Heroes of the Past: Harriet Tubman
Good afternoon Everday Heroes, hope your Monday is going well. As I’m sure some of you have noticed, the last few posts we’ve made have been about individuals in the past. We are calling this new blog series “Heroes of the Past”, which will be made every Monday about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in times before ours, aka EVERYDAY HEROES of the Past.
Meet- Harriet Tubman- Freedom fighter and a remarkable woman.
Araminta (Harriet) “Minty” Ross, was born in 1820 in Dorchester County, Maryland, as a slave. Harriet, as all slaves, lived a very hard life.
Growing up, she was sold out to work on plantations, often experiencing physical abuse. Her first job was at six as a nursemaid to a “Miss Susan”. She was assigned to watch over her baby and was whipped whenever it cried, one time lashed five times before breakfast and carrying those scars for the rest of her life.
Her most severe injury occurred when she, adolescent at the time, refused an overseer’s command to help apprehend a runaway. She was struck by a two-pound weight to her head. She endured seizures, headaches, and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life, as well as intense dream states that she took as religious experiences.
Harriet escaped slavery in 1849, when, after the ill death of her owner, she feared for her safety. She fled to Philadelphia using the famous network of runaway slaves and allies called the Underground Railroad. Around this time she also renamed herself from Araminta to Harriet in honor of her mother.
Having finally made it though, she feared for her family, who were fractured and sold out across the Southern slave states over the course of her life. She joined the network in 1850 to find them.
She was known as “Moses” for her strong faith and fierce determination. She guided not only her family, but hundreds of slaves over the course of her career. She returned to the south at least 19 times, gaining a bounty of over 40,000$ dollars on her head. She was never caught and never lost anyone.
During the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865, she joined the Union army as a cook and nurse, quickly moving up to serve as an armed scout and spy due to her connections and experience as a “Railroad Conductor”. She became the first woman to lead an armed expedition in war, guiding a Combahee River Raid in Sourh Carolina that freed 700+ slaves.
Renowned for her charisma, leadership, and ability as a freedom fighter and Underground Railroad leader, Harriet died in 1913 and was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn. She went on to be honored by countless others, with dozens of schools, and a museum in Cambridge, named after her.
In April 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department chose her to be the new face for the $20 bill.
Harriet served, both in her life and after, as a beacon of civil activism and a role model of female strength and independence. She is known today as one of the most famous 19th century American figures, an EVERYDAY HERO who inspires us all.
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With much love from Team EDH!!