Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
“I freed thousands of slaves, and could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves.” (History.com) This Harriet Tubman quote is a great representation of the kind of person she was. Harriet Tubman was a great woman, not only did she escape slavery; she went back several times to save more people. She conducted the Underground Railroad and did great things that have changed our history in one of its darkest times in our history. Being a slave was not easy but that didn’t stop her.
Becoming a slave was terrible; someone was either born a slave or kidnapped. When slavery first started, white Europeans went into Africa and ...view middle of the document...
Often these slaves were sold for five dollar. The healthy and strong slaves were sold by a process called “scramble.” The buyers agreed on an equal price, several hundred dollars. On a signal the buyers would burst into a yard, and grab the best slaves. Fights would occur between the buyers.
Once the slaves were brought to their new home they were put right to work. Slaves did all sorts of tasks such as heavy labor, farm work, cleaning, cooking, construction, animal tending. Basically a slave did everything the owner didn’t want to do. If the slave refused to work or weren’t working hard enough they would be whipped.
Farm work was probably one of the harder jobs for a slave. It wasn’t that the work was difficult, but they would have to stay out in the sun all day, picking the cotton, or sugar cane. As the plantations got bigger and bigger they needed more slaves to do the work. This meant more slaves went through the wretched slave trade. By 1860, there were 4 million slaves in the U.S, some 60% of whom worked in cotton (pbs.org). These field slaves would have cuts on their hands from the dried bristles; their back would ache being bent down all day. This was a very tedious task, but not a hard one. Sometimes the only thing that got these slaves through the day was song, rhythm, and dance.
On the plantation the slaves were provided small housing. Each hut was cramped and sometimes held ten people. They had little furniture, and the beds were usually made of rags and straw. Weekly food ration were distributed every Saturday including: corn meal, lard, some meat, molasses, peas, greens, and flour. Each day the elderly man and woman, who were no longer capable of hard labor, would cook the meals. They would be provided two meals a day breakfast at twelve and a dinner much later.
House slaves had it a bit easier than the field slaves. The vast majority of slaves were field slaves but the select few were house slaves. They worked in and around their master’s house. Each situation was different some not just regarding labor, but also the quality of food, clothing, and shelter. House slaves tended to be cleaner and dressed better. Sometimes they wore hand-me-downs of their master or mistress. Most of these slaves lived in similar housing, a simple cabin furnished sparely. A few were given rooms in the main house. Harriet Tubman was a well known house slave. She wasn’t well known for being a slave, rather for her actions after she was free.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery as Araminta Ross. Her relatives had to go through the middle passage, but never her. She would never know of another life style until she escaped. When Harriet was young she had to take care of her mistress’s baby. She had to stay awake all so that the baby wouldn’t cry and wake the mother; if she fell asleep she would be whipped. Ever since Harriet was a young child she dreamt of freedom.
One day a young man went to the store without the permission, Harriet was ordered to whip...