Petunia Erb

Written by Petunia Erb

Published: 24 Jun 2024


Harriet Tubman, a name synonymous with courage and freedom, played a pivotal role in the Underground Railroad, an intricate network aiding slaves in their quest for liberty. Harriet Tubman's life story is not just about her daring escapes and missions but also about her enduring legacy that continues to inspire generations. This post will unveil 15 captivating facts about her involvement in the Underground Railroad, shedding light on the lesser-known aspects of her journey. From her early life to her strategic genius, each fact is a testament to Tubman's unyielding spirit and her significant contributions to history. Join us as we delve into the remarkable life of Harriet Tubman, whose bravery and determination paved the way for countless slaves to find their path to freedom.

Table of Contents

Harriet Tubman's Early Life

Harriet Tubman, born Araminta Ross, is one of the most iconic figures in American history. Her journey from slavery to freedom and her role in the Underground Railroad is filled with remarkable stories.

  1. Harriet Tubman was born around 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland. The exact date remains unknown due to the lack of birth records for enslaved people.

  2. She was originally named Araminta Ross but later adopted her mother's first name, Harriet, and her husband's last name, Tubman.

  3. Tubman suffered a severe head injury as a child when an overseer threw a heavy metal weight at another enslaved person. This injury caused her to experience seizures, severe headaches, and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life.

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad. It was a secret network of safe houses and routes used by enslaved African Americans to escape to free states and Canada.

  1. Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in 1849, making her way to Philadelphia. She traveled alone and on foot, covering nearly 90 miles.

  2. After gaining her freedom, Tubman made 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the Underground Railroad.

  3. She used various disguises and clever tactics to avoid capture. Tubman often dressed as a man or an elderly woman to blend in and evade slave catchers.

Tubman's Role in the Civil War

Harriet Tubman's bravery extended beyond the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, she played a significant role in aiding the Union Army.

  1. Tubman worked as a cook, nurse, and laundress for the Union Army. Her knowledge of herbal medicine made her particularly valuable in treating wounded soldiers.

  2. She also served as a spy and scout for the Union Army. Tubman provided crucial intelligence on Confederate troop movements and supply lines.

  3. In 1863, Tubman became the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war. She guided the Combahee River Raid, which resulted in the liberation of more than 700 enslaved people in South Carolina.

Life After the Civil War

After the Civil War, Harriet Tubman continued to fight for justice and equality, dedicating her life to various causes.

  1. Tubman settled in Auburn, New York, where she purchased a home and established the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, providing care for elderly African Americans.

  2. She was an active supporter of the women's suffrage movement, working alongside prominent suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

  3. Despite her significant contributions, Tubman struggled financially. She received a pension for her service in the Civil War but had to fight for years to obtain it.

Legacy and Recognition

Harriet Tubman's legacy continues to inspire generations. Her courage, determination, and unwavering commitment to freedom have left an indelible mark on history.

  1. In 1896, the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged was officially opened, providing a sanctuary for elderly African Americans in need.

  2. Tubman passed away on March 10, 1913, in Auburn, New York, at the age of 91. She was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery.

  3. In 2016, the U.S. Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, recognizing her extraordinary contributions to American history.

A Final Glimpse at Harriet Tubman's Legacy

Harriet Tubman's journey from slavery to freedom, and then back into the fray to lead others to that same freedom, is nothing short of heroic. Her courage, ingenuity, and unwavering commitment to justice have left an indelible mark on history. Through the Underground Railroad, Tubman not only secured her own liberty but also became a beacon of hope for countless others, demonstrating the profound impact one person can have on the lives of many. Her legacy continues to inspire movements for freedom and equality across the globe, reminding us all of the power of resilience and the importance of fighting for what is right. As we reflect on her life and contributions, let's carry forward the spirit of Harriet Tubman in our own quests for justice and equality.

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