Biography of Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a runaway slave who was known as the “Moses of her people.” Over the course of ten years at her own risk, she led many slaves to freedom using the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a secret network of safe houses where runaway slaves could stay on their journey north to freedom. Later in her life she became a leader in the abolitionist movement and a spy for the federal forces in South Carolina.

Harriet Tubman was born in 1820 in Dorchester County, Maryland. She was born into slavery and was beaten as a child by her various owners. One of her owners hit her in the head with a heavy metal weight intended to hit another slave. She suffered a traumatic head injury which caused disabling headaches, seizures, powerful visionary and dream activity, and spells of hypersonic which occurred throughout her life. In 1849 she escaped to Philadelphia and went back and took her family with her including her 70 year old parents. She traveled in the night with extreme secrecy and never lost a fugitive. The fugitive slave law was passed in 1950 made it harder for slaves to escape. After that law was passed she started leading fugitives further north into Canada. If any of her fugitives she was helping tried to go back she would take out a gun and threaten to kill then because that would all of them in risk of being caught. She made 19 trips to Maryland which were all dangerous trips.

When the Civil War began Harriet Tubman worked for the Union Army. She worked as a cook and a nurse then as an armed scout and spy. She was the first women to lead an armed expedition which freed more than seven hundred slaves. After the war she went to a family home in Auburn, New York to take care of her aging parents and other people in need. She also worked in her later years to promote the cause of woman’s suffrage, she worked with many woman including Susan B. Anthony and Emily Howland. In 1911 Harriet became very frail and was admitted into a rest home named in her honor. On March 13, 1913 she died of pneumonia. Harriet Tubman will be remembered as someone who helped many people throughout her life.

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