Biography Of Harriet Tubman

Biography Of Harriet Tubman


Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was an exiled slave who later became a major leader in the abolitionist movement. Harriet Tubman also served as an agent of her country’s US Army during the Civil War and was a prominent activist in the fight for women’s rights.

Tubman was born Araminta Ros in the US to slave parents who owned estates in Maryland. Is not known much about her family’s background and her ancestry. However, her maternal grandmother emigrated to the US aboard a slave vessel coming from Africa (possibly from modern-day Ghana).

The parents of Harriet, Rit as well as Ben Ross had nine children with them, but the three sisters of Harriet were sold in the early years by their owners. She never saw them again.

As a child, Harriet was accountable for taking care of her younger siblings as her mother was being a cook. Harriet was also employed as a nursing assistant to “Miss Susan”. She was often punished by her superiors, resulting in scars that will last for the rest of her life. In some instances, she was also assigned to work as the planter, inspecting muskrat traps, and later for farming, like moving logs and plowing.

One time, Tubman was hit in the head by a stone that was thrown by a slave owner. The owner of the slave was trying to aim at another slave and the stone struck Tubman on the rear of her head which fractured her skull and resulted in life-long headaches, epileptic seizures, and visions or dreams. Tubman later blamed her hair’s unkempt and bushy appearance for lessening the effect of the stone and even saving her life.

Around 1844, Harriet married John Tubman. At this point, she took the maiden name of her mom, Harriet, in place of the name she was born with, Araminta.


Biography Of Harriet Tubman


Biography Of Harriet Tubman


In 1849 Tubman’s slave owner Edward Brodress, died. The death of Edward Brodress raised the possibility that Tubman would be sold and the family was split. With her two brothers Ben and Henry shdecidedon to leave the huge estate situated in Caroline County where they lived and were employed. It was a success but after a couple of weeks, her brothers expressed doubts about the plan due to their desire to return to their children. Tubman had to come back together with her brothers.

Harriet Tubman to the left, in the home she shares in Auburn, NY. Source: Bettman/Corbis. New York Times photo archive.

But, shortly after, Tubman escaped for the second time. With the assistance of Tubman’s Underground Railroad, she took an 89-mile journey northeast through the Choptank River toward Pennsylvania. The trek on foot could take a couple of weeks, but great attention to be taken to stay away from slave catchers who might earn a reward to capture any slaves who escaped. Once she reached Pennsylvania the woman expressed her immense satisfaction.

“When I realized I’d crossed that line I checked my hands to determine whether I was the exact person. There was a great gleam over everything. The sun shone like gold over the trees and across the fields. I felt as if I was in Heaven.”

Then, in Philadelphia, Tubman took on odd jobs to earn cash, but she was determined for her to come back home to Maryland to help her family. Her own words:

“I had crossed over the line that I’d been dreaming. I was liberated, however, there was nobody to greet me in the world of freedom. I was an alien in a foreign place and my place of residence was in de old cabin surrounded by old people, as well as my sisters and brothers. However, to the solemnity of my resolution, I went; I was free and should also be free I’d make an abode for them in the North and with the Lord supporting me, I’d take them all.”

The task of rescuing slaves was complicated due to The Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, which severely penalized anyone who helped slaves escape, even in states that banned slavery.

Biography Of Harriet Tubman


The most important places in Tubman’s life

But, with the help of other abolitionists for instance Thomas Garrett, she made numerous journeys to Maryland to save various people in her household. Through her efforts her actions, she gained the name “Moses” which refers to the Biblical character who was able to escape slavery.

But her husband decided not to leave for Tubman as while he was away, he had been married to a different woman, known as Caroline. The next decade was filled with adventures. Tubman assisted in the rescue of more than 70 slaves, on around 13 missions (and gave guidance to many more). Tubman often traveled during the winter dark which made it possible to go about her business in the dark at the night. Due to the dangers of the road, she carried an assault weapon along. She was also prepared to use it to fend off any slave who wanted to return, as she was aware that returning could endanger the entire group of escapees. She was proud to never lose a slave who was escaping during her travels.

“I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years and I’m able of saying that conductorcan’tto affirm – I’ve never run my train off the track, and I never lost any passengers.”

– Harriet Tubman

With the rising tension between races and the more stringent laws governing escapees from slavery, many sought to get out of the US entirely and relocate to Southern Ontario in Canada. Tubman participated in these journeys, assisting in the guide of groups of former slaves to the north.

Frederick Douglass who was a prominent advocate against slavery was awed by Tubman for her work in aiding slaves. He particularly acknowledged her courage and willingness to do work that deserved no any recognition. Tubman was praised for her courage and willingness to work without recognition. Tubman:

“Excepting John Brown — of the sacred memory — I can think of no one who has faced more hardships and dangers in the service of our slaves than you.”

Information from the Library of Congress 

One of the most significant aspects of Tubman’s character was her strong faith in God. As a child she was exposed to oral biblical stories even though she could not read, she maintained strongly in the presence and direction of God. She had vivid visions and clear instructions from God and also on hazardous missions, she relied on the guidance and security of God to accomplish her mission.

Was in 1858 that she was introduced to the radical Abolitionist John Brown, who advocated violenctoto end the practice of slavery. While Tubman was not a proponent of violence but she was adamant about the goals that John Brown had and assisted him in locating willing volunteers. Brown’s attack at Harper Ferry, Virginia failed and he was executed however, Tubman acknowledged his courage in dying for fighting the slavery system.


Biography Of Harriet Tubman


Civil War

In the midst of the Civil War, Tubman saw a Union victory as a chance to further the cause of the abolishment. She was a nurse within Port Royal, treating soldiers with smallpox and dysentery.

It was in 1863 that Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and Tubman began to be active in work for the northerly forces. Tubman provided her assistance as a guide to the scouting expeditions within South Carolina – using her expertise to avoid detection. She was also an early woman who was the first female to lead an assault in the Civil War when she led three steamboats in an attack on plantations along the Combahee River. The operation was a massive achievement with about 775 slaves fleeing on steamboats. Later, after being urged by Tubman and his men, several of the men who were freed were able to join the Union army, forming the first all-black army. Thanks to her courage her actions, she was rewarded with favorable media coverage, even though as a black woman she did not receive a regular wage nor a pension (until 1899). During her time in the military, she was forced to earn a living by selling root beer and pies.

After the war, Tubman returned to Auburn in the state of Alabama, where she looked after her family as well as other ex-slaves. She also got married (Nelson Davis, who was twenty years older than her). They also adopted a child Gertie.

She was denied a pension and her financial circumstances were bleak however, her friends from the movement to abolish slavery were able to raise money. An official biography Scenes from the Life of Harriet Tubman was written by Sarah Hopkins Bradford. Through the months, Tubman often gave speeches about slavery as well as women’s rights. She was a great storyteller, who was able to capture the attention of her viewers.


Biography Of Harriet Tubman


Kate Clifford Larson writes about Tubman:

“A fantastic storyteller, Tubman was a great storyteller… Tubman engaged her audience deeply. Simply dressed, petite and short, black and lacking one of her front teeth… Tubman shocked her audience with her tales of slavery as well as the inequities of being a black woman. Black men were the most prominent on the antislavery talk circuit. Tubman or Sojourner Truth represented the thousands of women who were ruined by physical and emotional brutality at the hand’s White men.”

– Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero

Tubman also became a supporter of the women’s vote as well as the efforts and efforts of Susan B. Anthony and other women. Tubman was able to talk about her struggles and experiences during the railroad and war as evidence that women were equal ts men. This led to her gaining acceptance across the nation.

The property was donated in Auburn to African Methodist Episcopal Zion Churcn to be transformed into a residence for the elderly and people of color.

In the years following, she became increasingly frail. at the age of 1913, she succumbed to pneumonia. She was surrounded by family and friends. Her final words were:

“I will prepare an area for you.”

She was laid to rest with military honors and a semi-military burial in the Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn.

Harriet Tubman has become an iconic image of strength and standing up to injustice, her story has inspired generations of civil rights advocates.

In April 2016 it was announced that she would be on the US $20 note.


Tags: Harriet Tubman,Harriet Tubman biography,biography,Harriet Tubman underground railroad,Harriet Tubman bio,Harriet Tubman (activist),biography of Harriet Tubman,Harriet Tubman movie,Harriet Tubman biography video,Harriet Tubman slavery,Harriet Tubman for kids,Harriet,Harriet Tubman mini bio,Harriett Tubman,Harriet Tubman slave,Harriet Tubman facts,mini biography,Harriet Tubman biography,Harriet Tubman union spy,Harriet Tubman biography for kids