Who was Harriet Tubman?

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Harriet Tubman saved herself as well as her family and many others from slavery.

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Harriet Tubman was born during the year 1820 in Dorchester County, Maryland. She was born into slavery and her parents were owned and worked as slaves for the Brodas Plantation. This plantation was one of several things. Not only did it produce lumber, it was also used to train slaves to sell.

Harriet was very young when she was first being trained for duties. At the tender age of five years old she was hired out as a slave. Due to her age and her size she was suppose to be trained to work inside. Harriet hated being inside and hated indoor work. This lead to several beatings for disobedience.

Finally at the age of thirteen she was able to go out and do field work. She liked being outside much better, even though the work outside was harder and much hotter. Harriet proved to be a very good worker, but she had a problem with authority figures and did not listen to what she was told a lot. At the age of fifteen she attempted to run away.

She was, however, captured and the escape plan had failed. Her master was very displeased and hit Harriet in the head with a lead weight. With such a traumatic blow to her head, she was in a coma for several weeks. It took her a very long time to recover and even suffered side effects from the blow throughout her life.

Harriet married John Tubman, a free black man, in 1844. Although she was still a slave, she was allowed to sleep with John in his home at night as long as she showed up for her duties on time and remained obedient. Harriet was terrified at this time and all through her life as a slave, that she would be sold and sent overseas. When her master died, his slaves were sold, some possibly overseas.

The night her master died, she escaped. Harriet traveled the underground railroad approximately 90 miles on foot through terrible walking conditions. The escape was successful, though, and she had gotten away.

Starting a life in Philadelphia, she was working as a dishwasher, saving her money to go back and rescue her family from the plantation.  Her first trip back to Maryland was in 1850, and she successfully rescued her sister and her family. Soon after she made another trip back to rescue her brothers.

They too made it back safely and had escaped. During 1857 she rescued her parents and got them settled in Auburn, New York. While she was on this trip back, she asked her husband to come back and live with her, but he refused. He was worried about getting caught and getting put into slavery himself, even though he was a free man.

By this time Harriet was well known and there was a reward out for her capture, dead or alive. She was very good at disguise, however, and even a former master did not recognize her on a trip back. In all Harriet made 19 trips back through the underground railroad.

During these trips she freed over 300 slaves and brought them to where they could start fresh. Harriet then was a spy for the Union Army, helping them fight the war. She soon worked in Washington DC as a nurse.

Even though she had diligently worked for the United States, Harriet did not receive her pension for more than 30 years after the war was over. After her service she moved back to Auburn with her parents. Times were very tough and they were very poor. A book was written about Harriet's life, and the profits off the book were put to very much good use.

Nelson Davis married her in 1870. The marriage lasted 18 years. Clear up until the time of Davis death. A piece of land was bought in 1896 with the hopes that she might build a home for the sick and needy black people.

She, however, did not have enough money to build the home and turned the land over to Episcopal Zion Church. In giving the land to the Church they were able to raise enough money to build the home Harriet was dreaming about.

She spent her last days in the home, telling all the people who stayed there the story of her life. On March 10,1913, Harriet died of pneumonia. She had lived a long life and had helped many reach freedom. Even in her last days she helped other people.