Harriet Tubman: Biography

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Harriet Tubman was born between 1820-1821 in Maryland as a slave and had eight other siblings. She was born as Araminta Ross but she is not famous with it. After she run away from slavery, she changed her name to Harriet Tubman. When she was only 5 years old, her owner rented her to his neighbor as a house servant. She was not treated well, neither respected. Her mistress wanted her to take care of a baby, and a full load of house task as well. Anytime when she was not happy with Amanita’s work she had been beaten her with a mini whip. She was not vary strong physically and she changed her masters often. When she was 12 she was considered old for a house slave and was sent to the fields to do farm work. One day when, this poor girl was standing near some other slaves who tried to run away and her master threw a heavy stone but instead of the running slaves he hit Harriet in her head. Her master smashed her head by mistake and that affected her health with seizers till the end of her life. Her masters ware very cruel and since she was a little girl she promised herself that somehow she will escape and help other to do the same. She manages to run away from her master and later she was able to guide other slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Years after her escape she was saying: “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; and my home after all, was down in Maryland; because my father, my mother, my brothers, and sisters, and friends were there. But I was free, and they should be free.” She had total of 13 missions and help more than 70 people to escape slavery. The Underground Railroad was a network of houses of antislavery activists and safe houses that spread from America South regions to Ontario. Many black and white people help her during missions. She was avoiding any traveling during the day due to her and others safety. Harriet learned to read the direction by the sky and the stars as well as tree moss. She never lost a single person during her traveling in the Underground Railroad. She was risking her life every time she was on a mission. Because of her actions some slave owners posted a reward for her as much as $40 000 to get her dead or alive.

She also served in the Union Army during the Civil war as a nurse, but often she was spying. Because she knew the towns and transportation system so well she was very often a spy. That was very important for the Union. Dress as an old lady, she would wonder on Confederacy territory getting information about Confederate troops, their locations and what they have as a supply. Tubman knew many herbs and remedies and she was a big help as a nurse also. She was helping many wounded soldiers. After the war she only received a small pension for being a nurse at the war time.

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Slaves were not allowed legally to marry, but since she was a free women in 1844 Harriet Tubman married a free black man- John Tubman. At this time most of the Maryland shore was free slave place and many people both marry as free and enslaved. Later in years he didn’t want to go with her on the Underground Railroad and he decided to stay in Maryland with a new wife.

After the war she became very much involved with the promoting women’s suffrage. She traveled to Washington DC and Ney York to give speeches as she was paying everything out of her pocket and that help her sunk more into poverty. At the suffrage convention in New York in 1896 Tubman said: “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say- I never run my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

In 1859 Senator William H. Seward, who was also abolitionist, sold her a small piece of land near Auburn, New York. She was able to build a small house there and many of her family and friend spend time there. It was a safe place for many people.

In 1865 Tubman married a Civil war veteran Nelson Davis who was also born into slavery. They did not have their own kids and in 1874 adopted a girl named Gertie.

In 1890 she had a brain surgery because of all the headache she was suffering from the hit she had in her head as a child. After Davis’s dead in 1888 she was given a pension of $8 as his widow and in 1899 she was given another $20 pension monthly for her service. She open a small social institution in 1908 called “Home of Angels” and she died of pneumonia there at the age of 93. Her family and friends were by her bed side. She was buried with military honors in Auburn, New York. She was very well respected and known when she was alive. To honor her many schools are named after her. In 1978 there was a movie A Woman Called Moses that presented her life and dedication to freedom.

In April 2016 the U.S. Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the new $20 bill. She is the first African American to appear on U.S. currency. Harriet Tubman devoted her life to racial equality and fought for women’s rights. She continued to inspire generations of Americans struggling for civil rights. 


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