Known as the “Moses of her people,” Harriet Tubman was enslaved, escaped, and helped others gain their freedom as a “conductor” of the Underground Railroad.
Who led the underground railroads?
Harriet Tubman was the most famous conductor for the Underground Railroad.
Did Harriet Tubman exist?
Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, New York, U.S. Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c. March 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an American abolitionist and political activist.
How did Southerners respond to the Underground Railroad?
Reaction in the South to the growing number of slaves who escaped ranged from anger to political retribution. Large rewards were offered for runaways, and many people eager to make money or avoid offending powerful slave owners turned in runaway slaves. The U.S. Government also got involved.
How did Harriet Tubman find out about the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad and Siblings Tubman first encountered the Underground Railroad when she used it to escape slavery herself in 1849. Following a bout of illness and the death of her owner, Tubman decided to escape slavery in Maryland for Philadelphia.
Is Gertie Davis died?
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.
How old would Harriet Tubman be today?
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.
Does the Underground Railroad still exist?
It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman. Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.
Where did the Underground Railroad lead to?
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.
What caused the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was established to aid enslaved people in their escape to freedom. The railroad was comprised of dozens of secret routes and safe houses originating in the slaveholding states and extending all the way to the Canadian border, the only area where fugitives could be assured of their freedom.
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.
Why did Harriet Tubman leave her husband?
Harriet Leaves Her Husband To Gain Her Freedom Harriet Tubman had suffered from narcolepsy and severe headaches since she was 13, when a white overseer threw a two-pound weight at her skull.
Who was Harriet Beecher Stowe and what was her contribution in history?
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) published more than 30 books, but it was her best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin that catapulted her to international celebrity and secured her place in history. She believed her actions could make a positive difference. Her words changed the world.
StoryMap: Women and the Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)
Harriet Tubman is a historical figure. Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Maryland has a statue dedicated to her. Photo by Jon Eizyk, licensed under CC0.
What are StoryMaps?
StoryMaps are digital exploration tools that let you discover new things. They communicate a tale by focusing on specific locations. A StoryMap allows you to virtually travel from one end of the country to another (digitally, of course), all while viewing images and reading tales along the way. StoryMaps are a fantastic way to travel without ever having to leave your home!
Women and the Underground Railroad
On this StoryMap, you’ll see the locations of women who were involved in the Underground Railroad movement. While this map does not purport to represent a thorough investigation of all places linked with the Underground Railroad, it does demonstrate that networks of people seeking freedom stretched throughout the entire country. Using the StoryMap, you may learn about some of the stories of the Underground Railroad. Visitors to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland, as well as the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in New York, who are interested in learning more about the Underground Railroad should go to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland, or the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in New York.
As an escaped enslaved woman, Harriet Tubman worked as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, guiding enslaved individuals to freedom before the Civil War, all while a bounty was placed on her head. But she was also a nurse, a spy for the Union, and a proponent of women’s rights. Tubman is one of the most well-known figures in American history, and her legacy has inspired countless individuals of all races and ethnicities around the world.
When Was Harriet Tubman Born?
Harriet Tubman was born in 1820 on a plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland, and became well-known as a pioneer. Her parents, Harriet (“Rit”) Green and Benjamin Ross, gave her the name Araminta Ross and referred to her as “Minty” as a nickname. Rit worked as a chef in the plantation’s “large house,” while Benjamin was a wood worker on the plantation’s “little house.” As a tribute to her mother, Araminta changed her given name to Harriet later in life. However, the reality of slavery pulled many of Harriet’s siblings and sisters apart, despite Rit’s attempts to keep the family united.
Harriet was hired as a muskrat trap setter by a planter when she was seven years old, and she was later hired as a field laborer by the same planter. In a later interview, she stated that she preferred outside plantation labor over interior home tasks.
A Good Deed Gone Bad
Harriet’s yearning for justice first manifested itself when she was 12 years old and witnessed an overseer prepare to hurl a heavy weight at a runaway. Harriet took a step between the enslaved person and the overseer, and the weight of the person smacked her in the head. Afterwards, she described the occurrence as follows: “The weight cracked my head. They had to carry me to the home because I was bleeding and fainting. Because I was without a bed or any place to lie down at all, they threw me on the loom’s seat, where I stayed for the rest of the day and the following day.” As a result of her good act, Harriet has suffered from migraines and narcolepsy for the remainder of her life, forcing her to go into a deep slumber at any time of day.
She was undesirable to potential slave purchasers and renters because of her physical disability.
Escape from Slavery
Harriet’s father was freed in 1840, and Harriet later discovered that Rit’s owner’s final will and testament had freed Rit and her children, including Harriet, from slavery. Despite this, Rit’s new owner refused to accept the will and instead held Rit, Harriett, and the rest of her children in bondage for the remainder of their lives. Harriet married John Tubman, a free Black man, in 1844, and changed her last name from Ross to Tubman in honor of her new husband. Harriet’s marriage was in shambles, and the idea that two of her brothers—Ben and Henry—were going to be sold prompted her to devise a plan to flee.
Harriet Tubman: Underground Railroad
On September 17, 1849, Harriet, Ben, and Henry managed to flee their Maryland farm and reach the United States. The brothers, on the other hand, changed their minds and returned. Harriet persisted, and with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, she was able to journey 90 miles north to Pennsylvania and freedom. Tubman got employment as a housekeeper in Philadelphia, but she wasn’t content with simply being free on her own; she desired freedom for her family and friends, as well as for herself.
She attempted to relocate her husband John to the north at one time, but he had remarried and preferred to remain in Maryland with his new wife.
Fugitive Slave Act
The Runaway Slave Act of 1850 authorized the apprehension and enslavement of fugitive and released laborers in the northern United States. Consequently, Harriet’s task as an Underground Railroad guide became much more difficult, and she was obliged to take enslaved people even farther north into Canada by leading them through the night, generally during the spring or fall when the days were shorter. She carried a revolver for her personal security as well as to “encourage” any of her charges who might be having second thoughts about following her orders.
Within 10 years, Harriet became acquainted with other abolitionists like as Frederick Douglass, Thomas Garrett, and Martha Coffin Wright, and she built her own Underground Railroad network of her own.
Despite this, it is thought that Harriet personally guided at least 70 enslaved persons to freedom, including her elderly parents, and that she educated scores of others on how to escape on their own in the years following the Civil War.
“I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger,” she insisted. More information may be found at The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.
Harriet Tubman’s Civil War Service
In 1861, as the American Civil War broke out, Harriet discovered new methods of combating slavery. She was lured to Fort Monroe to provide assistance to runaway enslaved persons, where she served as a nurse, chef, and laundress. In order to assist sick troops and runaway enslaved people, Harriet employed her expertise of herbal medicines. She rose to the position of director of an intelligence and reconnaissance network for the Union Army in 1863. In addition to providing Union commanders with critical data regarding Confederate Army supply routes and personnel, she assisted in the liberation of enslaved persons who went on to join Black Union battalions.
Harriet Tubman’s Later Years
Following the Civil War, Harriet moved to Auburn, New York, where she lived with her family and friends on land she owned. After her husband John died in 1867, she married Nelson Davis, a former enslaved man and Civil War soldier, in 1869. A few years later, they adopted a tiny girl named Gertie, who became their daughter. Harriet maintained an open-door policy for anyone who was in need of assistance. In order to sustain her philanthropic endeavors, she sold her homegrown fruit, raised pigs, accepted gifts, and borrowed money from family and friends.
- She also collaborated with famed suffrage activist Susan B.
- Harriet Tubman acquired land close to her home in 1896 and built the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Colored People, which opened in 1897.
- However, her health continued to deteriorate, and she was finally compelled to relocate to the rest home that bears her name in 1911.
- Schools and museums carry her name, and her life story has been told in novels, films, and documentaries, among other mediums.
Harriet Tubman: 20 Dollar Bill
The SS Harriet Tubman, which was named for Tubman during World War I, is a memorial to her legacy. In 2016, the United States Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman’s portrait will be used on the twenty-dollar note, replacing the image of former President and slaveowner Andrew Jackson. Later, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (who previously worked under President Trump) indicated that the new plan will be postponed until at least 2026 at the earliest. President Biden’s administration stated in January 2021 that it will expedite the design phase of the project.
Early years of one’s life. The Harriet Tubman Historical Society was founded in 1908. General Tubman was a female abolitionist who also served as a secret military weapon during the Civil War. Military Times is a publication that publishes news on the military. Harriet Tubman is a historical figure. Biography. Biography. Harriet Tubman is a historical figure. Thompson AME Zion Church, Thompson Home for the Aged, and Thompson Residence are all located in Thompson. The National Park Service is a federal agency.
- Myths against facts.
- Kate Clifford Larson, Ph.D.
- Harriet Tubman is a historical figure.
- National Women’s History Museum exhibit about Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman, “The Moses of Her People,” is a fictional character created by author Harriet Tubman. The Harriet Tubman Historical Society was founded in 1908. Harriet Tubman is a historical figure. The Underground Railroad (Urban Railroad). The National Park Service is a federal agency.
The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a network of tunnels and passageways that transport people and goods from one place to another. Charles T. Webber’s painting, around 1893. The Library of Congress provided permission to use this image. The highly anticipated filmHarrietwill be released in theaters across the world in November by Focus Features. In its promotional materials for the film, the production firm refers to Harriet Tubman as “one of America’s greatest heroines.” Further, according to the website, her “courage, creativity, and perseverance emancipated hundreds of slaves and altered the course of human history.” In an interview on the film’s present relevance, Kasi Lemmons, the film’s cowriter and director, reminded the audience how “vital it is to remember what solitary people were able to do during dangerous times.” Without a question, Harriet Tubman deserves recognition, and a movie about her has been long delayed.
- Harriet, on the other hand, was not working alone.
- In addition to Harriet Tubman, many other African American women—young and elderly; free and enslaved; alone, pregnant, and with family; living in the South, the North, and the Midwest—risked their lives in order to achieve independence.
- What was the identity of these women?
- According to the historical documents that have survived, a number of circumstances affected the decision of African American women to leave slavery.
- In the vast majority of Underground Railroad testimonials, African American women are described as leaving with their children, husbands, and other family members.
15 self-liberated persons emerged at the Union Literary Institute (ULI), an integrated institution created for the instruction of black pupils in the Greenville settlement of East Central Indiana, the region I investigate, in the 1840s or 1850s, and they were all from the United States of America.
- All of the members of one family were enslaved by a single man and constituted his whole human property.
- This specific woman appears to have finally gone to Canada, but Canada was not the only promised place for African-American women seeking freedom in the United States during this period.
- Yet some people picked sites that were isolated or protected but that were handy for them, such as Native American settlements, the Great Dismal Swamp, or faraway Mexico, for example.
- They seldom make mention of the contributions of women or people of color.
- Siebert relied mostly on the recollections of white males throughout their research.
- “There were a few diligent administrators, but only a few,” Coffin sarcastically observed of African-American participation in the Underground Railroad.
- These self-liberated women needed to be keen and intelligent in their decision-making because they were fully aware that certain individuals, both white and black, men and women, operated as slave capturers, and they needed to make that decision quickly.
The experience of Nathan Coggeshall, a Quaker in Grant County, Indiana, who stated that “as a young, unmarried man, he had sometimes shared a bed with a fugitive slave his family was harboring,” suggests that this may be a dangerous situation.
As a result, when women did seek aid, their first port of call was to confer with free African Americans who happened to be passing by.
They provided refuge, produced food, attended to the ill, stitched and provided clothing, and generated funds for the cause all inside these informal settings.
Runaway apparel was made by rural women who met frequently in sewing circles to create clothing for other women who had fled away.
Additionally, African American women dressed in men’s attire or attempting to pass for white ladies were typical sights.
Mary Ann Shadd recruited assistance for runaways through her newspaper, theProvincial Freeman, which was the first newspaper produced by an African American woman, and through lectures around Canada, which she delivered in her own home.
Members of the New York Ladies Literary Society raised funds by holding a fundraiser at the black church.
African American washerwomen and domestic service workers from all throughout the Northeast contributed to the cause, with some giving as little as a single penny in certain cases.
African American women’s conceptions of freedom were shaped by their experiences in space, movement, and location.
Farms, swamps, canals, mountains, caverns, hills, valleys, rivers, cornfields, and barns were among the geographical features found in this region.
In the footsteps of Harriet Tubman, several African American women journeyed into places of unfreedom, putting their lives at risk in the process of bringing enslaved people to freedom.
Annis was taken by surprise when she met face-to-face with an enslaver.
In addition, an old African American woman in present-day West Virginia accompanied enslaved persons in their journey over the Ohio River to freedom.
When it became necessary, African American women turned to violence and armed resistance as a strategy in their pursuit for freedom and equality.
Susan and Margaret Wilkerson, two little sisters from Jefferson County, Tennessee, made their way out of the county with money that their grandmother, Milly Wilkerson, had allegedly helped them acquire.
Wilkerson’s home in Randolph County, Indiana, Mrs.
With the knowledge that the odds of a successful escape increased dramatically when communities grouped together for self-defense, friends and neighbors rushed to the Wilersons’ help as soon as they heard of their situation.
Wilkerson’s efforts to keep her granddaughters from being recaptured, the girls’ enslaver filed a lawsuit against her and others in 1839, accusing them of “unlawfully, intentionally, violently, and wilfully hiding and harboring a runaway.” The charges were later withdrawn by the county court.
Wilkerson’s position as a free black woman, on the other hand, remained tenuous, and her granddaughters’ freedom was no exception.
According to historian Amrita Chakrabarti Myers, “freedom was not a fixed concept; rather, it was an experience.” When individuals were forced to make the difficult decision to abandon loved ones who were trapped in captivity, the lived experiences of emancipation did not come with a Hollywood-style happily-ever-after conclusion.
The genuine thing has been witnessed, and I don’t want to see it again on stage or in a theater.” During the antebellum period, African American women, who were undoubtedly the most vulnerable group in the country, utilized all means at their disposal to escape slavery, liberate family members, aid in the self-liberation of others, and maintain whatever measure of freedom they had attained.
- Black women’s voices and activities, on the other hand, have been almost totally removed from Underground Railroad academia, media stories, archives, and historical sites.
- The cumulative efforts of ordinary, yet tenacious African American women have received less attention as a result of our adoration for Harriet Tubman and other historical figures.
- In addition to working as an editorial assistant at the Journal of American History, Jazma Sutton is a Ph.D.
- Her dissertation investigates the beginnings and growth of rural free black communities in Indiana, as well as the gendered experiences of freedom and the roles played by free and self-liberated black women in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.
- Ebenezer Tucker’s History of Randolph County, Indiana with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers: to Which Are Appended Maps of its Several Townships, published in Chicago in 1882, is a good source for information about the county.
describe Midwestern Quakers as “a great and good people.” The Underground Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom(New York, 1898), 91; James Oliver Horton, “Freedom’s Yoke: Gender Conventions Among Antebellum Free Blacks,” in Patrick Rafferty, ed., The Underground Railroad: From Slavery to Freedom(New York, 2005), 386; Fergus M.
Griffler,Front Line of Freedom: African Americans and the Forging of the Underground Railroad in the Ohio Valley(Lexington, 2004), 95; Cheryl Janifer LaRoche,Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance(Urbana, 2014), 2.
Women of the Underground Railroad featured in Kentucky exhibit
Delia Ann Webster aided the family’s escape from slavery in Lexington by crossing the Ohio River at Maysville with a little slave child hiding beneath the seat of her carriage and his slave parents, who were covered in flour, riding above her. Webster is one of a large number of women, both black and white, who performed crucial but often overlooked roles in the Underground Railroad, safeguarding Southern slaves and guiding many of them to the promise of freedom in the North. W.T. Young Library’s Warriors in the Shadows: Women of the Underground Railroad exhibit, which runs through March, depicts some of their tales, including Webster’s.
- In Wilkinson’s words, “This is really significant to me because I respected those women for their great battling spirit.” “This is a topic that isn’t discussed often in the media.
- Her leadership of hundreds of slaves north continued despite a horrific head wound she received at the hands of an overseer that resulted in seizures, severe headaches, and narcoleptic episodes.
- Women like Webster, who was arrested in Lexington following the 1844 journey to Maysville and subsequently convicted and sentenced to two years in jail, are less well-known.
- In 1852, she purchased a farm in Trimble County, Indiana, which was located across the Ohio River from Madison, Indiana.
- Her life was threatened by mobs on more than one time, and she was arrested and imprisoned once more.
- A judge in Indiana, where she had taken refuge, declined to extradite her back to Kentucky to face justice for her crimes.
- The show also includes a portrait of Lucretia Coffin Mott, a Quaker minister who was so opposed to slavery that she boycotted all things made with slave labor in the 1830s, according to the museum.
The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society was created by her in 1833, and she led a team of female anti-slavery activists to the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, England, where women were not permitted to participate due to their gender discrimination.
And then there’s Ellen Craft, the enslaved daughter of a biracial slave and their white owner, who is a significant character in the story.
Craft was presented to the mistress’ daughter as a wedding gift when she was 11 years old.
It was in 1848 that they came up with a plan of escape that needed Ellen to disguise as a white guy with an injured arm that prevented him from writing and bandages around his mouth that prevented him from speaking.
It was successful.
Both were quickly highlighted in public lectures given by abolitionists who were attempting to raise public awareness of the abolitionist cause.
With three of their children, they emigrated to the United States in 1868 and established an agricultural school in Georgia for freed slaves.
Morlan Gallery at Transylvania University, as well as Georgetown College, have both hosted exhibitions of the work.
People active in the Underground Railroad were referred to as “warriors” by Wilkinson because they had discovered a new method to fight, and she added the word “shadows” since much of their activity was carried out in secret.
The original version of this story was published on February 28, 2013 at 12:50 p.m.
|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|
From the Siebert Collection: Women of the Underground Railroad
Via the Siebert Collection, “Levi Coffin and his wife “Aunt Katy”” is a painting by Charles Webber. When it comes to women involved in the Underground Railroad, theSiebert Collection (which will be open for free to the public through the endof February in honor of Black History Month) stands out for its representation of these women, who have all too often been relegated to the sidelines of history for the important work they did in the anti-slavery movement. Photograph of Ellen Craft dressed in the disguise she wore to flee slavery, courtesy of the Siebert Collection.
- Some of these names are well-known, while others are less so.
- Ellen Craft, seen at left, is a slave who, with her husband, William, staged a daring and successful escape from slavery.
- Craft was born in Georgia in 1826, and she was fathered by her mother’s white owner, who was also her paternal grandfather.
- It was their 1848 escape that created headlines among those who were opposed to slavery, and the pair went far to tell their tale to the general public.
- Laura Haviland engraving from the Siebert Collection, courtesy of the artist.
- Haviland, who worked throughout Ohio and nearby states to secure the liberation of runaway slaves fleeing to freedom.
- Haviland, following in the footsteps of some of the other women we’ve met.
She was an outspoken opponent of slavery, and she wrote the following in a letter to Siebert in 1893: The cracked Liberty bell, I said to the onlookers, “It was little wonder it refused to proclaim that God defyinglie any longer, while millions of men women and children were bought and sold like pigs and sheep as personal property!
The number of heroic women represented in the Siebert Collection is much too many to list here; instead, we welcome you to visit the collection and see for yourself. Some of the most interesting materials are as follows:
- Lucy Gilmore Cowles’ biography, written while she worked as a station agent outside of Zanesville, Ohio
- An encouragement letter from Elizabeth B. Chace, encouraging Siebert to track down an elderly woman named Harriet Tubman, who “used to be known as Moses because she led so many people out of slavery”
- The biography of Betsy Mix Cowles, another notable Ohio abolitionist
- And a letter from Elizabeth B. Chace, encouraging Siebert to track down an elderly woman named Harriet
If you are interested in learning more about these vital actors in the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery campaigns, we hope you will visit the Siebert Collection. Thank you to Lily Birkhimer, Digital Projects Coordinator at the Ohio History Connection, for her contribution to this week’s blog article!
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and rose to prominence as an abolitionist leader. She was responsible for the liberation of hundreds of enslaved persons along the course of the Underground Railroad.
Who Was Harriet Tubman?
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland and fled to freedom in the northern United States in 1849, where she rose to become the most renowned “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. Tubman put her life at danger in order to guide hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom through an extensive hidden network of safe homes that she constructed. In addition to being a renowned abolitionist before the American Civil War, Tubman served as a spy for the Union Army throughout the war, among other things.
In recognition of her life and in response to public demand, the United States Treasury Department announced in 2016 Harriet Tubman will take the place of Andrew Jackson in the center of a new $20 note.
Early Life and Family
Tubman’s exact date of birth is uncertain, however it was most likely between 1820 and 1825, according to historical records. Dorchester County, Maryland, was the home of nine children born between 1808 and 1832 to enslaved parents in Dorchester County. Mary Pattison Brodess was the owner of Harriet “Rit” Green, who was her mother. Anthony Thompson was the owner of Ben Ross’s father, Ben Ross (Thompson and Brodess eventually married). Tubman’s given name was Araminta Harriet Ross, but she was given the nickname “Minty” by her parents.
- Tubman’s early years were filled with adversity.
- A merchant from Georgia approached Rit about purchasing her youngest son, Moses.
- Physical abuse was a feature of Tubman’s and her family’s everyday lives for a long time.
- Tubman subsequently recalled a particular day when she was slapped five times in the face before her food was served.
- When Tubman was a teenager, he had the most serious injuries possible.
- Tubman was ordered to assist in restraining the fugitive by the man’s overseer.
- For the remainder of her life, Tubman was plagued by seizures, terrible migraines, and narcolepsy episodes, among other symptoms.
- After a former owner’s will dictated that he be emancipated from slavery at the age of 45, Tubman’s father, Ben, became free at the age of 45.
Despite the fact that Rit and her children were subject to comparable manumission requirements, the folks who controlled the family opted not to release them. Ben had little ability to oppose their decision, despite the fact that he was free.
Husbands and Children
Harriet Tubman married John Tubman, who was a free Black man at the time of their marriage. At the time, almost half of the African American population living on the eastern shore of Maryland were free, and it was not uncommon for a family to have both free and enslaved members of the same race. There is very little information available regarding John and his marriage to Harriet, including whether or not they lived together and how long they were married. Due to the fact that the mother’s position influenced the status of her offspring, any children they may have had would have been deemed enslaved.
Tubman married Nelson Davis, a Civil War soldier, in 1869, and they had two children.
The Underground Railroad and Siblings
Tubman traveled from the South to the North via the Underground Railroad network between 1850 and 1860, making a total of 19 trips between the two locations. She led more than 300 individuals, including her parents and numerous siblings, from slavery to freedom, receiving the moniker “Moses” as a result of her accomplishments and leadership. Tubman initially came into contact with the Underground Railroad in 1849, when she attempted to flee slavery on her own behalf. Following a bout of sickness and the death of her master, Tubman made the decision to flee slavery in Maryland for freedom in Pennsylvania.
The date was September 17, 1849, and she was attended by her brothers, Ben and Harry.
Tubman had no intention of staying in bondage any longer.
Tubman went over 90 miles to Philadelphia, using the Underground Railroad as a mode of transportation.
I felt like I was in Heaven; the sun shone like gold through the trees and across the fields, and the air was filled with the scent of fresh cut grass and flowers.” In order to avoid remaining in the safety of the North, Tubman made it her duty to use the Underground Railroad to free her family and other people who were trapped in slavery.
- A free Black man by the name of John Bowley placed the winning offer for Kessiah at an auction in Baltimore, and his wife was purchased.
- Tubman’s voyage was the first of several that he would take.
- In accordance with this rule, runaway slaves may be apprehended in the North and returned to slavery, which resulted in the kidnapping of former slaves and free Black people residing in Free States.
- Because of the prohibition, Tubman redirected the Underground Railroad to Canada, which at the time abolished slavery in all its forms, including enslavement in the United States.
- Abolitionist and former slaveFrederick Douglass’ house appears to have been the destination of the celebration, according to available information.
- Tubman and Brown became fast friends.
- In the days before they met, Tubman claimed to have had a prophetic vision of Brown.
- Tubman hailed Brown as a martyr after his later death by firing squad.
- Working as a cook and healer for the Union Army, Tubman soon rose through the ranks to become an armed scout and spy.
- MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Learn about Harriet Tubman and William Still’s contributions to the Underground Railroad.
Photograph courtesy of Benjamin F. Powelson The National Museum of African American History and Culture shared a collection with the Library of Congress in 2017,30.4
Senator William H. Seward, an abolitionist, sold Tubman a tiny plot of property on the outskirts of Auburn, New York, in the early months of 1859. The farm in Auburn became a shelter for Tubman’s family and friends after he passed away. Tubman spent the years following the war on this land, caring for her family as well as the other people who had taken up residence on the property with them. However, despite Tubman’s notoriety and renown, she was never financially stable. Tubman’s friends and supporters were successful in raising a little amount of money to assist her.
Bradford, authored a biography of Harriet Tubman titledScenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, with all of the earnings going to Tubman’s family.
A section of her land in Auburn was granted to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1903, and the church continues to exist today.
More about Harriet Tubman’s life of service after the Underground Railroad can be found at this link.
How Did Harriet Tubman Die?
Tubman died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913, surrounded by friends and family, at the age of 93, according to historical accounts. As Tubman grew older, the brain injuries she received early in her life became more painful and disruptive to her daily life and activities. To ease the sensations and “buzzing” she was experiencing on a regular basis, she had brain surgery at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital in 2013. Later, Tubman was granted admission to the rest home that had been dedicated in her honor.
DOWNLOAD THE HARRIET TUBMAN FACT CARD FROM BIOGRAPHY.
While she was alive, Tubman was widely recognized and admired, and she went on to become an American legend in the years after her death. According to a study conducted at the end of the twentieth century, she was one of the most renowned citizens in American history prior to the Civil War, ranking third only after Betsy Ross and Paul Revere in terms of fame. generations of Americans who have fought for civil rights have been inspired by her example. Upon Tubman’s death, the city of Auburn dedicated a plaque to her memory on the grounds of the courthouse.
A slew of schools have been named in her honor, and the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn and the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cambridge both serve as memorials to her life and achievements.
Tubman on the New $20 Bill
In April 2016, the United States Treasury Department announced that Tubman will take Jackson’s position as the face of a new $20 currency in the United States. Following the Women on 20s campaign, which called for a prominent American woman to be featured on U.S. money, the Treasury Department received a deluge of public comments, prompting the department to make the announcement. The decision was applauded since Tubman had dedicated her life to racial equality and the advancement of women’s rights.
Lew that a woman will likely appear on the $10 note, which includes a photo of Alexander Hamilton, an influential founding figure who has gained newfound prominence as a result of the famous Broadway musicalHamilton, was met with criticism in June 2015.
Originally scheduled to be unveiled in 2020, the new $20 note depicting Tubman would commemorate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.
In June, the Inspector General of the Treasury Department stated that he will investigate the reasons for the launch’s postponement. As recently as January 2021, the Biden administration stated that it was “looking into methods to expedite” the issuance of the Tubman $20 bill.
The next film in 2019 In Harriet, which starred Cynthia Erivo as Tubman, the story of Tubman’s life was told, beginning with her first marriage and ending with her duty in liberating the enslaved. Erivo was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in the film.
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.
- I recommend you listen to 8 audio episodes about slavery and the slave trade right now:
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.