Ancient history

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was an African-American woman who was born a slave in Maryland, United States, in the 19th century. She fled to secure her freedom and became one of the great personalities fighting slavery in American history. He served in the Underground Railroad , a secret network that helped runaway slaves, and also took part in the American Civil War.

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Harriet Tubman Biography

Harriet Tubman, registered as Araminta Ross , was born in Dorchester County, Maryland, United States. We do not know precisely her date of birth, because the slaves did not have a birth certificate. However, we do know that she was born in the early 1820s .

Known as Minty during her childhood and adolescence, Harriet born a slave . Her mother was called Harriet Green and her father was Benjamin Ross. Harriet's mother was also a slave and belonged to the Brodess family, and her father was a free man.

Harriet's first job as a slave was in her early childhood, for the Brodesses' neighbors. He had to look after his masters' son and was supposed to nurse him all night long. She was not allowed to let the child cry, and if her lady (the child's mother) woke up, Harriet was punished with whipping.

slavery left Harriet with severe physical consequences when she was a teenager. Around age 12, an accident happened, and Harriet was hit by a weight thrown at a runaway slave. She was on her way to a warehouse when the runaway slave crossed her path and the weight hit Harriet's head.

This accident left her with a severe concussion, which left her unconscious for days, as well as a scar from the accident. Harriet also began to suffer from severe headaches and episodes of narcolepsy, a disease that causes a person to sleep deeply even when the person is rested and does not want to sleep.

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  • Years of Slavery

During her years as a slave, the job Harriet was most suited to was lumberjack. It was heavy work, including taking firewood from the forest and transporting that firewood to different locations. Because it was a job that required great physical strength, Harriet became very strong and physically resistant .

From her childhood, Harriet showed to be resistant to slavery, nurturing ideas for her freedom. These ideas made her hire a lawyer to investigate her mother's status as a slave. This lawyer found out that Harriet's mother should have been released when she turned 45, but the Brodesses ignored it.

Between 1844 and 1845, Harriet married a free black called John Tubman. At this time, she decided to adopt the name Harriet Tubman (Harriet came from her mother's name, and Tubman from her husband's surname). It is debated what her real intention was in changing her name, and some believe it was part of a strategy already thinking about her escape.

In the late 1840s, Harriet Tubman began to hear rumors that she would be sold by the Brodess. This rumor was a risk as she could be sold to the southern United States and with that, she would never see her family again. Edward Brodess' death only reinforced rumors of a possible sale.

With that, she decided run away and convinced her brothers Ben and Henry to accompany her. She also shared her wish with her husband, but his response was negative. Ben and Henry agreed to run away, and so they and Harriet went in search of their freedom. This first attempt failed, as Harriet's brothers forced her to return. However, a short time later, she ran away again, but alone.

  • Years of freedom

Harriet Tubman managed to escape thanks to Underground Railroad , a secret network that helped slaves escape and gain freedom in the northern United States. This network took the slaves to states where slavery was prohibited or led them to Canada, a country that did not allow slavery.

To make this possible, people provided secret shelters so slaves could successfully make their journey. Through this secret network, Harriet Tubman was able to reach Philadelphia, where she made a living doing housework. About a year after settling down to safety, Harriet made a decision that changed her life.

She decided to return to Maryland to rescue her family from slavery and lead them to freedom. With that, she became a guide in the Underground Railroad and acted in the displacement of escaped slaves to the places where they could be free. This activity was very dangerous and put Harriet's own safety at stake, as she would pay with her life if she was captured.

Despite the risks, she has become one of the best guides in the Underground Railroad . She made dozens of voyages throughout the 1850s, freeing dozens of slaves (some sources say in the hundreds) and securing her family's freedom. Tubman's family settled first in Canada and later in Harriet's Auburn home.

Harriet's fame as a guide at the Underground Railroad became huge and she came to be feared by slave masters . Harriet became known as Black Moses (Black Moses), in an analogy to Moses, a biblical character who freed the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.

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  • Last years

Harriet Tubman was also marked in American history for her involvement in American Civil War or Civil War, a conflict that lasted from 1861 to 1865. She saw in the conflict great potential to end slavery in the United States and, therefore, aligned herself with the Union troops, which represented the North of the USA.

During the conflict, she acted as a spy, obtaining information from Confederate troops and installations in the south. Her greatest moment in the conflict came in 1863, when she led a troop of African Americans in an attack on Confederate farms in South Carolina. This attack freed over 700 slaves .

After the war, she was still engaged in causes that sought to improve the lives of African Americans. She also championed the suffragette cause of the feminist movement and led charities. She spent the last few years of her life in Auburn, where passed away on March 10, 1913 . Harriet's funeral featured military honors.

Image credits :

[1] spatuletail and Shutterstock

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