BlackFacts Details

Harriet Tubman | Abolitionist | Underground Railroad

Born Harriet Ross, c. 1819-1820, Dorchester County, Maryland. Tubman was born into slavery.

March 10, 1913, Auburn, New York

Harriet Tubman married a free black man when she was 25. He would not join her in her desire to escape from freedom. She escaped in 1849 by herself. She first went to a safe house where she was hidden in a wagon and sent on her dangerous trek until she crossed into a free state and was taken to Philadelphia.

Harriet Tubman had a mission to help others find freedom from slavery. Once in Philadelphia she was able to get a job and save money to start helping others flee bondage by becoming a conductor on the Underground Railroad. She traveled to Maryland and helped over three hundred slaves escape all the while facing mortal danger. She helped her family, friends, and others reach Philadelphia. Once the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850 making it illegal to help escaped slaves and enforcing stiff penalties, her work became even more dangerous. She moved to Canada but continued travelling to Maryland to help more slaves.

During the Civil War, Tubman enlisted as a nurse and served in South Carolina. She then became a scout and spy. Her help and information was invaluable. She personally led troops in July, 1863 disrupting supplies lines and freeing hundreds of slaves.

Sadly, Tubman was never recognized as a regular operative in the US Army and was not paid regularly nor given a pension.

Harriet Tubmans second marriage occurred in 1869 to Nelson Davis. She moved to Auburn, New York where she bought land near Secretary of State William Seward.

She spent her later years working for womens rights and opened a home to care for elderly African-Americans. She died there in 1913.