History

Harriet Tubman

1822 - 1913

When, as a young child on a plantation in Eastern Maryland, Tubman tried to protect another slave, she suffered a head injury that led to sudden blackouts throughout her life. On her first escape, Tubman trekked through the woods at night, found shelter and aid from free Blacks and Quakers, and eventually reached freedom in Philadelphia to align with William Still and the Vigilance Committee.

After hearing that her niece and children would soon be sold, Tubman arranged to meet them in Baltimore and usher them North to freedom. It was the first of some thirteen trips during which Tubman guided approximately 50 to 70 people to freedom.

Tubman spoke often before anti-slavery gatherings detailing her experiences. She was never captured, and went on to serve as a spy, scout and nurse for the Union Army. When the government refused to give her a pension for her wartime service, Tubman sold vegetables and fruit door-to-door and lived on the proceeds from her biography.