Harriet Tubman Essay
Essay written by Shawnda Fletcher
Harriet Ross Tubman was an African American who escaped slavery and then showed runaway slaves the way to freedom in the North for longer than a decade before the American Civil War. During the war she was as a scout, spy, and nurse for the United States Army. After that she kept working for rights for blacks and women.
Harriet Tubman was originally named Araminta Ross. She was one of 11 children born to Harriet Greene and Benjamin Ross on a plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland.
She later took her mother’s first name. Harriet was working at the age of five. She was a maid and a children’s nurse before she worked in the field when she was 12. A year later, a white guy either her watcher or her master smacked her on the head with a really heavy weight. The hit was so hard it left her with permanent neurological damage. In result of the hit she had sudden blackouts during the rest of her life.Order now
In 1844 she got permission from her master to marry John Tubman, a free black man. For the next five years Harriet Tubman was a semi-slave. She was still legally a slave, but her master let her live with her husband. In 1847 her master died. Followed by the death of his recipient and young son in 1849. That made Harriet’s status uncertain.
In the middle of rumors that the family’s slaves were being sold to clear the estate, Harriet Tubman went to the North and freedom. Her husband stayed in Maryland. In 1849 Harriet Tubman moved to Pennsylvania. She returned to Maryland two years later hoping to get her husband to come to The North with her. John Tubman had remarried by then. Harriet did not marry again until after John Tubman died.
In Pennsylvania, Harriet Tubman became an abolitionist. She worked to end slavery. She decided to become a conductor on the Underground Railroad (a network of antislavery activists who helped slaves escape from the South). On her first trip in 1850, Harriet Tubman brought her sister and her sister’s two children out of slavery in Maryland. In 1851 she rescued her brother, and in 1857 Harriet Tubman returned to Maryland and brought her parents to freedom.
Over a time period of ten years Harriet Tubman made an estimated 19 trips into the South and brought about 300 slaves to the North.
The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 had created federal commissioners in every county to support the return of runaways. It gave harsh punishments for those convicted of helping slaves to escape. The law wanted Harriet Tubman, so in 1851 she moved to St. Catharines, a city in Ontario, Canada. That was the destination of many escaped slaves. By the late 1850s a number of Northern states passed personal liberty laws that protected the rights of fugitive slaves.
Harriet Tubman was able to buy land and move with her parents to Auburn, New York.
Harriet Tubman faced great danger guiding slaves to freedom. Southerners offered big rewards for her to be caught. Harriet Tubman used disguises (sometimes posing as a deranged old man and, at other times, as an old woman) to stay away from touch when traveling in slave states. She carried sleeping powder to stop babies from crying and always had a pistol to prevent the people from backing out once they started going to freedom.
Harriet Tubman always changed her route and her methods of working.
Though she almost always began her journeys on Saturday night for two reasons. First, many masters did not make their slaves work on Sundays and not realize they were gone until Monday, when the slaves had already traveled a full day and a half. Second, newspapers advertising the escape wouldn’t be published until the beginning of the week, so by the time copies reached readers, Harriet Tubman and the fugitive slaves were likely to be near their destination in the North.
Harriet Tubman never lost any of her control and had a weird ability to find food and shelter during these hard missions. Among other African Americans she came to be known as Moses .