Harriet Tubman

Family Background:

Harriet was the 5th out of 9 children in her family. She began to start working at a very early age. At the age of five she was sent away from home to home where she had to work a lot. Soon she got too sick to work but once she recovered, she was sent away to another home. At the age of twelve she was working as a field hand.

Early age:

Harriet Tubman was a slave. She was born in 1820 and died on March 10, 1913. No one ever knew her real birthday. As a slave she had to suffer because she was black. She was born in Dorchester County, Maryland, USA. She had helped a slave escape to freedom at the age of thirteen, Her master found out and threw a large sharp object at her, causing her head to split open. While she was in the hospital she had a dream about God telling her to live and help slaves to escape to freedom. So she chose to follow her dream.


Due to the harsh conditions of slavery, Harriet Tubman couldn't have an education. Slave masters did not want their slaves to be educated or know how to read or write.

Escape to Freedom:

She slipped out her masters house in 1849. On the 18th of December, Harriet collected her pay from her boss and never went back. Sometimes she would continue to have
dreams and visions from God and she would follow them. She began to start her escaping journey to freedom. She packed a foods supply that would last one week. In one week of her journey, she had travelled 113 miles to her old hometown in Maryland. In her journey even if she had hardly anything to eat, she would manage with what she had and never complain. Many patrollers looked for her behind every stump and say if they catch her they will hang her by her toenails. If Harriet wouldve got caught she would shoot herself on the spot, so that her soul will free. She knew following the North Star it would lead her to Canada, where there would be freedom. Even though she knew she would be dangerously hurt, she continued her journey.

The Underground Railroad:

On her journey she met an American woman. The woman helped Harriet by feeding her and letting her rest. She directed Harriet to another house and another untill she had done 145 km into Pennsylvania. She wondered to herself if she was the same person because she had so much faith to escaping to freedom. It was a very dangerous risk but she returned back to help other slaves escape in what was called "the underground railroad". The Underground Railroad is a private network of houses that lead slaves toward freedom. Some black and even whites worked together to help her escape to freedom. Even though they offered her capture for $40, 000 she still went back to help the other slaves escape to freedom and never left anyone behind. She continued the journey and guided the slaves to freedom. In 1783 slavery was slowly disappearing. Harriet lead over three hundred people towards freedom.


When Harriet reached Pennsylvania, she realized that she was lonely so she took the risk and she went back to help her family and friends escape. Soon her name spread quickly and slave catchers offered $40,000 for her capture. But, she still went back and helped more slaves to escape.

Interesting Facts:

Harriet is not her real name. She was born as Araminta Ross, but was changed to Harriet Ross, in honour of her mother. Harriet Ross was changed to Harriet Tubman because of a brief arranged marriage to John Tubman in 1844. But when she was escaping to the North, John refused to risk his life. Even though they never associated with each other, Harriet still kept the name Tubman. Harriet made 19 trips to the South to help free slaves. Harriet was 29 when she ran away. She used her gun to scare the slaves that wanted to go back, but she never shot anyone.

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(Tubman, Harriet, photograph. The Library of Congress. )

Source Citation:

"Harriet Tubman." (Tubman, Harriet, photograph. The Library of Congress. ).Discovering Collection. Gale. Toronto District School Board. 13 Jan. 2010 http://find.galegroup.com/srcx/infomark.do? &contentSet=GSRC &type=retrieve &tabID=T005 &prodId=DC &docId=EJ2210002114 &source=gale &srcprod=DISC &userGroupName=ko_k12hs_d63 &version=1.0.
1) Harriet Tubman's Famous Christmas Eve Raid
by: Lee Kinard
Illustrated by: Daryl Shon Anderson
2) The Underground Railroad R.Conrad Steir Cornerstones of Freedom
1) Harriet Tubman. 10/20/2010. WOMEN IN HISTORY.12/01/2010
2) Interesting Questions, facts, and information. 1995-2008. 12/01/2010