100 African Americans who Changed American History
Do you know who the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad was? If you guessed Harriet Tubman, you are correct. Harriet Tubman was born in slavery, Harriet was five when she watched her younger siblings, and only six when she was taken away to people that couldn’t afford to buy slaves and started working for them. For Harriet’s whole life, she was convinced that one day she would be free. The subtitles in this essay are, Early Life, Later Years, and Life’s Work
In addition to early life, Harriet was born in 1820 in Maryland. Harriet’s real name was Araminta Ross. Her nickname was Minty. Harriet’s mother wanted her to learn how to cook, sew, or weave so she would become a house slave. She wanted this so she wouldn’t have to work outside. At the time slaves lived in the southern states. Although Harriet was a slave, she was happy, she loved her log cabin, parents, and siblings. Harriet wanted to go north because slavery was illegal there. At the age of thirteen she suffered from a severe hit to her head with a two pound weight, that cracked her skull, while intervening in a fight between a slave and their master. She suffered from seizures, headaches, and narcolepsy.
Years later Harriet heard rumors that she and and some of her brothers were being taken, to be sold. Harriet prayed that her master, Mr. Brodas would die. Eventually he got sick and died days later. She felt bad for praying for his death. Now she had a new master, Dr. Anthony Thompson. Anthony was more fair. Anthony hired Harriet and her father to work for a builder named John Stewart. At first Harriet was working inside the house sweeping, doing laundry, and making beds. Harriet hated the work that she did, so she asked if she could work outside with the men. Mr. Stewart said that she can work outside with the men, hauling logs, driving an ox cart, and plowing fields. Harriet’s father taught her many things like where the northstar is, the way slaves go to become free. Her father said that if the north star was covered by clouds, feel the trees for moss, moss only grows on the north side of trees. At the age of twenty three Harriet fell in love with a man named John Tubman. John and Harriet got married. Harriet told John about her plans to escape, but her told her that if she tried to escape he would tell her master. Harriet snuck out to go north when John was asleep. While Harriet was traveling she became part of the underground railroad. Once Harriet got to Pennsylvania in 1849 she became a free women. She wanted to help other slaves become free, just as she did. She got a job cooking and cleaning in a hotel, she didn’t like the work but it was easier than being a slave. When Harriet found out that her sister Mary and her family were going to be sold, she wanted to go south and bring them back to Philadelphia. Mary and her children were at the auction to be sold.
When it was lunch, Mary’s husband, John gave the guard a envelope saying that they had someone buying them, but really it was a trick. Mary and her family made it safely to Harriet, but they weren’t in Philadelphia yet. Eventually they got to Philadelphia and Harriet became a conductor on the underground railroad, but it wasn’t going to be her only time saving slaves. After the 1850’s slaves brought to free states would be sent back to their masters. Because of this, the trip to freedom became longer. Instead of going to Philadelphia they had to go to Canada. Harriet began helping other slaves escape and go to Canada. All of the slave owners knew what Harriet was doing so they put up reward signs. One of the rewards was $40,000. Harriet had helped her parents escape, but it was more difficult because they were old. Harriet had several different jobs. Some of her money was to support her parents. Harriet made one final trip south to save a family with two children. After she got back her friends told her to stop going south. It was to risky for her. All of the slave owners wanted her dead. After that Harriet Tubman was no longer a conductor of the underground railroad. While she was a conductor of the underground railroad, she saved more than three hundred slaves. In total Harriet snuck back into maryland twelve or thirteen times. In 1866 Harriet fell in love with a man named Nelson Davis, later the got married and adopted a daughter named Gertie. Harriet and nelson stayed together until Nelson had died in 1888 from tuberculosis. On March 10th, 1913, Harriet Tubman died of pneumonia in her own retirement home. At Harriet’s funeral hundreds of people came to pay their respects.
While Harriet was a conductor of the underground railroad, she saved more than three hundred slaves. In total Harriet snuck back into Maryland twelve or thirteen times. In April of 1861 a war between the north and south states broke out. Harriet did everything she could to help the north states. During the war, Harriet worked as a cook and a nurse. She helped wounded and sick soldiers, along with slaves that were just freed. Harriet found jobs for many of the freed slaves, she used her money to make a washhouse where slaves could wash and sew clothes for the soldiers. Harriet had a rifle with her so that she was able to scout and spy for the north. Harriet led scouts up a river, blowing whistles for slaves to come to be rescued, and destroyed plantations along the river. In total they rescued over seven hundred slaves. In April of 1865 the war ended and the north won. In the 1880s and the 1890s Harriet joined the National Woman’s Suffrage Association and spoke for women rights.