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c. March 1822
March 10, 1913 (aged 90–91)
Freeing enslaved people
Civil War scout, spy, nurse, suffragist, civil rights activist
Tubman’s date of birth is unknown, although it probably occurred between 1820 and 1825. Originally named Araminta Harriet Ross, she changed her name to Harriet around the time of her marriage. Tubman’s early life was full of hardship. Physical violence was a part of daily life for Tubman's family.
Around 1844, Harriet married John Tubman, a free Black man. On September 17, 1849, Harriet and two of her brothers, Ben and Henry, escaped their Maryland plantation. In December in Baltimore, Maryland, she led her sister and two children to freedom. Later, she did 13 increasingly dangerous forays into Maryland in which, she conducted about 70 fugitive enslaved people along the Underground Railroad to Canada.
Tubman met John Brown in 1858, and helped him plan and recruit supporters for his 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry. When the Civil War began, Harriet Tubman worked for the Union Army, as a nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. Also, she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves.
After the Civil War, she settled with family and friends on land she owned in Auburn, New York. She married former enslaved man and Civil War veteran Nelson Davis in 1869, and a few years later, the couple adopted a little girl. Pneumonia took Harriet Tubman’s life on March 10, 1913.
Tubman became an American icon in the years after she died. Her story has been revisited in books, movies and documentaries. Also, dozens of schools were named in her honor.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there's shouting after you, keep going. Don't ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”