Harriet Tubman was a history maker. She rebelled against the slavery standards and
demanded her voice to be heard. Because she believed every person had a right to be free, Harriet Tubman risked her life to save others.
Harriet is one of 9 children, having 4 brothers and 4 sisters. Her parents are Benjamin Ross and Harriet Green. (Ripley 222-3). Her childhood name was Araminta (nicknamed Minty), but she later chose her mother’s name. (Ripley 222-3). She is also known as “Aunt” Harriet. (Taylor 11). When Harriet was young, she was hit over the head with an iron weight due to an overseer trying to stop a slave from escaping. Because of this injury, she would randomly pass out during the day. She never received medical attention, but learned to live with it. (Allen 18).
Harriet was never considered a good slave. After her head injury, a neighbor wanted to hire her as a nurse-girl, and her owner was more than willing to let her go. (Taylor 8). Harriet was required to “do all the housework, milk the cows, as well as to be at the side of the cradle every time the little darling cried.” (Taylor 8). Because she wasn't able to be at all places at all times, she was beaten and sent back to her owner with the recommendation, “She don’t worth the salt that seasons her grub.” (Taylor 8). Once Harriet was returned, her owner greeted her with “I will break you in!” (Taylor 8). “From early morn till late at night she was made to work, beaten and cuffed upon the slightest provocation.” (Taylor 8).
Harriet married John Tubman in 1844. When she married John, she thought he could buy her freedom, but he never did. (Allen 20). Harriet said that she and her husband should leave, but he refused, and once she escaped on her own, he remarried. (Allen 30).
Because John would not go with Harriet, she decided to escape with her brothers. (Allen 21-22). She came to them with her plan, and they agreed to leave. She warned the other slaves of her leaving by singing The Promised Land.
“When that old chariot comes, I’m gwine to leave you. I’m bound for the Promised Land, Friends, I’m gwine to leave you I’ll meet you in the mornin’, When you reach the Promised Land On the other side of Jordan,
For I’m bound for the Promised Land.”
(Allen 10). This song was also used as a secret message for slaves to pass along to each other, especially when one was about to journey to freedom. (Allen 10). After escaping, her brothers became afraid, so they went back to slavery and took Harriet with them. (Allen 23). She escaped alone a few days later and became free in 1848. (Ripley 222-3). “There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or
death.” (Allen 23). Harriet traveled at night and stopped before sunrise so she would not be caught. She
stopped at a “safe house” where a Quaker (Religious Society of Friends) family helped her. “We fed, we clothed, and directed them onwards toward the North star.” (Allen 23). When she reached freedom, she was determined to free other slaves....