Your teacher may have forgotten some important facts about Harriet Tubman while you were at school.
Apart from helping her family escape slavery (and many others), she also led troops in combat and cured a disease. She was far more powerful than what history portrays.
Born Araminta Minty Ross in Maryland circa 1822, Harriet adopted her mother’s name after escaping slavery.
Her life was extraordinary, especially considering she was an African-American woman at that time. She died at the Auburn, New York, charity home she established.
Harriet Tubman, born Araminta Ros. Later, she would adopt the name Harriet after Harriet Ross, her mother. Tubman is her first husband. She married John Tubman in 1844.
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2 Harriet was a slave born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where the line between slavery and freedom was often blurred. In this region, it was not uncommon for families to include both freed and enslaved family members. Harriet’s husband, John Tubman, a free black man, was her own. However, her status remained the same until Harriet fled to Pennsylvania in 1849, which was a free state. Harriet’s husband didn’t make it, and he was remarried shortly after Harriet’s departure.
3. Over the next ten years, Harriet would return to Maryland many times to save her family and the non-family from the bonds of slavery.
4. Harriet was given the nickname “Moses” after Moses, the Bible’s prophet who led his people to liberation. She “never lost one passenger” on all her travels.
5. Tubman was an ever-present threat to her freedom and safety. Slave owners offered a bounty for Tubman’s capture. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which imposed severe punishments on anyone who helped a slave escape, was also an ever-present threat.
6. Harriet was a multi-faceted woman. She worked alongside Susan B. Anthony and was an active advocate for women’s rights. Harriet worked as a cook, nurse, and spy for the Union Army during the civil conflict.
7. Harriet knew leading abolitionists at the time, including John Brown, who spoke with General Tubman about his plans for raiding Harpers Ferry.
8. Harriet was the mother of Gertie, a daughter she and her second husband, Nelson Davis, adopted after the Civil War.
9. Harriet experienced lifelong headaches, seizures, and vivid dreams after sustaining a severe head injury as a teenager. She was trying to defend a fellow fieldhand. These same symptoms gave Harriet powerful visions, which she attributed to God. They helped her guide others on numerous trips to the North and led her to freedom.
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10 Harriet told her friends and family that she was going to “prepare a place” just before her death in 1913. She was buried with military honors in Fort Hill Cemetery, New York.
BONUS FACT: In 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the countenance Harriet Tubman would appear on a new $20 bill.