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.
Is Gertie Davis died?
Harriet Tubman’s exact age would be 201 years 10 months 28 days old if alive. Total 73,747 days. Harriet Tubman was a social life and political activist known for her difficult life and plenty of work directed on promoting the ideas of slavery abolishment.
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 did Harriet Tubman do after she escaped slavery?
Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head. But she was also a nurse, a Union spy and a women’s suffrage supporter.
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 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.
Is there anyone alive related to Harriet Tubman?
At 87, Copes-Daniels is Tubman’s oldest living descendant. She traveled to D.C. with her daughter, Rita Daniels, to see Tubman’s hymnal on display and to honor the memory of what Tubman did for her people.
Is Gertie Tubman still alive?
It was this adaptability that would lead Tubman to excel in her post-Underground Railroad endeavors. Over the next half-century, she would work as a Union Army General, a liberator, a nurse, a cook, a scout, a spy-ring chief, a celebrated orator, a caretaker and a community organizer.
|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|
Fact check: Harriet Tubman helped free slaves for the Underground Railroad, but not 300
SS.8.13.Explain the powers and duties of individuals, political parties, and the media in a range of governmental and nonprofit organizations, including the United Nations. skills for the twenty-first century SS.8.19.Explain how immigration and migration were influenced by push and pull influences in early American history; and In larger historical settings, examine the relationships and linkages between early American historical events and developments. Explain how and why the dominant social, cultural, and political attitudes evolved during the early history of the United States.
The Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, Washington’s Farewell Address, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty with France, the Monroe Doctrine, the Indian Removal Act, the Missouri Compromise, Dred Scott v.
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.
Our ruling: Partly false
An advertising for a bounty on Tubman issued on October 3, 1849, by Tubman’s childhood mistress, Eliza Brodess, was the first and only recorded bounty for him. Her brothers “Ben” and “Harry” were also included in the $100 prize (equivalent to little more than $3,300 in today’s money). 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 pursuit of back pay and pension benefits from the Union Army.” Most historians think that a large reward was unlikely to be offered.
Tubman carried a handgun, according to Clifford in her book, in order to prevent slaves who were being led to freedom from losing heart and going back — “because a dead fleeing slave could tell no stories,” as she puts it.
Fact check: Although the quotation attributed to Abraham Lincoln is fictional, Lincoln did once express concern about internal dangers in his administration.
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: 8 Facts About the Daring Abolitionist
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Five myths about Harriet Tubman
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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.
American bondwoman Harriet Tubman, née Araminta Ross, (born ca. 1820 in Dorchester County in the U.S.—died March 10, 1913 in Auburn, New York, U.S.), who managed to flee slavery in the South and rise to prominence as an abolitionist before to 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 escorted scores of enslaved individuals to freedom in the North. Araminta Ross, who was born into slavery, subsequently assumed the first name of her mother, Harriet, as her own.
- A terrible brain injury occurred when she was approximately 12 years old, when she apparently refused to assist an overseer in punishing another enslaved person.
- Her marriage to John Tubman, a free Black man, took place around the year 1844.
- She left behind her husband (who refused to leave), parents, and siblings in order to escape.
- Over the next decade, she made a total of around 13 increasingly risky expeditions into Maryland, during which time she transported over 70 runaway enslaved persons via the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada.
- According to reports, if someone opted to turn back, putting the mission’s safety at risk, she threatened them with a revolver and stated, “You’ll be free or you’ll die.” She was also resourceful, coming up with a variety of ways to improve her chances of success in the end.
- Tubman became renowned as the “Moses of her people” after becoming the most famous conductor on the railroad’s system.
- When Tubman was ultimately apprehended, slaveholders offered rewards totaling $40,000 for his apprehension.
She was referred to as “General” Tubman by John Brown, who sought her advice regarding his own plans to lead an anti-slavery attack on a government arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now in West Virginia).
In the years 1862 to 1865, she worked with the Union army in South Carolina as a scout, nurse, and laundress during the American Civil War.
During World War II, Tubman received such a meager wage that she had to rely on her baking business to make ends meet.
Former abolitionist colleagues and people of Auburn rallied behind the house, which remained in operation for several years after her death.
She petitioned for a government pension for her service during the Civil War in the late 1860s and again in the late 1990s.
A private measure offering for a $20 monthly stipend was enacted by Congress some 30 years after her work was recognized by the nation. In the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the editors write about: Jeff Wallenfeldt has made the most current revisions and additions to this page.
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.
- To many abolitionists in the North, Tubman became a trusted friend and counselor, earning her a position in the Union Army as a spy, nurse, and confidante to generals. Tubman was also a scout, spy nurse, and confidante to generals. Upon her return from the Civil War, she settled in the town of Auburn, New York, where she devoted her attention to the suffering of the poor, opening her home as a refuge for the elderly, the sick, and those who were physically challenged. Throughout her life, she fought for the rights of women, minorities, the crippled, and those who were older than sixty years old. After a while, she grew more involved. In New York, she went on to establish a nursing home for African-Americans on the property she had purchased earlier in life. In the years following her death in 1913, she continued to fight for women’s rights. Tubman had already been the topic of countless essays, reminiscences, and an autobiography at that point. It has taken far too long for Tubman’s life to be seen in its correct context, after being shrouded in mythology for far too long. Visit the Byway that bears her name and you will understand the significance of her humble origins and the scope of her accomplishments. 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 people performed amazing feats.
- 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
Her covert return journeys to Maryland to assist her friends and family in escaping slavery continued for more than a decade after she had fled. Her life was in danger with each journey she took. Tubman’s last rescue attempt took place in 1860, and 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 in the war.
As part of the suffrage movement, she fought for the rights of women, as well as the rights of minorities, the crippled, and the elderly, among other causes.
The United States Treasury Department announced on April 20, 2016, that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson as the picture adorning the $20 dollar; she is buried in Auburn, New York.
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.