Who Was Harriet Tubman?
- Harriet Tubman was an African-American anti-slavery worker and humanitarian who escaped from slavery in the southern United States.
- She helped many other enslaved people to achieve freedom and also served the Union during the American civil war.
- She was the Union spy and was the first-ever black woman to lead an American mission during the American civil war.
- Throughout her life, she achieved 13 missions and eventually rescued more than 70 people from slavery including family and friends. Even though she was born into slavery but she escaped.
- Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester country in 1820 and was one of the nine children of a family of enslaved people. Her name at that time was Araminta Ross.
- While she was enslaved in Dorchester country, she would get whipped and beaten as a child by many different masters.
What Are Some Early Life And Struggle Harriet Tubman Facts For Kids?
- Once when Harriet was still a very young child, an angry overseer threw a heavy metal weight at another slave which accidentally hit Tubman’s head resulting in major health issues like seizures, headaches, visions, and vivid dreams. However, she believed that those dreams and visions actually came from God as a message.
- After the weight hit Tubman’s head, she, in bleeding and unconscious condition, returned to the owner’s house and laid on the seat of a room. She didn’t receive any medical care for two days and was sent back into the field with blood and sweat rolling down his head.
- She started having seizures and fell unconscious. Even though she was appearing to sleep, she was aware of her surroundings. These conditions remained with her throughout her whole life. It is believed that she might have suffered from temporal lobe epilepsy due to the injury.
- Tubman’s mother was owned by Mary Pattison Brodess and later her son, Edward.
- Her mother was assigned to “the big house” as a cook and had very little time to be with her family, as a result of which, Harriet had to take care of a younger brother and a baby. This was extremely common in large families back in those days.
- Once while she was just five years old, she was hired as a nursemaid by a woman named Miss Susan. Her job was to look after a baby. Whenever the baby woke and cried, Tubman was whipped and she was once even whipped five times before breakfast.
- To fight against those, she didn’t have many options than running away for a few days and wearing layers of clothes as a protection against beatings and fighting back.
- While she was a child, Tubman also worked at the home of a planter named James Cook where she had to check muskrat traps in nearby marshes.
- She had to keep doing that work even after she got measles. Later on, she became so ill that the cook sent her back to Brodess.
- After Harriet’s mother nursed her back to health, Brodess hired her out again.
- Harriet expressed an intense feeling of homesickness that she experienced as a child and often compared herself to ‘the boy on the Swanee River.
- In 1844, she married a free African American named John Tubman. After getting to hear that she was to be sold, she escaped to Philadelphia in 1849 without her husband.
- In 1849, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia where slaves were free. However, she returned to Maryland to rescue her family and eventually showed rays of hope to several other slaves to achieve freedom as well.
What Are Some Later Life Harriet Tubman Facts For Kids?
- In 1844, Tubman married a free African American named John Tubman. However, the marriage stood on complicated terms as Tubman was still a slave. Marriages between free people and enslaved people were common in those days.
- In 1849, Harriet became ill again resulting in the reduction of her value when Edward tried to sell her. After Edward died, Edward’s wife started working to sell the family’s workers.
- Tubman didn’t wait to get sold and so she escaped with two of her brothers Ben and Henry. Later, the two men had second thoughts after running away and so they made Harriet return with them to Maryland again.
- Harriet escaped again and this time without her brothers. She was determined to achieve liberty and if she couldn’t achieve that, she would choose death.
- In 1958, Harriet was introduced to an abolitionist named John Brown with whom she shared her knowledge of support networks and resources in border states even though she didn’t support his choice of violence against white people.
- In Pennsylvania Tubman became a conductor of the Underground Railroad which was a secret network that helped enslaved people find their way to freedom. She was able to give freedom to dozens of enslaved people including her own family.
- During the American civil war in 1861, Tubman went to South Carolina with the Union army. She wanted to offer her own set of skills and knowledge to the union as she believed that a union victory would be a key step toward the abolition of slavery.
- Soon she was able to join a group of abolitionists who helped fugitives. She also served as a nurse in Port Royal and made medicines from local plants and helped soldiers with dysentery.
- Harriet worked with other women like Emily Howland to advance the cause of women’s suffrage. She traveled to various cities to speak about the significance of women’s voting rights and gender equality.
What Are Some Interesting Harriet Tubman Facts For Kids?
- When Harriet Tubman was helping enslaved people to achieve liberty, her code name was ‘Moses’ and she was often known as the black ghost.
- She used songs and spirituals as coded messages for her followers.
- She served as a spy for the Union in the American civil war.
- When she was having brain surgery to combat the seizures and headaches, she didn’t take any anaesthesia. She used to see the civil soldiers bite down a bullet when going through these procedures, so she decided she would do the same.
- Even though she worked in the US government, she didn’t receive any regular salary. She had to work various jobs to support her elderly parents. Her friends and supporters from her earlier abolition days helped her to arrange finance to support her parents.
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