Harriet Tubman: All Aboard the Underground Railroad

Harriet Tubman: All Aboard the Underground Railroad

Lacoyia Eure
7 minute read

Harriet Tubman was an enslaved woman who ended up being a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved individuals to flexibility before the Civil War, all while bring a bounty on her head. But she was likewise a nurse, a Union spy and a ladies's suffrage supporter. Tubman is one of the most recognized icons in American history and her legacy has influenced numerous people from every race and background.

When Was Harriet Tubman Born?

Harriet Tubman was born around 1820 on a plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland. Her parents, Harriet (" Rit") Green and Benjamin Ross, named her Araminta Ross and called her "Minty.".

Rit worked as a cook in the plantation's "big house," and Benjamin was a lumber employee. Araminta later altered her first name to Harriet in honor of her mom.

Harriet had 8 siblings and sis, but the realities of slavery eventually forced much of them apart, despite Rit's attempts to keep the family together. When Harriet was 5 years of ages, she was leased as a nursemaid where she was whipped when the infant cried, leaving her with long-term emotional and physical scars.

Around age seven Harriet was leased to a planter to set muskrat traps and was later leased as a field hand. She later on stated she preferred physical plantation work to indoor domestic chores.

A Good Deed Gone Bad.

Harriet's desire for justice became apparent at age 12 when she spotted an overseer about to toss a heavy weight at a fugitive. Harriet stepped in between the enslaved individual and the overseer-- the weight struck her head.

She later on stated about the occurrence, "The weight broke my skull ... They carried me to the house all bleeding and fainting. I had no bed, no location to rest on at all, and they laid me on the seat of the loom, and I remained there throughout the day and the next.".

Harriet's good deed left her with headaches and narcolepsy the rest of her life, triggering her to fall into a deep sleep at random. She also started having brilliant dreams and hallucinations which she frequently declared were spiritual visions (she was a staunch Christian). Her imperfection made her unattractive to possible servant buyers and renters.

Escape from Slavery.

In 1840, Harriet's father was set free and Harriet discovered that Rit's owner's last will had set Rit and her kids, consisting of Harriet, complimentary. But Rit's brand-new owner refused to recognize the will and kept Rit, Harriett and the rest of her children in chains.

Around 1844, Harriet married John Tubman, a totally free Black male, and changed her surname from Ross to Tubman. The marriage was not good, and the knowledge that two of her brothers-- Ben and Henry-- were about to be sold provoked Harriet to prepare an escape.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman: Underground Railroad.

On September 17, 1849, Harriet, Ben and Henry escaped their Maryland plantation. The bros, however, altered their minds and returned. With the help of the Underground Railroad, Harriet stood firm and traveled 90 miles north to Pennsylvania and flexibility.

Tubman found work as a maid in Philadelphia, however she wasn't pleased living free on her own-- she desired liberty for her enjoyed ones and good friends, too.

She quickly returned to the south to lead her niece and her niece's children to Philadelphia through the Underground Railroad. At one point, she attempted to bring her spouse John north, but he 'd remarried and picked to stay in Maryland with his new partner.

Fugitive Slave Act.

The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act allowed fugitive and released employees in the north to be captured and oppressed. This made Harriet's job as an Underground Railroad conductor much harder and required her to lead enslaved people even more north to Canada, traveling during the night, typically in the spring or fall when the days were much shorter.

She brought a gun for both her own protection and to "motivate" her charges who might be having second thoughts. She frequently drugged infants and young kids to prevent slave catchers from hearing their weeps.

Over the next 10 years, Harriet befriended other abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, Thomas Garrett and Martha Coffin Wright, and developed her own Underground Railroad network. It's extensively reported she emancipated 300 enslaved individuals; however, those numbers may have been estimated and overemphasized by her biographer Sarah Bradford, because Harriet herself declared the numbers were much lower.

Nonetheless, it's believed Harriet personally led a minimum of 70 enslaved people to liberty, including her elderly parents, and instructed dozens of others on how to by themselves. She declared, "I never ever ran my train off the track and I never lost a traveler.".

Harriet Tubman's Civil War Service.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Harriet found new methods to combat slavery. She was recruited to assist fugitive enslave individuals at Fort Monroe and worked as a nurse, cook and laundress. Harriet used her knowledge of herbal medicines to help treat sick soldiers and fugitive enslaved individuals.

In 1863, Harriet became head of an espionage and scout network for the Union Army. She offered vital intelligence to Union leaders about Confederate Army supply paths and troops and helped free enslaved people to form Black Union regiments.

Though just over five feet tall, she was a force to be reckoned with, although it took over three years for the government to recognize her military contributions and award her financially.

Harriet Tubman's Later Years.

After the Civil War, Harriet settled with family and friends on land she owned in Auburn, New York. She married former enslaved male and Civil War veteran Nelson Davis in 1869 (her spouse John had passed away 1867) and they embraced a little woman named Gertie a few years later on.

Harriet had an open-door policy for anyone in need. She supported her philanthropy efforts by offering her home-grown fruit and vegetables, raising pigs and accepting donations and loans from buddies. She remained illiterate yet visited parts of the northeast speaking on behalf of the females's suffrage movement and worked with noted suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony.

In 1896, Harriet acquired land adjacent to her home and opened the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Colored People. The head injury she suffered in her youth continued to pester her and she withstood brain surgical treatment to assist alleviate her signs. But her health continued to degrade and ultimately forced her to move into her name rest home in 1911.

Pneumonia took Harriet Tubman's life on March 10, 1913, however her tradition lives on. Schools and museums bear her name and her story has actually been revisited in books, movies and documentaries.

Harriet Tubman: 20 Dollar Bill.

Tubman even had a World War II Liberty ship named after her, the SS Harriet Tubman.

In 2016, the United States Treasury announced that Harriet's image will change that of previous President and slaveowner Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar costs. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (who served under President Trump) later on announced the brand-new costs would be delayed until at least 2026. In January 2021, President Biden's administration revealed it would accelerate the design procedure.

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