Sunday, February 20, 2011

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

Image: Harriet Tubman (courtesy Library of Congress/LC-USZ62-7816)
Born an enslaved African in Maryland, Harriet Araminta "Minty" Ross spent her entire childhood working without payment for the benefit of her owners. Preferring the work in the fields, she was able to learn about following geographical directions and about helpful plants from her father and her brothers. These survival skills came in handy when Tubman later realized that the only way she could gain her freedom was to run away. She did follow someone who was making his way to freedom, only to suffer a serious head injury. Despite suffering from seizures and sleep attacks brought on by the injury, Minty later married John Tubman, a free Black man. Her enslavement did not end upon her union to Tubman, so she tried to convince her husband to run north with her, where they could both live in freedom, but he would not go.

When her owner fell ill, Harriet Tubman was in a difficult position; often, to settle debts, owners would sell their slaves and reduce their holdings. Tubman fled north, making her way to Philadelphia, where she learned about the connections of the Underground Railroad. Returning to Maryland, she sought to free her family and friends; so began her rescue missions as a "conductor." Initially, she and her charges were safe in the northern US, but with a change in the laws, she had to go to Canada. Tubman then began and ended her rescues at St. Catharines; she lived there for eight years. Later acting as a nurse and a spy for the Union forces, Tubman spent her last days in Auburn, New York.

The Underground Railroad: Harriet Tubman
Scroll down to pages 49 and 50 for descriptions of properties in the US associated with Harriet Tubman. The Underground Railroad, from Google Books.

Thanks for reading

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