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Harriet Tubman: The Way To Freedom

Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c. 1822 – March 10, 1913) was an African American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland, she escaped to freedom in the North in 1849. Tubman is best known for her work with the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses and abolitionists who helped enslaved people escape to free states and Canada. She made 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using this network.

Early Life

  • Birth and Family: Born around 1822, Tubman was one of nine children born to Harriet "Rit" Green and Ben Ross.

  • Early Hardships: She endured brutal treatment as a slave, including physical violence and harsh labor conditions.

Escape to Freedom

  • Escape: In 1849, fearing she would be sold, Tubman fled to Philadelphia, leaving behind her family.

  • Name Change: Upon gaining her freedom, she adopted the name Harriet, after her mother, and Tubman, after her first husband, John Tubman.

Underground Railroad

  • Conductor: Tubman became a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, guiding others to freedom.

  • Dangerous Missions: She risked her life on numerous missions, traveling at night, using the North Star for navigation, and utilizing a network of safe houses.

Civil War Contributions

  • Union Army: During the Civil War, Tubman served as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army.

  • Combahee River Raid: She led an armed expedition that liberated more than 700 enslaved people in South Carolina.

Later Life and Legacy

  • Activism: After the war, Tubman continued her activism, advocating for women's suffrage and the welfare of freed slaves.

  • Auburn, New York: She settled in Auburn, where she established the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, dedicated to helping elderly African Americans.

  • Death: Tubman died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913, and was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.

Honors and Memorials

  • Legacy: Tubman's life and work have been celebrated in numerous ways, including books, films, and monuments. She remains a symbol of courage and freedom.

  • Currency: Plans have been announced to feature Harriet Tubman's image on the U.S. twenty-dollar bill, recognizing her enduring impact on American history.

Tubman's legacy as a leader, liberator, and champion of justice continues to inspire people around the world.

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