Harriet Tubman (1820-1913)
Harriet Tubman is probably the most famous “conductor” of all the Underground Railroads. Throughout a 10-year span, Tubman made more than 20 trips down to the South and lead over 300 slaves from bondage to freedom. Perhaps the most shocking fact about Tubman’s journeys back and forth from the South was that she “never lost a single passenger.”
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland around 1820. By the time Tubman had reached the age of 5 or 6, she started working as a servant in her master’s household. Approximately seven years after she began working as a servant, Tubman was sent to work out in the fields. While Tubman was still a teenager, she sustained an injury that would affect her for the rest of her life. One day, Tubman stood up for another slave and blocked a doorway in order to protect them from an upset overseer. The overseer threw a weight at one of the field hands, missing them and instead hitting Tubman on the head. Tubman was never able to fully heal from the wound she sustained from the overseer. This injury caused a chronic concussions and lapses in consciousness throughout the rest of her life.
During the year of 1844, Tubman married a freed black man named John Tubman and consequently assumed his last name. (Harriet Tubman was originally born Araminta Ross and then later changed her first name to Harriet, after her mother.) In 1849, Tubman ran away in fear that she, along with many other slaves on the plantation were going to be sold off. Harriet Tubman left on foot. Luckily, Tubman was given some assistance from a white woman, and was able to set off on her journey to freedom. Tubman used the North Star in order to find her direction during the night, slowly inching her way to Pennsylvania. Once Tubman had reached Pennsylvania, she found a job and began to save her money. The following year after arriving to Philadelphia, Tubman returned to Maryland and to lead her family to freedom. Among the people she took was her sister and her sister’s two children. Tubman was able to make the same dangerous trips months later...