Harriet Tubman: Underground Railroad Tubman found work as a housekeeper in Philadelphia, but she wasn’t satisfied living free on her own—she wanted freedom for her loved ones and friends, too. She soon returned to the south to lead her niece and her niece’s children to Philadelphia via the Underground Railroad.
Where did Harriet Tubman start the Underground Railroad?
Born into slavery in Maryland, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 to become the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. Tubman risked her life to lead hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom on this elaborate secret network of safe houses.
Where did Harriet Tubman go when she first 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.
Is Gertie Davis died?
Who was Harriet Tubman? Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom in the North along the route of the Underground Railroad.
Where did the Underground Railroad start?
In the early 1800s, Quaker abolitionist Isaac T. Hopper set up a network in Philadelphia that helped enslaved people on the run. At the same time, Quakers in North Carolina established abolitionist groups that laid the groundwork for routes and shelters for escapees.
Where did Harriet Tubman escape too?
In 1849, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia, only to return to Maryland to rescue her family soon after.
Where did the Underground Railroad end in Canada?
Chatham, Ontario. The Buxton National Historic Site & Museum commemorates the Elgin Settlement: one of the final stops for the Underground Railroad.
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.
When was Harriet Tubman died?
Tubman continued to show her tenacity by living to the age of 93, dying on March 10, 1913 from pneumonia. She spent the last two years of her life living in the very home she created to help others less fortunate.
Was Indiana part of the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad in Indiana was part of a larger, unofficial, and loosely-connected network of groups and individuals who aided and facilitated the escape of runaway slaves from the southern United States. It is not known how many fugitive slaves escaped through Indiana on their journey to Michigan and Canada.
What year did the Underground Railroad take place?
system used by abolitionists between 1800-1865 to help enslaved African Americans escape to free states.
Where were stations in Indiana that were part of the Underground Railroad?
Indiana’s Underground Railroad All three paths eventually led to Michigan, then to Canada. (Canada abolished slavery in 1833.) The routes in Indiana went from Posey to South Bend; from Corydon to Porter; and from Madison to DeKalb County, with many stops in between.
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
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.
The museum’s founders were instrumental in preserving Tubman’s legacy. 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.
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Aboard the Underground Railroad- Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged
|Images of the Harriet Tubman Home for theAged, Harriet TubmanNationalHistoric Landmarks photographs|
Harriet Tubman Biography
She was known as the “Moses of her people” because she was enslaved and then fled to become a “conductor” of the Underground Railroad, where she assisted others in gaining their freedom. Aside from being a scout, spy, and guerilla fighter for the Union Army during the Civil War, Tubman also worked as a medic for the army. She is widely regarded as the first African-American woman to serve in the United States armed forces. Tubman’s precise birthdate is uncertain, however it is believed to have occurred between 1820 and 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland, according to some estimations.
- She had eight siblings, all of whom survived.
- Early indications of her opposition to slavery and its abuses appeared when she was twelve years old and intervened to prevent her owner from striking an enslaved man who attempted to flee.
- However, despite the fact that slaves were not permitted to marry, Tubman entered into a marriage partnership with John Tubman, a free black man, in 1844.
- Tubman did not construct the Underground Railroad, contrary to popular belief; rather, it was built in the late eighteenth century by both black and white abolitionists.
- The man she married refused to accompany her, and by 1851, he had married a free black lady from the South.
- As a result of her achievement, slaveowners have offered a $40,000 reward for her arrest or murder.
- She also took part in various anti-slavery campaigns, including assisting John Brown in his failed attack on the Harpers Ferry arsenal in Virginia in 1859, which she helped organize.
As a spy and scout for the Union army, Tubman frequently disguised herself as an elderly woman.
Tubman assisted a large number of these people in obtaining food, housing, and even employment in the North.
During her time as a nurse, Tubman administered herbal cures to black and white troops who were dying of sickness or illness.
Anthony, looked after her aging parents, and collaborated with white writer Sarah Bradford on her autobiography, which she hoped would be a source of income.
She lived in Auburn, New York, and cared for the elderly in her house.
In 1895, as Davis’s widow (he died in 1888), she was ultimately given a $8 per month military pension, followed by a $20 pension in 1899 for her service in the army.
In 1896, she donated land near her home to the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, which is still in operation today. Tuberculosis was discovered in 1913 and Tubman was interred at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York, with full military honors.
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 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: Conductor on the Underground Railroad
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.
- Harriet Tubman: A Resource Guide
- Harriet Tubman: A Resource Guide
- Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide
- Slavery in America: A Resource Guide Newspaper advertisements for fugitive slaves, as well as a blog called Headlines and Heroes Topics in Chronicling America: Fugitive Slave Advertisements
A Guide to Resources on Harriet Tubman Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide; Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide Newspaper advertisements for fugitive slaves, as well as a blog called Headlines and Heroes; Topics in Chronicling America: Fugitive Slave Advertisements
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 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.