Harriet Tubman

Black History Month Profile

Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave, who accomplished many things in her life, like being the conductor of the Underground Railroad

In 1820, Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross, on a slave plantation in Dorchester, Maryland. She soon changed her name to Harriet in honor of her mother. During her youth, she faced many hardships, like the changing of different jobs, separation from her eight siblings, and being hit in the head by weights at the age of 12, which caused her to have headaches and narcolepsy.

In 1840, Harriet’s father was given his freedom, but Harriet, her mother, and brothers remained slaves. Nine years later, Harriet married John Tubman, which wasn’t a happy marriage due to the fact John had threatened to sell her and her two brothers to a plantation further South, which made them come up with the plan to escape. On September 17, 1949, Harriet and her brothers escaped, only for her brothers to change their minds and return to the plantation. Unlike her brothers, Harriet managed to travel 90 miles North to Pennsylvania, with the help of the Underground Railroad and the North Star to guide her. Once in Pennsylvania, she settled in and got a job as a housekeeper only to realize that she couldn’t enjoy being free without her loved ones. She then returned to the South and began helping free up to 300 slaves, not including her husband who remarried and died in 1867.

As Tubman kept venturing to the South to help free slaves, which became harder when the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed. She took desperate measures when it came to helping her fellow brothers and sisters, like carrying a gun for protection and “encouragement” for her charges has a change of mind, drugging the younger to lower the cries, so they wouldn’t get captured by slave hunters. Instead of ending the journey in Philadelphia, it ended in Canada.

During the Civil War of 1861, Tubman was recruited to assist fugitive slaves at Fort Monroe and worked as a nurse, cook, and laundress. Two years later, she became a spy, sneaking onto the Confederate Army and exploring their routes and reporting her findings back to the Union.

After her service in the war, Tubman lived with her family on the land she owned in Auburn, New York, remarried Nelson Davis in 1869, and adopted a daughter named Gertie. As Tubman was settling in, she soon began supporting philanthropy efforts, from selling her home-grown products to raising pigs, she also accepted donations and loans from her friends.

In the year of 1896, Tubman purchased land that was adjacent to her home and opened the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Indigent Colored People. As her health started to weaken due to her head injury when she was younger, she was placed in her namesake home in 1911. Two years later Tubman died due to pneumonia on March 13, leaving behind a legacy and story that has been told in schools, museums, movies, books, and documentaries.