Harriet Tubman was a very important woman before the Civil War. Harriet Tubman made 19 trips to
the south with the Underground Railroad and freed a total of 300 people and never lost one
Harriet Tubman was born in Maryland as a slave around 1820. When she was 5 or 6 years old she
started to work as a servant. After seven years she was sent to the fields to work. While she was
still in her early teens, she had a bad injury that would last all her life. Her owner injured her when
he picked up a two-pound weight and threw it at her hand.
Around 1844 Harriet married a free black man named John Tubman and took his last name. Then,
she was going to be sold to a different owner in 1849. Harriet planned to run away because she
didn’t want to be sold. She escaped to Philadelphia. In Philadelphia she worked and saved her
money. The next year she went back to Maryland and helped her sister and her sister’s two
children escape. After she got back to Philadelphia with them, she went back and saved her
brother and his two friends. Never giving up, she went back to Maryland 16 other times, saving a
total of 300 people.
During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman worked for the Union Army as a cook, nurse, and even a spy.
After the war, she traveled to Auburn, New York. In Auburn she lived the rest of her life and died at
the age of 93.
Harriet Tubman (c. 1820 – March 10, 1913), was an African-American abolitionist. Held in captivity
she made nineteen missions to rescue over 70 captives to freedom in Canada using the
Underground Railroad. During her lifetime, she worked as a lumberjack, laundress, nurse, and
cook. As an abolitionist, she helped liberate scores of captives, and inspired many more to do
so independently. During the American Civil War, she was responsible for several roles such as
intelligence gatherer, refugee organizer, raid leader, nurse, and fundraiser. Tubman was the first
African-American woman to plan and lead a military operation. She prided herself in never losing
a passenger on the underground railroad, and never being captured.
Born Araminta Ross, she changed her first name to Harriet when she was a young adult, possibly
in honor of her mother or due to a religious conversion. Around 1844, she married John Tubman, a
free black man. When she escaped from Maryland, he chose not to join her, but rather continued
his free life in Dorchester County without her. John Tubman was killed during a roadside argument
near Cambridge, Maryland in 1867.
Harriet's master was a man named Edward Brodes who died in early March 1849. He left behind a
wife, Eliza Ann Brodess, and eight children. To pay her dead husband's mounting debts and to
save her small farm from seizure, Eliza decided to sell some of the family's slaves. Fearing sale
into the Deep South (this was considered a death sentence by Upper South slaves), Tubman took
her emancipation into her own hands. On September 17, 1849, Tubman and two of her brothers,
Ben and Henry, ran away. Overcome with apprehension and fear, the brothers returned two or
three weeks later. Harriet, however, was determined to have her freedom, thereafter she fled on her
own, leaving behind her aforementioned husband. On the way to freedom in Philadelphia, she was
assisted by members of the Abolitionist movement, both black and white, who were instrumental in
maintaining the regional branches of the Underground Railroad.
Called "Moses" by those she helped escape on the Underground Railroad,
she made many trips to Maryland to help family and friends escape. According to her estimates
and those of her close associates, Tubman personally guided about 70 slaves to freedom in about
13 expeditions and gave instructions to approximately another 70 who found their way to freedom
independently. She was never captured and, in her own words, "never lost a passenger." Her owner,
Eliza Brodess, posted a 40,000 reward for her return, but no one ever knew that it was Harriet
Tubman who was responsible for spiriting away so many slaves from Dorchester and Caroline
counties in Maryland.
She worked as a spy for the North during the American Civil War. Tubman was the first American
woman to plan and lead a military operation, the raid at Combahee Ferry, in early June 1863. This
raid freed over 750 slaves.
She was successful in bringing away her parents and her four brothers — Ben, Robert, Henry,
and Moses — but failed to rescue her sister Rachel, and Rachel's two children, Ben and Angerine.
Rachel died in 1859 before Harriet could rescue her. Moses disappeared, but Robert, Ben, and
Henry changed their names to John, James and William Henry Stewart, respectively, and lived
the rest of their lives in the North.
“ I had crossed the line. I was free;
but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom.
I was a stranger in a strange land. ”
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