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Harriet Tubman and

husband John Tubman

​THE GREAT HARRIET TUBMAN

​Dr. Umar Johnson - Sacred Grounds the Harriet Tubman ceremony

Harriet Tubman - quick bio

Harriet Ross Tubman    1820-1913









"Strong as a man, brave as a lion, cunning as a fox,"  Harriet Tubman was undoubtedly one of the greatest Underground Railroad conductors of her time.  The Underground Railroad was not a real railroad, but a network of concerned people across the country who devised an escape route from state to state, promoting freedom for slaves.  Harriet, one of 10 or 11 children, was born in 1820, in Maryland, to Benjamin and Harriet Ross.  During the eight years she conducted the Underground Railroad, she made 19 perilous trips in the deep south and guided over 1000 slaves to a new and glorious life of freedom.  Her undaunted courage and fearless acts earned her the sobriquet, "Moses of Her People."  She was greatly respected in abolitionist circles in England, Scotland, Ireland and Liberia.  Tubman received financial aid from Great Britain and Canada.  Queen Victoria sent her expensive gifts and a personal invitation to visit Britain.

From an early age, Harriet was brutalized and compelled to do hard labor by her masters.  All of this harsh treatment toughened her body and gave her unrelenting stamina which served her well in later years.  When she was 13, her master struck her with a two-pound weight and fractured her skull.  For the rest of her life, she suffered from attacks of dizziness and uncontrollable sleeping spells from which she could not be easily awakened.

In 1844, Harriet married John Tubman, a freed man.  Several years later, her master died and there was talk of his slaves being sold out of state.  Apprehensive of her fate, Harriet decided to escape.  Upon hearing her plan, her husband ridiculed her and refused to leave with her.  Harriet responded by saying, "There's two things I've a right to:death or liberty.  One or the other I mean to have.  No one will take me back alive." Faithful to her promise, she made her escape through the swamps with two brothers who later were overcome with fear and turned back, leaving her to go it alone.  No one ever turned back on her again.  She carried a rifle for protection and also to instill courage and motivation into the spirits of her sometimes-faltering charges who felt they couldn't go on.  At such times, she would point her gun and quietly command, "You'll be free, or you will die."  She is noted for saying, "I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger."

It was dangerous for anyone to help "property" escape--even more so for Harriet, a slave herself.  having faith in God and an unfailing desire to help others, she always managed to elude her would-be captors.  It is reported that at one time there was a $40,000 reward for her capture.  Harriet became quite crafty at using disguises and by sending cryptic messages to signal her coming.  Although she rescued most of her family, a most memorable occasion for her was when she liberated her aged parents.

During the Civil War, Harriet served the Union Army as scout, spy and nurse.  In 1863, she led the Union Army on a raid which resulted in the freedom of over 750 slaves.  After the war, she settled in Auburn, New York.  She applied for a military pension but was forced to live in poverty for 30 years before it was granted.  In 1897, Congress passed a private bill granting her $20 a month.  She used the pension to establish the Harriet Tubman Home for Indigent Aged Negroes.  Harriet Ross Tubman lived to be 93.  She was buried in Ohio with military honors in March, 1913.


Excerpt from A Salute to Historic Black Women


This is only a summary of the life of the Great Harriet Tubman.


Harriet Tubman quote, "I freed over a thousand slaves and I could have

freed thousands more if they only knew they were slaves."