Harriet Tubman Biography / Autobiography / Memoir resources

Full Name: Mrs. Harriet Tubman, née Araminta Ross
Date of Birth: circa February or March 1822
Place of Birth: Dorchester County, Maryland, USA
Died: March 10, 1913
Place of Death: Auburn, New York, USA
Classification: Heroes & Icons


Short Biography of Harriet Tubman

“’Black Moses’ is coming to let our people go,” the slaves of Maryland might have sang, praying that Harriet Tubman would come to lead them to freedom on the Underground Railroad. A good chance for their freedom did exist, as long as they followed her military-like strategy to lead her people northward.

Rescuing  slaves, nursing them to health, gathering funds, and helping the Union gather key intelligence before the Civil War, Tubman was literally a woman of all trades. Before she would have been sold into the south, she decided to escape northward from her owner, Eliza Brodess. And, in 1849, she made her move. Through the night she ran. Through the day, she hid. Along the way, some caring members of various backgrounds, churches and others involved in the Abolitionist Movement aided her. Upon her entrance into freedom, Harriet knew that she would have to return to Maryland to help others escape.

With her difficult childhood of abuse looming in her mind, she wanted help both young and old slaves escape, including those of her own family. Taking her life into her own hands, she was able to free her parents, four brothers, but was not able to reach her sister in time before she passed away in 1859.

One of the most interesting facts, detailed in her biography entitled Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, is that she acted as a spy for the Northern armies. She was never captured in any of her expeditions. She would often lead slaves into Union camps where they would revitalize, hope for the arrival of other family members, and decide in which direction they would continue. Tubman even plotted and led a raid at the Combahee River Ferry in South Carolina where many slaves ran to awaiting Union boats.

After the end of the Civil War, Harriet Tubman should have received a pension from the Union, but did not until some 30 years following. With the proceeds from the sales of her biography, she was able to purchase a house in New York. She then married Nelson Davis. During this time, she founded and funded the Harriet Tubman Home for Sick or Indigent African Americans. There, she was taken care of when she became too sick to care for others. Upon her death, Tubman was honored with a full military burial for not only her help with the Union forces and her donation to the betterment of humanity, but her unyielding work freeing her African-American counterparts from bondage. 

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