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.
How many people did Harriet Tubman help in the Underground Railroad?
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.”
How many people were rescued on the Underground Railroad?
Estimates vary widely, but at least 30,000 slaves, and potentially more than 100,000, escaped to Canada via the Underground Railroad.
How many soldiers did Harriet Tubman save?
Tubman herself never used this number, instead estimating that she had rescued around 50 people by 1860—mostly family members. Historians now believe that it’s likely that she was personally responsible for ushering around 70 people to freedom along the Underground Railroad in the decade before the Civil War.
Did Harriet Tubman have a baby?
Harriet Tubman’s family includes her birth family; her two husbands, John Tubman and Nelson Davis; and her adopted daughter Gertie Davis.
Is Gertie Davis died?
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.
Does Harriet Tubman get caught?
Despite the efforts of the slaveholders, Tubman and the fugitives she assisted were never captured. Years later, she told an audience: “I was conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say – I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”
Did Harriet Tubman jump off a bridge?
Cornered by armed slave catchers on a bridge over a raging river, Harriet Tubman knew she had two choices – give herself up, or choose freedom and risk her life by jumping into the rapids. “I’m going to be free or die!” she shouted as she leapt over the side.
What happened to Harriet Tubman sister?
This period is chronicled in Harriet. Tubman ultimately rescued all but one. She didn’t save her sister Rachel Ross. She died shortly before her older sister arrived to bring her to freedom.
What rank was Harriet Tubman in the Civil War?
Tubman During the Civil War. During the Civil War, Tubman worked for the Union army as a nurse, a cook, and a spy.
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.
How many slaves did Jefferson own?
Despite working tirelessly to establish a new nation founded upon principles of freedom and egalitarianism, Jefferson owned over 600 enslaved people during his lifetime, the most of any U.S. president.
What states did Harriet Tubman live in?
Harriet Tubman was born around 1820 on a plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland. Her parents, Harriet (“Rit”) Green and Benjamin Ross, named her Araminta Ross and called her “Minty.”
Who took pictures of Harriet Tubman?
[Portrait of Harriet Tubman] / Powelson, photographer, 77 Genesee St., Auburn, New York. Photograph shows Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) at midlife. She is seated, turned toward the left. One hand rests on the back of a wooden chair, another rests in her lap.
Fact check: Harriet Tubman helped free slaves for the Underground Railroad, but not 300
In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, thereby ending slavery in the United States. Freedom-seekers, free Blacks, and descendants of Black Loyalists settled throughout British North America during the American Revolutionary War period. It is possible that some of them resided in all-Black colonies, such as the Elgin Settlement and the Buxton Mission in Ontario, the Queen’s Bush Settlement and the DawnSettlement near Dresden in Ontario, as well as Birchtown and Africaville in Nova Scotia, although this seems unlikely.
Early African Canadian settlers were hardworking and forward-thinking members of their communities.
Religious, educational, social, and cultural institutions, political groupings, and community-building organizations were all founded by black people during the course of their history.
For further information, see the biography of Mary Ann Shadd.
- Food stores, boutiques, and hat shops were among the enterprises they operated.
- In the struggle for racial equality, black people were vocal and active participants.
- In their communities, they waged war on the prejudice and discrimination they met in their daily lives in Canada by getting productive work, acquiring homes, and ensuring that their children received a quality education.
- As a result of their race, many people were refused the ability to dwell in specific areas.
- When segregated schools were present in some regions of Ontario and Nova Scotia, parents were obligated to take their children to them.
- They made significant contributions to the socio-economic development of the communities in which they resided wherever they settled in British North America.
- Even now, they have left a lasting and rich legacy that is still visible.
Tubman freed slaves just not that many
Dorchester County, Maryland, was the setting for the birth of Harriet Tubman, whose given name was Raminta “Minty” Ross, who was born in the early 1820s. She was raised as a house slave from an early age, and at the age of thirteen, she began working in the field collecting flax. Tubman sustained a traumatic brain injury early in his life when an overseer hurled a large weight at him, intending to hit another slave, but instead injuring Tubman. She did not receive adequate medical treatment, and she would go on to have “sleeping fits,” which were most likely seizures, for the rest of her life.
Existing documents, as well as Tubman’s own remarks, indicate that she would travel to Maryland roughly 13 times, rather than the 19 times claimed by the meme.
This was before her very final trip, which took place in December 1860 and saw her transporting seven individuals.” Abolitionist Harriet Tubman was a contemporary of Sarah Hopkins Bradford, a writer and historian who is well known for her herbiographies of the abolitionist.
“Bradford never said that Tubman provided her with such figures, but rather that Bradford calculated the inflated figure that Tubman provided.
In agreement with this was Kate Clifford Larson, author of “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero.” As she wrote in a 2016 opinion article for the Washington Post, “My investigation has validated that estimate, showing that she took away around 70 individuals in approximately 13 trips and supplied instructions to another approximately 70 people who found their way to freedom on their own.” Checking the facts: Nancy Green, the Aunt Jemima model, did not invent the brand.
A bounty too steep
The sole recorded bounty for Tubman was an advertisement placed on Oct. 3, 1849, by Tubman’s childhood mistress, Eliza Brodess, in which she offered a reward for Tubman’s capture. The $100 reward (equivalent to little more than $3,300 today) did not go primarily to Tubman; it also went to her brothers “Ben” and “Harry.” As explained by the National Park Service, “the $40,000 reward number was concocted by Sallie Holley, a former anti-slavery activist in New York who penned a letter to a newspaper in 1867 pleading for support for Tubman in her quest of back pay and pension from the Union Army.” Most historians think that an extravagant reward was unlikely to be offered.
Tubman did, in fact, carry a revolver during her rescue missions, which is one grain of truth in the story.
The photograph used in the meme is an authentic photograph of Tubman taken in her final years. Fact check: Although the remark attributed to Abraham Lincoln is fictional, Lincoln did once express concern about internal dangers.
Our ruling: Partly false
We assess the claim that Harriet Tubman conducted 19 journeys for the Underground Railroad during which she freed over 300 slaves as PARTLY FALSE because some of it is not supported by our research. She also claimed to have a $40,000 bounty on her head and to have carried a weapon throughout her excursions. While it is true that Tubman did free slaves – an estimated 70 throughout her 13 voyages — and that she carried a tiny handgun for her personal security and to deter anybody from coming back, historians and scholars say that the other historical claims contained in the meme are exaggerations.
Our fact-check sources:
- The Washington Post published an article titled “5 Myths About Harriet Tubman” in which Kanye West claims that Tubman never “freed the slaves,” and the Los Angeles Times published an article titled “Rapper Kanye West criticizes Harriet Tubman at a South Carolina rally.” Other articles include Smithsonian Magazine’s “The True Story Behind the Harriet Tubman Movie”
- Journal of Neurosurgery’s “Head Injury in Heroes of the Civil
- Thank you for your interest in and support of our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app, or electronic version of the newspaper by visiting this link. Our fact-checking efforts are made possible in part by a grant from Facebook.
|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 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.
In one of the most intricate myths about Tubman, the allegation that she transported more than 300 enslaved persons to freedom over the course of 19 trips (originally recorded in a 19th century biography) is one of the most difficult to dispel.
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 fame 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
Five myths about Harriet Tubman
However, she was known professionally as Araminta Ross, despite her fans’ nicknames of “Moses” or “General Tubman.” 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 dates. He was one of nine children born to Harriet “Rit” and Ben Ross, who were enslaved individuals held by two separate households on Maryland’s Eastern Shore at the time of her birth. Her mother tried to keep her family together when her parents split.
- Despite the fact that Tubman was still a child, her owners, the Brodess family, “loaned” her out to other people to labor for them in often-disappointing and dangerous conditions while she was a kid.
- Separations were painful for enslaved couples, and sometimes they were forced to choose between family and liberty.
- A mixed marriage was not unusual in the region, which had a substantial number of previously slaves who had acquired (or purchased) their manumission.
- Araminta, who was known as “Minty” by her family, changed her name to Harriet shortly after her marriage in order to remember her mother, who had died when she was young.
- Tubman was subjected to the beatings and violence that were prevalent in many slave-owning households from an early age.
- She died in 1847.
- Prior to being reassigned to her previous job, Tubman had no medical attention or time to rehabilitate.
In order to escape slavery, Tubman herself took advantage of the Underground Railroad.
However, they were apprehended and were captured.
A few months later, Tubman set off once more, this time on her own, abandoning her husband and children as she traveled north through Delaware and Pennsylvania, stopping frequently at a succession of Underground Railroad hideouts along the way, until arriving in Philadelphia.
She then embarked on the first of almost two dozen missions to assist other enslaved persons in escaping as she herself had done.
Undoubtedly, one of the most convoluted falsehoods about Tubman is the allegation (which was originally cited in a 19th-century book) that she was responsible for the liberation of more than 300 enslaved persons over the course of 19 missions.
It is now believed that she was directly responsible for bringing around 70 persons to freedom through the Underground Railroad in the decade leading up to the Civil War, as historians have discovered.
Most likely, Tubman’s former owners or the owners of the enslaved persons she freed were unaware that the lady formerly known as Minty Ross was transporting their enslaved people to a safer location.
This was the only documented “reward” given for Tubman’s capture.
Some speculate that Tubman’s so-called “niece” was actually her biological offspring.
Tubman also remarried after the Civil Combat ended, this time to a war veteran named Nelson Davis, who was 22 years her junior in age.
The couple eventually adopted a daughter, Gertie.
Margaret’s mother stated that she was the daughter of an affluent family of liberated Black people, which led many to question the reasoning behind her decision to remove the kid from a secure environment.
One of her most notable accomplishments was the Combahee Ferry Raid.
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 who helped map out most of the territory.
While evading gunfire and artillery shells from slave owners and Confederate soldiers racing to the scene, Tubman and her party were able to safely rescue more than 700 enslaved individuals laboring on surrounding farms after steering Union boats across mine-filled seas to the beach.
An African-American feminist group, the Combahee River Collective, was founded in commemoration of Harriet Tubman one hundred years after her achievements in South Carolina.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ THESE STATEMENTS.
For her Civil War service, the United States government did not pay Tubman until years after the war’s end.
Because of Tubman’s covert spying activities, it was difficult for the federal government to recognize her accomplishments in an official capacity.
Tubman received a $2,000 pension from the government two decades after the conflicts ended, but the bill was denied by a vote in the United States House of Representatives.
She died in near destitution, despite her notoriety and achievements.
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 of the scheme.
As part of her 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 organization.
In spite of the fact that Tubman was never able to fully recover from her financial difficulties, she continued to donate her money to various charitable causes, including the donation of a parcel of land near her Auburn, New York, home for the construction of what would become known as the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, which would be open only to impoverished Black people.
The mansion Tubman had helped to build became her final resting place when her health began to deteriorate in 1911. She died there on March 10, 1913, as a result of pneumonia. More information may be found at: 6 Strategies Harriet Tubman and Others Used to Evade Captivity on the Underground Railroad
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 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 Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, located in Church Creek on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, first opened its doors to the public in March 2017. Several locations surrounding the visitor center were used by Harriet Tubman during her childhood as a slave in Dorchester County. She lived, worked, and prayed in these locations. The place is where she originally fled slavery, and it is where she returned around 13 times over the course of a decade, risking her life time and time again in order to free over 70 friends and family members.
- Located at 4068 Golden Hill Road in Church Creek, Maryland.
- Donations are accepted in lieu of admission to the tourist center, which is free.
- The magnificent visitor center, which is located near the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and about 25 minutes from Cambridge, Maryland, has an exhibit hall with compelling and thought-provoking multimedia exhibits, a theater, and a gift shop, among other amenities.
- There is also a huge picnic pavilion with a stone fireplace that may be rented out for special occasions.
- In addition to the visitor center, there are more than 30 historical sites along the Maryland part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, which is a self-guided, beautiful driving tour of the Underground Railroad.
- NOTE: The Harriet Tubman Visitor Center is not to be confused with the Harriet Tubman MuseumEducational Center, which has been in operation for more than 20 years and is maintained entirely by volunteers in the heart of Cambridge’s downtown.
- Visit the Tubman Visitor Center website for additional information, or call or email them at 410-221-2290 or [email protected] to learn more about their programs and services.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park
As a result of an executive order issued in March 2013, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument was established and the landscape of Dorchester County, Maryland was designated as a historical landmark for its association with Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. When the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park was established a year later, the National Park Service designated area in Dorchester, Talbot, and Caroline Counties for possible future acquisition by the National Park Service.
It also maintains a sister park, Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, New York.
At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, you may get stamps for your passport that will allow you to visit all of the National Parks. Learn more about the park by visiting its website. a link to the page’s load
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.
On the Underground Railroad, did coded songs aid people in their attempts to elude enslavement and find freedom? In connection with the Underground Railroad, there is a widespread idea that songs had hidden messages in the lyrics that either assisted slaves in finding their path to freedom or served as a warning. To summarize: The expression “follow the Drinkin’ Gourd” actually refers to the North Star, “Wade in the Water” is an instruction to hide, and the phrase “I am bound for Canaan” could be used by a slave to announce his or her intention to flee and seek refuge in Canada, which would serve as their Canaan in the new world.
Tubman would subsequently vary the speed of the song in order to shift the meaning of the message.
According to a related notion, specific patterns in quilts were created in order to symbolize secret instructions, however this theory has also been called into doubt.
In spite of this, songs formed an important part of the culture of those in bondage, whether employed as prayers (known as’spirituals’), to provide a rhythm to their work, or as oral history in a society where many people were illiterate.
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.
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.”
- When it comes to slavery, Lincoln said, “If I could save the union without liberating a single slave, I would.”
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.