Harriet Tubman was an African American woman who escaped slavery and becameone of the leading figures helping otherslaves escape to freedom.
Top 5 facts:
Harriet had one daughter, Gertie, whom she and her second husband (Nelson Davis) adopted after the Civil war.
Harriet was acquainted with leading abolitionists of the day, including John Brown who conferred with "General Tubman" about his plans to raid Harpers Ferry.
Harriet earned the nickname "Moses" after the prophet Moses in the Bible who led his people to freedom. In all of her journeys she "never lost a single passenger."
Harriet wore many hats: She was an active proponent of women's suffrage and worked alongside women such as side Susan B. Anthony. During the civil war, Harriet also worked for the Union Army as a cook, a nurse and even a spy.
Just before Harriet's death in 1913 she told friends and family, "I go to prepare a place for you." She was buried with military honors in Fort Hill Cemetery in New York.
I would fight for my liberty so long as my strength lasted, and if the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.
I grew up like a neglected weed - ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it.
I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.
Her Early Life
Harriet was born, Arminta ‘Minty’ Ross, in Dorchester, Maryland. Her parents were slaves. From a young age, she was made to work as a house slave and later on shewas forced to work on the plantation fields. She worked there until she escaped.
During this time, Harriet suffered physical violence from her owners.
The most serious of these injuries occurred when she was a teenager. Harriet had been sent to collect supplies from a dry goods store, and she came across a slavewho had left the fields without permission. The slave owner ran out, demanding that Harriet help him capture this slave. She refused, allowing the slave to escape. In a final attempt to catch the slave, the slave owner tried to throw a heavy weight athim. He missed, and hit Harriet’s head instead. This accident caused her to suffer seizures, severe headaches and intense dreams for the rest of her life.
In 1844, Harriet married a freed slave named John Tubman.
The brave escape
In 1849, Harriet’s owner died from an illness. In fear of being sold away andseparated from her family, Harriet and her brothers, Ben and Henry, decided to escape. Not too long afterwards, a notice was posted for their capture with areward of $300. Scared of what would happen to them if they were found, Ben andHenry decided to go back to the plantation. Harriet however, decided to carry on,and using the networks of the Underground Railroad, she fled to Philadelphia.
The Underground Railroad
During this time there were states in the northernUnited States where slavery was outlawed. TheUnderground Railroad was a network of helpful people, safe houses (called ‘stations’) and secret routes to help slaves escape.
The people that helped the slaves escape werecalled ‘conductors’. Slaves would move from stationto station at night, hiding in the woods or sneakingonto trains until they finally reached the north andfreedom.
Moses of the Slaves
Harriet soon began to miss her family and friends in Maryland. The following year, news came that her sister and two children were to be sold. Harriet returned to Maryland and led them to freedom. This was the beginning of her mission to help tofree slaves. She became a conductor in the Underground Railroad.
Harriet led 19 different escapes, helping around 300 slaves to escape to freedom.
There was a reward for her capture, but Harriet was never caught. She was braveand clever, and had learned a few tricks that made the escapes successful. Theseincluded escaping on a Saturday night. Runaway posters were not printed untilMonday mornings, so this meant that slaves had extra time on their side to make their escape.
Harriet was nicknamed “Moses” because she led her people out of slavery, just like the Moses in the Bible did.
Guide, Spy and Leader
During the American Civil War, Harriet worked with the North to defeat the South. She believed joining forces would ensure the freedom of all black men, womenand children from slavery.
She worked as a nurse to look after sick and injured soldiers, and also helped toorganize a military campaign.
In 1863, she worked alongside Colonel James Montgomery, and helped as advisorand guide in the campaign to free slaves at the plantations along the Combahee
River. This attack freed over 750 slaves.
Harriet campaigning for women’s rights
Harriet’s life was not easy, and even in later life she faced financial struggles.Shecontinued to campaign, and focused her energies on women’s right to vote.She worked alongside other campaigners such as Susan B. Anthony.
The 13-cent Harriet Tubman stamp was issued on February 1, 1978.
Harriet as a symbol
Harriet is a symbol for the African American people today, as her efforts freed hundreds of slaves. Although she was not a very tall woman, she was brave, and she made great achievements.
Monuments have been created to celebrate her work.In 1978, the United States Postal Service issued a stampin honour of Harriet Tubman.
Harriet Tubman biography for kids: Harriet Tubman was an African-American leader in the Underground Railroad who led many slaves to freedom. During the American Civil War, she was a Union spy. She also fought for women’s right to vote.