Did Harriet Tubman ever get caught?
- Tubman was never caught and never lost a “passenger.” She participated in other antislavery efforts, including supporting John Brown in his failed 1859 raid on the Harpers Ferry, Virginia arsenal.
Where did Harriet Tubman do the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman is credited with conducting upward of 300 enslaved people along the Underground Railroad from the American South to Canada.
What was the path of the Underground Railroad?
Routes. Underground Railroad routes went north to free states and Canada, to the Caribbean, into United States western territories, and Indian territories. Some freedom seekers (escaped slaves) travelled South into Mexico for their freedom.
Where did Harriet Tubman go after the Underground Railroad?
After she escaped, she spent more than 10 years making secret return trips to Maryland to help her friends and family escape slavery. With each trip she risked her life. Her last rescue mission was in 1860.
What did Harriet Tubman do with 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.”
Is Gertie Davis died?
Because it was dangerous to be in free states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, or even Massachusetts after 1850, most people hoping to escape traveled all the way to Canada. So, you could say that the Underground Railroad went from the American south to Canada.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
What states were part of the Underground Railroad?
Most of the enslaved people helped by the Underground Railroad escaped border states such as Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland. In the deep South, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made capturing escaped enslaved people a lucrative business, and there were fewer hiding places for them.
Where did Harriet Tubman go when she escaped?
But most sources suggest that when Tubman, in her late 20s, fled from the Edward Brodas plantation in Maryland’s Dorchester County in 1849, she went to Pennsylvania; an early biography, by her friend Sarah H. Bradford, says she reached Philadelphia.
What age did Harriet Tubman escape slavery?
By age five, Tubman’s owners rented her out to neighbors as a domestic servant. Early signs of her resistance to slavery and its abuses came at age twelve when she intervened to keep her master from beating an enslaved man who tried to escape.
Aboard the Underground Railroad- Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged
|Images of the Harriet Tubman Home for theAged, Harriet TubmanNationalHistoric Landmarks photographs|
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.
- When Harriet Tubman was born, she was the middle child of nine enslaved siblings, and she was nurtured by parents who battled against overwhelming difficulties to keep their family together. A serious impairment did not stop her from becoming an adept hunter, lumberjack, and fieldworker after years of hard effort. It prepared her for the potentially hazardous road she would choose as an adult. It was in 1849 when Tubman was able to make his way from New York to Philadelphia. The Underground Railroad — a hidden network of people, places, and routes that gave sanctuary and support to fleeing slaves — was established by her when she was freed from slavery. Over the course of a decade, she bravely returned to Maryland at least 13 times to rescue her parents, siblings, family members, and friends, escorting them safely to freedom on each occasion. The epithet “Moses” was given to Tubman by 1860 because she had freed so many enslaved people while putting her own life in danger to do so.
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.
- It is believed that she was born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland, in the year 1822 as Araminta “Minty” Ross. The enslavement of her parents, Harriet (“Rit”) Green and Ben Ross, was unavoidable. Several jobs were allocated to Harriet by the Brodess family, who “owned” Harriet’s mother. These jobs included caring for children, checking muskrat traps, agricultural and forest work, driving oxen, plowing, and moving logs. During her childhood, most likely in the 1830s, she sustained a serious brain injury that required surgery. Seizures, migraines, and visions plagued him for the rest of his life. Following her marriage to John Tubman, a free Black man, in 1844, she changed her name from Araminta to Harriet, becoming known as Harriet Tubman. The woman managed to flee slavery and make her way to Philadelphia in 1849, much of the journey taking place at night.
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
It was March 2017 that the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Church Creek, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, opened its doors to the general public. Several locations surrounding the visitor center were used by Harriet Tubman during her time as a slave in Dorchester County. She lived, worked, and prayed in these locations. She fled slavery from this place, and over the course of a decade she returned around 13 times, each time risking her life in order to rescue more than 70 of her friends and family members.
- Located at 4068 Golden Hill Road in Church Creek, Maryland The most up-to-date information may be found by visiting this link.
- 410-221-2290 or [email protected] are the best places to get additional information about the Tubman Visitor Center.
- In the grounds of a 17-acre state park, there are small walking pathways that lead to the visitor center.
- Both the Maryland Park Service and the National Park Service collaborated on the development of the visitor center.
- Many of the exhibitions highlight particular locations along the Tubman Byway so you may get a better sense of the tales being shared.
They were instrumental in ensuring that Tubman’s legacy would go on for future generations. 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 activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who was Harriet Tubman?
In the United States, Harriet Tubman, née Araminta Ross, (born c. 1820 in Dorchester County, Maryland, U.S.—died March 10, 1913 in Auburn, New York) was an abolitionist who managed to escape from slavery in the South and rise to prominence before the American Civil War. As part of the Underground Railroad, which was an extensive covert network of safe homes built specifically for this reason, she was responsible for guiding scores of enslaved persons to freedom in the North. Araminta Ross was born into slavery and eventually assumed her mother’s maiden name, Harriet, as her own.
- When she was approximately 12 years old, she reportedly refused to assist an overseer in punishing another enslaved person; as a result, he hurled an iron weight that accidently struck her, causing her to suffer a terrible brain injury, which she would endure for the rest of her life.
- Tubman went to Philadelphia in 1849, allegedly on the basis of rumors that she was due to be sold.
- In December 1850, she made her way to Baltimore, Maryland, where she was reunited with her sister and two children who had joined her in exile.
- A long-held belief that Tubman made around 19 excursions into Maryland and assisted upwards of 300 individuals out of servitude was based on inflated estimates in Sara Bradford’s 1868 biography of Tubman.
- If anyone opted to turn back, putting the operation in jeopardy, she reportedly threatened them with a revolver and stated, “You’ll either be free or die,” according to reports.
- One such example was evading capture on Saturday evenings since the story would not emerge in the newspapers until the following Monday.
- It has been stated that she never lost sight of a runaway she was escorting to safety.
Abolitionists, on the other hand, praised her for her bravery.
Her parents (whom she had brought from Maryland in June 1857) and herself moved to a tiny farm outside Auburn, New York, about 1858, and remained there for the rest of her life.
Tubman spied on Confederate territory while serving with the Second Carolina Volunteers, who were under the leadership of Col.
Montgomery’s forces were able to launch well-coordinated attacks once she returned with intelligence regarding the locations of munitions stockpiles and other strategic assets.
Immediately following the Civil War, Tubman relocated to Auburn, where she began caring for orphans and the elderly, a practice that culminated in the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Home for IndigentAged Negroes in 1892.
Aside from suffrage, Tubman became interested in a variety of other issues, including the abolition of slavery.
A private measure providing for a $20 monthly stipend was enacted by Congress some 30 years after her contribution was recognized. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Jeff Wallenfeldt was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
Harriet Tubman 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?
There were no genuine trains running up and down the length of America in tunnels (at least not in the early nineteenth century), but rather a network of secret passageways 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 paths, which frequently required trudging through the woods, crossing rivers, and climbing mountains to reach their location. Occasionally, though, a route includes conveyance, such as boats or wagons, in addition to the route itself.
- Because it was being kept under wraps, it was referred to as “underground,” and it made use of jargon from the expanding railway industry.
- It was common for those engaged — who varied from runaway slaves to rich white abolitionists and church officials – to congregate in smaller groups.
- Vigilance committees sprung formed in the bigger northern cities, such as New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia, to assist the railroad’s efforts.
- Not only did she deny instructions to assist in restraining the runaway, but she also stood in the way of the white guy, leading him to hurl a large weight out of rage at her.
- Minty suffered from seizures, abrupt sleeping periods comparable to narcolepsy, and strong religious visions as a result of the lack of medical care available to a harmed slave.
- Through her whole life, she exhibited these characteristics: (although she claimed them to be premonitions from God).
- There was no reprieve from the horrendous conditions as the years passed, however all of Minty’s hours of hard work had made her unusually powerful for her little five-foot stature.
Despite the fact that she became Harriet Tubman in approximately 1844 – after marrying a free black man called John Tubman and deciding to use her mother’s maiden name – it was another five years before she made her first steps toward freedom.
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. (Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum/Getty Images.) ) Due to the fact that being a conductor required Tubman to go across slavery zone where she could be seized by armed slave hunters, she knowingly and intentionally put her life in danger on a regular basis. 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.
- 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.
- “Go Down Moses” and “Bound for the Promised Land” are two songs that Harriet Tubman is said to have used on the Underground Railroad, according to Sarah Hopkins Bradford’s biography of the pioneering abolitionist.
- Some historians, on the other hand, are skeptical of the notion that songs included codes, claiming that there is no concrete proof from the historical period and that the myth really dates back to the twentieth century rather than the nineteenth.
- The reality has remained a mystery, which is exacerbated by the fact that comprehensive records of slaves’ lives in America are extremely few.
They gave people hope when there seemed to be none, and they gave them a sense of belonging when everyone sang together.
Harriet Tubman and the American Civil War
On the Underground Railroad, did coded music aid those attempting to elude slavery? 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 way to freedom or served as a warning to other slaves. 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 process.
Nevertheless, other historians are skeptical of the notion that songs included codes, claiming that there is no concrete evidence from the historical period and that the myth actually dates back to the twentieth century rather than the nineteenth.
Although the truth has yet to be revealed, the fact that comprehensive records of slaves’ lives in America are few does not assist the situation.
Whenever they sang together, they brought a sense of togetherness to those who had previously felt alone.
What were Harriet Tubman’s actions during the American Civil War?
Did coded music aid in the emancipation of slaves on the Underground Railroad? There is a classic narrative about the Underground Railroad that states that songs had hidden messages in the lyrics that either assisted slaves in finding their way to freedom or served as a warning to other slaves. 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.
Nevertheless, other historians have questioned the notion that songs carried codes, claiming that there is no concrete evidence from the historical period and that the myth actually dates back to the twentieth century rather than the nineteenth.
The reality has remained a mystery, which is exacerbated by the fact that comprehensive records of slaves’ lives in America are few.
They gave people hope when there seemed to be none, and they gave them a sense of belonging when everyone sang together.
- 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.
|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|
How Harriet Tubman and William Still Helped the Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad, a network of people who assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North, was only as strong as the people who were willing to put their own lives in danger to do so. Among those most closely associated with the Underground Railroad were Harriet Tubman, one of the most well-known “conductors,” and William Still, who is generally referred to as the “Father of the Underground Railroad.”
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and guided others to freedom
Tubman, who was born into slavery in Maryland under the name Araminta Harriet Ross, was able to escape to freedom via the use of the Underground Railroad. Throughout her childhood, she was subjected to constant physical assault and torture as a result of her enslavement. In one of the most serious instances, she was struck in the head with an object weighing two pounds, resulting in her suffering from seizures and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life. John Tubman was a free black man when she married him in 1844, but nothing is known about their connection other than the fact that she adopted his last name.
- Even though she began the voyage with her brothers, she eventually completed the 90-mile journey on her own in 1849.
- As a result, she crossed the border again in 1850, this time to accompany her niece’s family to Pennsylvania.
- Instead, she was in charge of a gang of fugitive bond agents.
- Her parents and siblings were among those she was able to save.
- Tubman, on the other hand, found a way around the law and directed her Underground Railroad to Canada, where slavery was illegal (there is evidence that one of her destinations on an 1851 voyage was at the house of abolitionist Frederick Douglass).
- “”I was a conductor on the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say things that other conductors are unable to express,” she stated with a sense of accomplishment.
“I never had a problem with my train going off the tracks or losing a passenger.” Continue reading Harriet Tubman: A Timeline of Her Life, Underground Railroad Service, and Activism for more information.
William Still helped more than 800 enslaved people escape
Meanwhile, William Still was born in Burlington County, New Jersey, a free state, into a life of liberty and opportunity. The purchase of his freedom by his father, Levi Steel, occurred while his mother, Sidney, was on the run from slavery. In his early years, he came to the aid of a friend who was being pursued by enslaved catchers. He was still a child at the time. The Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery hired him in 1844 to work as a janitor and clerk at their Philadelphia offices.
Around this time, he began assisting fleeing enslaved persons by providing them with temporary lodging in the years leading up to the Civil War.
It is claimed that he escorted 800 enslaved persons to freedom over the course of his 14-year career on the route, all while maintaining meticulous records of their journeys.
More about Harriet Tubman’s life of service after the Underground Railroad can be found at this link.
Tubman made regular stops at Still’s station
Tubman was a frequent visitor at Still’s station, since she made a regular stop in Philadelphia on her way to New York. He is also said to have contributed monetarily to several of Tubman’s journeys. Her visits clearly left an effect on him, as evidenced by the inclusion of a section about her in his book, which followed a letter from Thomas Garrett about her ushering in arriving visitors. As Stillwright put it in his book, “Harriet Tubman had become their “Moses,” but not in the same way that Andrew Johnson had been their “Moses of the brown people.” “She had obediently gone down into Egypt and, through her own heroics, had delivered these six bondmen to safety.
But in terms of courage, shrewdness, and selfless efforts to rescue her fellow-men, she was without peer.
“While great anxieties were entertained for her safety, she appeared to be completely free of personal dread,” he went on to say.
will portray William Still, in the upcoming film Harriet. The film will explore the life and spirit of Tubman, and the role that Still had in guiding so many people on the road to freedom.
Harriet Tubman’s Path to Freedom (Published 2017)
After a three-day journey over the Eastern Shore, which included Tubman’s birthplace and the terrain she crossed with escaped slaves in tow, I arrived in Philadelphia, having traveled from Dorchester County through Delaware. My visit coincided with the resurgence of interest in Tubman in the state: The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, a $21 million project in Church Creek that commemorates Tubman’s journey from slave to Underground Railroad “conductor” and, later in life, Civil War scout, spy, and nurse, will open to the public on March 11.
- As part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, which spans 125 miles and includes 36 historically significant locations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the facility will be located on 17 acres of land on the Eastern Shore.
- Initially, the region served as a gateway through which slave traders transported them from Africa to the colonies, and later as an important network of paths and waterways that served as a part of the Underground Railroad.
- “However, few returned to the land of their enslavers, risking capture and re-enslavement, and even lynching, in order to assist others in their own struggle for freedom,” says Ms.
- Tubman was one of the select few.
In the Mire
Although the precise year of Harriet Tubman’s birth is uncertain, historians generally believe that she was born Araminta Ross in 1822 to Benjamin and Harriet (Rit) Greene Ross. When she married in 1844, she took on her mother’s first name, which she changed to Harriet Tubman. A native of Peters Neck, she was raised on a property owned by Anthony Thompson, a medical doctor and lumber tycoon, before moving to Bucktown with her family when she was a child. My first stop was the Bucktown farm of Edward Brodess, Dr.
It was a 20-minute drive from my hotel.
I came to numerous interesting places along the road, including:
3. Stanley Institute
Although the precise year of Harriet Tubman’s birth is uncertain, historians generally believe that she was born Araminta Ross in 1822 to Benjamin and Harriet (Rit) Greene Ross, and that she married Benjamin Tubman in 1844, taking on her mother’s last name. She was born in the adjacent hamlet of Peters Neck, on a property owned by Anthony Thompson, a medical doctor and lumber tycoon, and subsequently went to Bucktown with her family to live with them. My first stop was the Bucktown property of Edward Brodess, Dr.
It was a 20-minute drive from Cambridge.
The following places caught my attention while traveling:
4. Bucktown Village Store
The Bucktown Village Store, which dates back to Tubman’s time but has been refurbished, is still in operation. This is where Tubman first shown symptoms of disobedience as a teenager, and it was here that she suffered the consequences of her actions.
Tubman had come to Bucktown Village Store one day with the chef of a slave owner, and they had crossed paths with an overseer who was having a disagreement with his slave. According to reports, the slave had fled the property without authorization. When the overseer ordered Tubman to assist him in restraining the guy, she refused, resulting in the slave breaking free. The overseer then took a two-pound weight off the counter, hurled it at the running slave, and instead hit Tubman in the back of the head.
She married John Tubman, a free black man, over a decade later, despite the fact that she remained in slavery to the Brodess family at the time.
They subsequently returned, fearing they would face punishment.
During one of her visits to Bucktown Village Store, Tubman came face to face with an overseer who was having a disagreement with one of his slaves, and they exchanged pleasantries. The slave had reportedly left the farm without authorization, according to the owner of the property. She refused, and the slave escaped when the overseer ordered her to assist him in restraint of his subject. A two-pound weight from the counter was then snatched by the overseer, who hurled it at the running slave but instead hit Tubman.
Even while she continued to be in slavery to the Brodess family, she married John Tubman, a free black man, over a decade after they were first married.
Tubman had come to Bucktown Village Store one day with the chef of a slave owner, and they had happened to cross paths with an overseer who was having a disagreement with his slave. The slave had reportedly left the plantation without authorization, according to reports. She refused, and the slave escaped when the overseer ordered her to assist him in restraint. The overseer then took a two-pound weight off the counter, tossed it toward the running slave, and instead hit Tubman. Tubman’s skull was broken as a result of the impact, and she suffered from terrible migraines and seizures for the rest of her life.
When Tubman’s owner died in 1849, she and two of her brothers, Harry and Ben, fled, afraid they would be sold into slavery. They subsequently returned, believing they would be punished.
Safe Houses of Worship
Fugitive slaves fleeing to Pennsylvania made their way through Maryland’s Eastern Seaboard, passing through Caroline County and into Kent County, Delaware, before arriving in Philadelphia. In Dover, where they would regularly get assistance from free black and Quaker abolitionists, they would frequently make a pit stop. The Star Hill A.M.E. Church, which now serves as a small museum, was built on the site by the black community later on.
On my final day on the Eastern Shore, I was inspired by the Quakers’ dedication to the Underground Railroad to pay a visit to the Friends Meeting House in Wilmington, Del., which houses the burial site of Thomas Garrett, a Quaker abolitionist who was a close friend of Harriet Tubman and one of the most important “stationmasters” on the Underground Railroad during the abolitionist movement. Garrett supported over 2,700 enslaved persons on their path to liberation over the course of four decades, offering them with food, housing, money, and contacts to other abolitionists along the way.
In a letter sent in 1868, Garrett expressed his admiration for Tubman, saying, “For the truth be told, I never met with any individual, of whatever hue, who had greater trust in the voice of God.” Tubman had sent a letter to Ednah Dow Cheney, a philanthropist and suffragist, a decade earlier, in which she detailed her religious beliefs.