Harriet Tubman is an African American and known as American hero and icon. She was born as a slave and became the leading leader of the abolitionist movement and helped many slaves through underground railroads to move towards North that includes almost seventy families and friends saving life of more than 1000 slaves. In all these missions she got helped from many black and white people including her father (Bradford).
The original name of Harriet was Araminta Ross and her exact birth year is still unknown due to the different dates shown in different documents related to Harriet. She was born to slave parents Benjamin Ross and Harriet Greene and was one of the eleven children. Ben was owned by Anthony Thompsons while Harriet was owned by Mary Pattison Brodess and later her son Edward. Harriet had extended family and siblings and she also helped her siblings to escape through the railroad. She helped his brother Moses and her sister Rachel’s children to escape when she heard that she and her siblings will be sold. She was not able to save her sister Rachel before death.
She was very younger aged five or more when she was sold to different families and they took all domestic work from her including taking care of their children. As a slave in her childhood she was beaten from her masters that resulted into many physical injuries. She was whipped if the baby woke up this was the reason that she carried scars some on her neck. She was beaten by many masters whom she was sold. One of the most severe injury happened when she was forced to help restrain an escaped child but she refused and she was hit with two pound weight on her head. All this caused her to suffer rest of the life from seizures, severe headaches, and narcoleptic episodes (Clinton).
Ben Harriet Father was freed at the age of 45. When Harriet was adult half of the African American slaves on the east coast of Maryland were freed but she and her family was still slave. When she was 25 years old she married John Thompson who was a free man but they never had children so John married another girl and Harriet found out she married Nelson Davis and adopted a girl and named her Gertie.
In 1849 when Harriet was owned by Edward Brodess and he decided to sell her and her brothers due to debts then she decided to escape with her brothers towards north because for her escaping was better than being sold. She knew undergrounds railroads way to escape but her brothers refused to go with her due to the fear that a reward was announced for both of them. During this time she changed her name to Harriet from Armanita in honour of her mother. In first escape she went alone about 90 miles to Philadelphia for freedom later she found work there and saved money to come back for her family. She followed different routes for her return trips to save her family and other people (Petry).
Harriet played a very important role during Civil War when Union noticed her railroads trips and the federal government asked her to a spy for them. Harriet revealed the troops locations and traveled in boats with union army members. She gathered information via underground trips and successfully freed 700 slaves in a mission. She had slave’s confidence over her and was able to get information from then as they would not share information with Union army at any cost. She also offered nursing to black soldiers and she was the first women to lead an armed militia under Colonel James Montgomery and also worked as a spy (Sterling).
After the civil war she was denied for pension but she published her story because she was a great storyteller. She spends a lot of time in the women’s suffrage movement fighting for women’s voting rights.
In 1890’s due to the childhood head surgery had brain surgery. The swear pain in her head did not allow her to sleep. During her surgery she did not take aesthesia due to this she had seen to have their limbs removed and also had her head surgery in the same manner. She established home for elderly black people and also spent her last years at that place. In 1913 she died due to pneumonia. She earned different names called Moses and she also had contact with other famous abolitionists, like Frederick Douglass.
- Bradford, Sarah Hopkins. Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman. WJ Moses, printer, 1869.
- Clinton, Catherine. Harriet Tubman: The road to freedom. Little Brown & Company, 2004.
- Petry, Ann. Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the underground railroad. Open Road Media, 2015.
- Sterling, Dorothy. Freedom train: the story of Harriet Tubman. Ed. Ernest Crichlow. Scholastic, 1954.