The life of Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a women born into southern slavery during the 19th century. Eventually escaping to freedom in the North, Tubman worked for many years helping other slaves gain their freedom using the Underground Railroad, a system of secret homes and passages where slaves were smuggled to freedom.

1820
Born Araminta Ross around 1820, Harriet Tubman was one of 11 children born to parents Benjamin and Harriet Ross in Dorchester County, Md. Raised under harsh conditions as a slave and subject to whippings, Tubman was determine to gain her freedom.

1844Ross married a free black man, John Tubman, at the age of 25 and decided to change her first name to Harriet taking her mother's first name.

1849
Concerned about being sold, the now Harriet Tubman decided to run away in 1849. She settled in Philadelphia, where she met William Still, the Philadelphia Stationmaster on the Underground Railroad. Known as the "Moses" of her people, Tubman led hundreds of slaves to freedom using the Underground Railroad. By 1856, Tubman's capture would have brought a $40,000 reward from the South.

1863Tubman's many roles during the Civil War included being a cook, a nurse and spy for the Union. In 1863, Tubman's inside information aided Col. James Montgomery and a small band of black soldiers on a gun boat raid in South Carolina.

1900After the war, Tubman settled in Auburn, N.Y. and became an activist for woman's rights. Tubman died in 1913 and is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn. Tubman was honored by the U.S. government with a commemorative postage stamp in 1995.

Sources: Library of Congress, New York History Net, PBS Online

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