Harriet Tubman
1819 or 1820 - 1913

Harriet Tubman's name at birth was Araminta Ross. She was born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland. She had 10 sisters and brothers. When Harriet was little her master sent her to other families to take care of young children. This was a hard job for a young child. If Harriet fell asleep and a baby cried out, the baby's mother whipped Harriet.

Harriet was scarred for life when a slave overseer accidentally hit her in the head with a heavy iron weight. He missed a young slave man and hit Harriet instead. Harriet had a deep scar and was unconscious for days. She suffered from seizures for the rest of her life.

In 1844 Harriet married a free black man named John Tubman. In 1849 Harriet heard a rumor that she was going to be sold by her owner. She decided to run away. When her husband refused to go with her she headed North with her brothers. Her brothers got scared and returned to the plantation, but Harriet reached freedom in Philadelphia.

Use the Icon if you would like the paragraphs above read to you. Flash Audio

Once Harriet was free she decided to help other slaves find their freedom. She returned to states that still had slaves and led many slaves to freedom in the North. This was very dangerous work and Harriet sometimes had to be very tough. If a slave she was trying to help got scared and wanted to turn back Harriet would say, " You'll be free or die a slave!" Harriet saved over 300 slaves and travelled back to danger 19 times. Harriet was called the "Moses of Her People," because she led so many slaves to freedom.

Harriet's experience freeing slaves made her a very helpful aid to the Union army during the Civil war. She worked in the army as a cook, nurse, and spy. She freed more slaves during the war and also helped many sick soldiers with her knowledge of herbal remedies.

After the war, Harriet Tubman returned to Auburn, NY and married Nelson Davis. In Auburn she worked to help gain rights for women and built a home for the aging and homeless. She was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, with military honors. Her tombstone reads "Servant of God, Well Done."

Use the Icon if you would like the paragraphs above read to you. Flash Audio

Additional Web Resources: