Have you heard the name, Harriet Tubman? This article deals with everything that you want to know about the accomplishments and struggles of Tubman as an American abolitionist.
Before moving on let’s have a look at who Harriet Tubman is.
Who Is Harriet Tubman?
Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and social reformer who lived in the 20th century. She was born into slavery and thus she fled and went on around 13 missions to free over 70 slaves, including her relatives and friends.
She completed the mission using the Underground Railroad. During the American Civil War, Tubman worked as an armed scout and spy for the Union Army. Later, Tubman participated actively in the fight for women’s suffrage.
Harriet Tubman – Early Life And Family
Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Minty Ross as the daughter of Harriet Green and Ben Ross, who were also slaves. Mary Pattison Brodess held her father in slavery and later her son Edward.
Scholars disagree on the most accurate estimate for Tubman’s birth date because neither year nor the location is known with certainty, just like many slaves in the United States. It isn’t much known about her ancestors. Her family had to face struggles as slavery tried to separate them.
Tubman’s mother had to work long hours at the big house, she had little time for her family. Due to this, Tubman looked after his younger brother and a newborn.
James Cook was a planter who had a residence where Tubman worked as a child. Even after developing measles, she was required to inspect the muskrat traps in the neighboring wetlands. Cook sent her back to Brodess where her mother cared for her till she recovered.
Following an accident, Tubman started seeing visions and intense dreams, which she took to be revelations. Tubman’s personality was profoundly impacted by these spiritual encounters, and she developed a strong belief in god.
She disregarded the advice of white preachers who advocated for slaves to be submissive and obedient victims of those who kidnapped and enslaved them. Her actions throughout her life were influenced by this religious outlook.
In 1844, Tubman married a free black man named John Tubman. Although little is known about him or their relationship, the fact that she was a slave made the union difficult. She changed her name to Harriet Tuman right after the marriage.
Harriet Tubman – Being A Slave
Living as a slave was challenging for Tubman. At first, Tubman and her family of seven children resided in a one-room cabin. She was given on loan to another family when she was just six years old, where she assisted in caring for a newborn. She occasionally received beatings and was only given table scraps to eat.
At the plantation, Tubman had to do various works like field plowing, and loading of products onto wagons. She built up her strength by working with her hands, which included pulling oxen and moving logs.
Harriet Tubman – The Underground Railroad
During this time, slavery was prohibited in some states in the north of the United States. Using the Underground Railroad, slaves in the south would attempt to flee to the north.
The people who assisted slaves on their journey were referred to as conductors. To get into the north, the slaves would travel between stations at night, hiding in the woods.
Harriet Tubman – Escape From Slavery
Tubman suffered so many diseases from a very young age. She fell ill in 1849, which reduced her worth in the eyes of slave dealers. She was up for sale, but Edward Brodess was unable to locate a buyer.
Tubman started to pray for her master, pleading with God to force him to alter his way since she was upset with him for trying to sell her and for keeping her family in slavery.
Brodess’s death raised the probability that Tubman would be sold and her family would be torn apart. In 1894, Tubman and her brothers Ben and Henry escaped from slavery. But later, they were forced to return.
After a few days, Tubman escaped again without her brothers. She traveled many nights and days through the Underground Railroad. At last, she reached Pennsylvania, where she felt relieved.
Harriet Tubman – American Civil War
Through the Underground Railroad, Tubman learned about the cities and highways that made up the South; this knowledge made her valuable to union military leaders during the Civil War. As a spy and scout for the Union, Tubman frequently assumed the appearance of an elderly woman.
She would explore the Confederate-run streets and pick up information on military positions and supply routes from the people who were still held as slaves. Many of these people were assisted by Tubman in finding food, shelter, and even employment in the north.
She rose to prominence as a guerilla fighter as well. As a nurse, Tubman provided herbal treatments to black and white soldiers who were suffering from illness and infection.
After the war, Tubman helped freedmen by raising money, campaigned alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton for women’s suffrage, and looked after the sick and elderly.
Harriet Tubman – Death And Legacy
Tubman was well-known and respected when she was alive, and in the years after her death, she rose to fame as an American legend. She was ranked third after Betsy Ross and Paul Revere in a study at the turn of the 20th century that ranked the most renowned civilians in American history before the Civil War.
She was recognized by political figures from all sides of the political spectrum and served as an inspiration to generations of African Americans who were fighting for equality and civil rights.
In memory of Tubman, many monuments were made in various places in America. In 2016, the US Treasury decided to remove President Andrew Jackson from the twenty-dollar bill and added a portrait of Tubman in it.
Many Operas based on Tubman’s life were also seen in the US. several statues, books, television shows, films, and other monuments were made in remembrance of Tubman in the US.
In 1913, Tubman died and was buried with significant military honors at the Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York.