.
- In order to avoid rebel underwater explosives, Tubman escorted them to certain locations along the beach.
- Others seized thousands of dollars’ worth of crops and animals, destroying whatever that was left behind as they did so.
- As soon as everyone had boarded the steamers, they began their journey back up the river, transporting the 756 freshly freed slaves to Port Royal.
- Using the exact people the Confederates wished to keep subdued and enslaved, this well-coordinated invasion had dealt a devastating blow to the Confederates’ cause.
- She received such low salary that she was forced to sustain herself by selling handmade pies, ginger bread, and root beer, and she received no remuneration at all for more than three decades.
- A renowned icon of the anti-slavery movement today, she was the subject of two biographies (written in 1869 and 1866) with the revenues going entirely to assist her pay her debts to the institution of slavery.
- As a result of her lectures in favour of women’s suffrage, she was invited to be the keynote speaker at the first conference of the National Association of Colored Women, which took place in 1896.
- (When she was a conductor, she had returned to save John Tubman, but he had remarried by the time she returned.) Tubman and Davis became the parents of a newborn girl named Gertie, whom they adopted as a couple.
She died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913, in the presence of her family and close friends. Her dying words, spoken as a fervent Christian till the end, were, “I am going to prepare a place for you.”
- Sophie Beale, a journalist, looks into. The first bullets of the American Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861, in the state of Tennessee. With many abolitionist fans by this time, Massachusetts governor John Andrew supported Tubman’s journey to Port Royal, South Carolina, which had recently been liberated from the Confederates by Union forces. When war broke out, she first enlisted as a volunteer with Union forces stationed at Fort Munroe, Virginia. Her work took her everywhere, including nursing those suffering from disease, which was common in the hot climate
- Coordinating the distribution of charitable aid to the thousands of former slaves who lived behind union lines
- And supervising the construction of a laundry house, where she trained women to earn money by washing clothes. Because of her unusual position of trust with both former slaves and Union authority, Tubman was able to assist one General Hunter, who commanded troops in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina (the military Department of the South) in recruiting the first black battalions. Using his power, Hunter assigned Tubman the task of assembling a team of scouts to enter and survey the interior of the country. In March 1863, she delivered the information she had obtained from these spies to General Rufus Saxton, who used it to conquer the Florida city of Jacksonville. After this, the Union leadership realized the value of guerrilla operations, which resulted in the infamous Combahee River Raid, during which Tubman served as scout and adviser to Colonel Montgomery, commander of the second South Carolina volunteers, one of the new black infantry battalions. After dark on the 1st of June at the Combahee River, she led three steamers carrying 300 black men gently up the river as the clock approached midnight. Using underwater mines as a guide, Tubman led them to certain locations along the beach. Later, soldiers invaded plantations to flush out any remaining Confederate gunmen and warn the slaves of their pending arrival. Others grabbed crops and livestock worth thousands of dollars, destroying whatever that was left behind. When the whistles blew, the slaves dashed towards the tugboats that had been dispatched to meet them in the harbor. In order to transport the 756 freshly freed slaves to Port Royal, the steamers returned up the river after loading everyone on board. Critics could no longer make the claim that African-Americans were unsuitable for combat after the Combahee River Raid. Using the exact people the Confederates wished to keep subjugated and enslaved, this well-organized invasion dealt a devastating blow to their cause. In exchange for his three years of devoted labor, however, Tubman received nothing. She received such low salary that she was forced to sustain herself by selling handmade pies, gingerbread, and root beer, and she received no remuneration at all for more than three decades. Even though Tubman endured years of adversity, which was exacerbated in 1873 when two con artists defrauded her of $2,000, she did not fade into insignificance. A renowned icon of the anti-slavery movement today, she was the subject of two biographies (published in 1869 and 1866) with the revenues going entirely to assist her pay her debts to the slaveholding community. Tupac Shakur continued to fight for people throughout her life, despite financial difficulties. As a result of her talks in favour of women’s suffrage, she was invited to be the main speaker at the National Association of Colored Women’s inaugural conference in 1896. Her Auburn house became a shelter for orphans, the elderly, and freed slaves in need of assistance, which is how she met her second husband, a Civil War soldier named Nelson Davis, who would become her second spouse as well. (When she was a conductor, she had returned to save John Tubman, but he had remarried by the time she returned to save him.) Tuberculosis and tuberculosis are two conditions for adopting a child. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images) Harriet Tubman (far left), Gertie (her adoptive daughter), and Nelson Davis (her second husband) with elderly boarders and family friends ) Following Tubman’s generosity, her land was purchased in 1908, just a few years before she herself became a patient at the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged. She died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913, in the presence of her family and friends in her home. Her final words, as a fervent Christian until the end, were, “I am going to prepare a place for you.”
If her deeds and accomplishments aren’t enough of a testament, these final remarks eloquently depict a lady who has dedicated her life to others while seeking no recognition or glory for herself. A lady who rose to prominence in the United States while remaining anonymous. A lady who was able to escape the misery of being a slave and went on to assist others in doing the same has been honored. “Most of what I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been done and suffered in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way,” Frederick Douglass, Tubman’s friend and revered abolitionist, wrote to Tubman about her time as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
“I have worked throughout the day; you have worked during the night.”
Jonny Wilkes is a freelance writer specialising in history
This article was first published in History Revealed in January 2017 and has since been updated.
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 Tubman and the Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)
Harriet Tubman, Gertie Davis, Nelson Davis, Lee Cheney, “Pop” Alexander, Walter Green, Sarah Parker, and Dora Stewart are shown from left to right in this photo. The New York Public Library’s Photographs and Prints Division houses the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s Photographs and Prints Division. Harriet Tubman heard in 1849 that she and her brothers, Ben and Henry, were to be sold into slavery. Slave owners’ financial troubles usually resulted in the selling of their slaves and other valuable items.
Tubman and her brothers managed to flee, but they were forced to return when her brothers, one of whom was a newlywed father, had second thoughts about their escape plans.
As Tubman’s biographer, Sarah Bradford, said, “When I realized I’d crossed the border, I glanced at my hands to check if I was the same person.” I felt like I was in Heaven; the sun shone like gold through the trees and across the fields, and the air was filled with the scent of fresh cut grass and flowers.” In Tubman’s home town, there was an established network of roads and rivers that provided frequent links to other areas for the travelers and laborers who passed through on their route to and from work.
- It was her father and others who taught her skills about the natural world, and she gained savviness that assisted her in navigating across landscapes and through life in general.
- abolitionist Thomas Garrett remarked about her, “I never met with a person of any hue who had more confidence in the voice of God, as spoken directly to her spirit,” referring to her faith in God’s voice as communicated directly to her soul.
- Everyone suspected of being a runaway slave was compelled to be reported and arrested under the legislation.
- In order to save members of her family, Tubman journeyed to Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she found her brothers Henry, Ben (who had died), Robert (who had died), Moses (who had died), and numerous of her nieces and nephews and their children.
- Decision to self-emancipate was a tough one to make, since it involved delicate concerns regarding family relationships and children, as well as how to make a living and how to navigate the unknown.
- Tubman saved her elderly parents and fled to the United States.
- Their freedom was always in jeopardy, and the possibility of arrest compelled them to flee from Maryland.
- Because of her efforts to free people from slavery, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison dubbed her “Moses” in honor of the biblical figure.
- Harriet Tubman’s journey to freedom was a bittersweet one.
- She thought that they, too, should have the right to be free.
‘I felt like a foreigner in a new nation; and my home, after all, was down in Maryland, where my father and mother, as well as my siblings and sisters, and friends, were all there.’ “But I was free, and they should be free as well,” I said.
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
Background During the first half of the nineteenth century, the size and popularity of the railroad system in the United States contributed to the code names slaves and abolitionists used to describe the operations of the Underground Railroad, such as “passenger,” “cargo,” “station,” “depot,” “stockholder,” and “conductor,” which were used to describe the operations of the Underground Railroad. Because many slaves and abolitionists were well-versed in the bible, they often employed religious code phrases, such as “River Jordan,” “Heaven,” “Promised Land,” and “Moses,” to communicate their intentions.
The Underground Railroad’s facilitators, or conductors, were typically free black people in the North, formerly escaped slaves, and a Even though slaves had a more difficult time fleeing from the most southern states—such as Alabama and Mississippi—because they were surrounded by other slave-holding states, practically every state had some level of Underground Railroad activity throughout the period.
- To find out if there is a historic Underground Railway station near you, see this list of historic Underground Railway stations.
- Fugitive, escapee, and runaway are all phrases that imply that the individual who is fleeing forced labor is somehow at fault for seeking freedom from captivity or slavery.
- These and other vocabulary phrases, such as personal liberty statutes, redemption, and manumission, may be found on the National Park Service’s “Language of Slavery” webpage, which can be accessed by clicking here.
- To analyze how the importance of people and groups’ activities varies over time and is formed by the historical context, use questions produced about them to assess how the significance of their actions changes over time and is impacted by the historical context.
- North Carolina Standards for Secondary School History 12.9-12.
- The NCSS.D2.His.14.9-12 standard requires students to analyze many and complex causes and consequences of events that have occurred in the past.
- When creating a historical argument, it is important to distinguish between long-term causes and triggering events.
- Integrate evidence from numerous relevant historical sources and interpretations into a reasoned argument about the past.
Students could also look into the following persons and important words throughout these crucial years:
- Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1794
- The Slave Trade Ban was implemented in 1808
- Vestal and Levi Coffin established an escape route for slaves in 1820
- The Missouri Compromise was implemented in 1820
- Denmark Vesey founded Charleston in 1822
- Nat Turner founded Philadelphia in 1831
- The American Anti-Slavery Society was established in Philadelphia in 1833
- The Mexican-American War was implemented in 1846-1848
- Harriet Tubman founded Harpers Ferry in 1859
The Underground Railroad’s conductors were well-versed in how to take advantage of any and all available opportunities. Freedom-seekers rested during the day and traveled the majority of their long-distance (5-10 mile) journeys at night, when they were less likely to be seen. Whenever it was necessary to travel during the day on the train, passengers took on errands and activities to give the impression that they were employed by someone in the vicinity. In spite of the fact that fleeing during the winter may be risky due to the severely cold environment of the northern hemisphere, the winter provided significantly longer periods of darkness under which to seek refuge.
- The Underground Railroad, on the other hand, has spawned a great deal of legend surrounding the signals that comrades would transmit to one another.
- For further information on more songs from this era, please see the Music in African American History lesson on EDSITEment’s website.
- While historians are divided on whether or not songs and textiles may have been used to transmit secret messages in the Underground Railroad system, they remain vital components of African American culture in the nineteenth century, regardless of whether they were utilized to do so.
- For a more detailed account of an Underground Railroad site financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities, see The President of the Underground Railroad (also known as the Underground Railroad President).
- Activities for the Lesson
Activity 1. The Life of Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman (Araminta Ross) was born in March 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland, to Harriet Tubman’s parents. Her grandmother, Modesty, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in the United States. Three sisters were sold out of Tubman’s total of eight siblings. The responsibilities she carried out as a slave included caring for small children and putting animal traps in the fields, among other things. In one instance during Harriet’s childhood, a slave manager hurled a 2 pound metal weight at another slave, but the weight struck Harriet’s head instead.
- In this family photograph, Harriet Tubman may be seen standing at the far left.
- When her owner passed away, she and two of her brothers, Ben and Henry, ran to a more open area of land.
- Tubman eventually sought freedom once more, this time with the assistance of Quakers from Maryland, and crossed the Choptank River into Pennsylvania to do it.
- As Harriet herself stated, she never had a problem with losing a passenger.
- Because many who knew Tubman considered her to be illiterate, she would conceal herself behind a newspaper or a book whenever she was in danger of being detected by them.
- Take a look at some of the pieces from Chronicling America, this BackStory interview withRochelle Bush, a trustee and historian of Salem Chapel Church in St.
Catherines, Ontario, and thisBiography film to learn more about Harriet Tubman’s life and times. During their study of Tubman, students may want to think on the following questions:
- What attributes or abilities did Tubman possess that distinguished her as an especially effective leader on the Underground Railroad
- And In what ways did Tubman’s allies assist her, and who were they? Why should Harriet Tubman be regarded as a significant figure in the history of the United States
Activity 2. Conducting the Underground Railroad
Was there something about Tubman’s personality or temperament that made her a particularly effective leader on the Underground Railroad? The identities and methods by which Tubman’s aided were revealed Describe why Harriet Tubman should be regarded as a significant figure in American history.
Was there anything about Tubman’s personality or attributes that made her a particularly effective leader on the Underground Railroad? In what ways did Tubman’s allies aid her, and who were they? Why should Harriet Tubman be regarded as a significant figure in the history of the United States;
- What, according to Douglass, is the fundamental difference between himself and Tubman
- Was there anything in Douglass’s letter that revealed what he thought of Tubman’s deed? What is it that Douglass wants Tubman to be recognized for?
After reading this letter from Thomas Garrett to Harriet Tubman, take some time to discuss the following questions.
- What does Garrett have to say about Tubman’s personality
- What kind of knowledge does Garrett have regarding assisting freedom-seekers in their attempts to elude slavery? When it comes to Tubman, how does Garrett feel? Look for proof as well as inferences from his tone of voice
After reading about Harriet Tubman’s role in the Civil War and subsequently the records relating to her fight to collect recompense for her efforts, discuss the following questions with your classmates.
- Describe the roles that Tubman played throughout the Civil War. How did her previous experience as a conductor on the Underground Railroad benefit her
- What did she want to do when she finished her military service? What obstacles did Tubman have to overcome in order to receive what she requested
- In the end, what was the result of this conflict
- What was it about Tubman that caused him to have such difficulties? Is there anything that can be done to rectify the situation?
Activity 3. Mapping the Underground Railroad
Was Tubman involved in the Civil War and what was his role? How did her previous experience as a conductor on the Underground Railroad assist her; Following the conclusion of her service, what did she want to accomplish? Was there any difficulty for Tubman in obtaining the assistance she requested? I’m curious in the result of this battle. Is there a reason why Tubman was having difficulties? Whether or if there is anything that can be done to rectify the situation
- States that are free and/or slave along the path
- During the winter months, the weather varies from state to state. Terrain (mountains, hills, lakes, rivers, and other natural features)
- How many miles does it take to get from point A to point B? If relevant, notable cities should be included.
In addition to utilizing Google maps to locate the Underground Railroad, students should examine the Historic Hudson’s People Not Property website to learn more about the railroad. This interactive website describes what it was like to be enslaved and how it felt, as well as the implications and trade-offs that enslaved people were forced to make on a regular basis in their efforts to oppose tyranny and emancipation. Lesson Extensions includes a list of maintained Underground Railroad locations in each state, which may be found farther down on this page.
Assessment The students will write a proposal to Congress in order to synthesize the information they have learned about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
Among the options include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The depiction of Harriet Tubman on U.S. banknotes
- Considering naming a highway or other public place in her name
- Erecting a statue or monument in her honor The declaration of a national holiday every year
Students will argue for Tubman’s significance in history, what sort of recognition she should get, and why a certain day, location, and media was chosen. Students will use primary materials to support their arguments. Their submission should be backed with a prototype, mock-up, or simulation that will provide Congress an idea of what they would be receiving as an award. Students can submit their recommendations to their representatives once they have been reviewed by a teacher. Extensions to the Lesson
Historic Underground Railroad Sites
In collaboration with the National Park Service, a list of historic places believed to have served as stations or major meeting spots on the Underground Railroad has been created. If you were unaware that the network went all the way to Hawaii and the United States Virgin Islands, you would be shocked!
Enter your state or region to see photographs, videos, and educational material about your state or territory, including information regarding student visits. A few sites also provide lesson ideas for students in grades K-12.
National Archival Collections
The National Park Service has put up a guide on using source documents (spirituals, almanacs, diaries, gazettes, calendars, maps, and so on) in the process of researching and interpreting the Underground Railroad (An extensive research guide on Harriet Tubman’s life and times has been compiled by the Library of Congress for additional examination. Featuring Eric Foner, author of Gateway to Freedom; Edna Greene Medford, professor of history at Howard University; and Adam Rothman, the National Archives’ documentary ” Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad ” was released in October 2012.
Regional Archival Collections
This is a small selection of institutions, humanities centers, and historical societies that make digitized photographs and information about things associated to the Underground Railroad available to the general public. For information on this period of American history in your region of the country, check with your local libraries, museums, and other comparable institutions. Delaware Florida Illinois Massachusetts New York is the capital of the United States. OhioPennsylvania Encyclopedias supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and State Humanities Councils