Harriet Tubman

Quick Facts

Born: Dorchester County, Maryland 1820

Died: March 10,1913

Parents: Slaves: Benjamin Ross and Harriet Greene

Education: None- could not read or write.

Honors and Awards: Buried with Military Honors.

Harriet Ross was born into slavery in 1819 or 1820, in Dorchester County, Maryland. She was raised under harsh conditions, and subjected to whippings even as a small child. Life was difficult on the plantation, and Harriet was hired out as a laborer by the age of five. She was a hard worker but considered defiant and rebellious. When she was fifteen, Harriet tried to help runaway slaves. The overseer hit her in the head with a lead weight, which put her in a coma. It took months for her to recover, and for the rest of her life, Harriet suffered from blackouts. At the age of twenty-five, she married John Tubman, a free African American. Five years later she was fearing she would be sold, so she made her escape.

She knew her husband would expose her, so the only person she informed was her sister. Harriet made the 90 mile trip with the help of contacts along the Underground Railroad. She had to hike through swamps and woodlands. Harriet's trip was successful and she settled in Philadelphia. After freeing herself from slavery, Harriet Tubman returned to Maryland to rescue other members of her family. In all she believed to have helped approximately 300 persons to freedom in the north.

By this time, Harriet was becoming quite well known and huge rewards were offered for her capture. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Tubman served as a soldier, spy, and a nurse. In 1870, Harriet married Nelson Davis, whom she had met at the South Carolina Army Base. They were happily married till Davis' death. In 1896, Harriet purchased land to build a home for sick and needy blacks. Harriet moved there several years later. She spent her last years telling stories of her adventures to visitors.

Harriet Tubman was not afraid to fight for the rights of African-Americans. Her story is one of dedication and inspiration.

1) Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Dumas Malone, 1936.
2) Altman, Susan. Extraordinary Black American. New York: Jones, 1989.
3) Ploski and Kaiser. The Negro Almanac. New York: World Book, 1971.
4) Rachel Sahlman. "Harriet Tubman. Spectrum Biography. March 10, 2000. http://www.incwell.com/Biographies/Tubman.html&amp
5) The Life of Harriet Tubman. Friday, March 10 lt;http://www.nyhistory.com/harriettubman/life.

For further Information contact http://www.nyhistory.com/harriettubman
Created on March 22, 2000

Return to the Black Biography Page