Who Was Harriet Tubman?
Yona Zeldis McDonough
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Born a slave in Maryland, Harriet Tubman knew first-hand what it meant to be someone's property; she was whipped by owners and almost killed by an overseer. It was from other field hands that she first heard about the Underground Railroad which she travelled by herself north to Philadelphia. Throughout her long life (she died at the age of ninety-two) and long after the Civil War brought an end to slavery, this amazing woman was proof of what just one person can do.
tried to fight them. They were bigger and stronger. They forced her to return. In two nights, a slave trader would be coming for Harriet and her brothers. Harriet faced a hard choice. If she stayed, she would be put on a chain gang. She would probably die on the long walk south. But if she escaped, who would go with her? Not her husband, John. Not her brothers. She decided to run away all by herself. She went to bed as usual. When John was asleep, she got up. Packing was easy. She put a little
Commander of Intelligence Operations for the Union Army’s Department of the South. Nine scouts were under her command. She was in charge of an area that went from South Carolina to Florida. Though the white men she led weren’t used to reporting to a black woman, they quickly came to respect and admire her. Being a spy was dangerous work. But Harriet was used to danger. She used her knowledge of the rivers to help lead an invasion. On June 2, 1863, General Montgomery, Harriet, and about three
After his escape from slavery in 1838, Douglass began giving lectures about his life. He was a powerful and brilliant speaker. Many people came to hear what he had to say. Then, in 1845, he wrote and published Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In it, he described the many cruelties slaves were forced to endure, like whippings and beatings. Because the book revealed his master’s identity, Douglass had to flee to England, where sympathetic supporters bought his freedom. Back in the
The government still owed her $1,800 for her work. Though many of Harriet’s important friends—including the famous black speaker, minister, and leader Frederick Douglass—wrote to the government for her, she was never paid the money. When she was sure her parents were well, and after she had gotten back her own strength, Harriet returned to work. She went to Fortress Monroe Hospital in Washington, D.C. There she cared for black patients. Soon she was promoted to Head Nurse. In April 1865, the
with the famous women’s rights workers, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The two women had worked together for years. They were working to prove that women were equal to men. They also worked to get women many new rights, including the right to vote. In the nineteenth century, only men could vote. Harriet was a good example of how women were equal to men: Couldn’t she do all the things a man could do and more? Standing in front of the audience, she said, “I was the conductor of the