Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

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"I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other." This above quote stated by Harriet Tubman is evidence of her inclusive dedication to the emancipation of slavery. One of Tubman's most distinguished accomplishments includes her efforts in the Underground Railroad. In September of 1850 she was made an official "conductor" of the Railroad; she knew all the routes to free territory. Her hard work continued as she rescued over 300 slaves in the south not losing one in the process. Her labors did not go unnoticed. Fellow abolitionists and leaders expressed considerable amounts of gratitude and acknowledgement through letters and speeches. She has been recognized throughout history as a primary abolitionist, declaring slavery an act of malevolence. By helping free slaves and testifying to the immorality of slavery, Harriet Tubman was the leading advocate for abolition in antebellum America.
Harriet Tubman's life is one for the records with so much history and importance behind it. In 1849 she escaped from slavery and settled in Philadelphia. There, she found work as a scrubwoman. Over the next ten years she became very involved in the Abolition movement, forming friendships with one of the black leaders of the Underground Railroad, William Still, and white abolitionist Thomas Garrett. She became an inspiring conductor of the Underground Railroad putting her own life ahead of her people. Her drudgery did not stop there. During the Civil War Harriet Tubman served as a scout, a spy, and a nurse. Because of her influential involvement in the abolitionist act she came into contact with many dominant social leaders in the North. While all of her accomplishments were notable, her involvement in the Underground Railroad is one most infamous to the United States.
Harriet Tubman's abolitionist actions were directly associated to the actual freeing of slaves on the Underground Railroad. She did many wonderful things while involved in the Underground Railroad. Some of which were working as an agent, assuming different disguises to assist runaways in obtaining food, shelter, clothing, cash, and transportation. (Maxwell) The Underground Railroad was a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada. With all of the work that Harriet did, she did not receive much of the appropriate consideration and appreciation from the public.

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This is very evident in Fredrick Douglas' letter to Tubman when he states:
"The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day--you in the night. I have had the applause of the crowd and the satisfaction that comes of being approved by the multitude, while the most that you have done has been witnessed by a few trembling, scarred, and foot-sore bondmen and women, whom you have led out of the house of bondage, and whose heartfelt "God bless you" has been your only reward. The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism."
Harriet Tubman had made the perilous trip to slave country 19 times by 1860 as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, including one especially challenging journey in which she rescued her 70-year-old parents. During these hazardous trips Tubman managed to save over 300 slaves from repression not leaving one behind. Of the famed heroine Frederick Douglass said, "Excepting John Brown -- of sacred memory -- I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than Harriet Tubman." Because of all of her efforts she was later referred to by many of the admiring slaves as the "Moses" of her people and the Underground Railroad.
Harriet Tubman frequently traveled to the South with the objective to rescue many slaves from severe hardships. This is clearly demonstrated in Porter's excerpt when he says, "Tubman's efforts paid off and her goals were notably met. She traveled to the South approximately nineteen times, rescuing over three hundred African-American men, women, and children from bondage." Her first rescue mission was to Baltimore in 1850 in order to help her sister and her two children from slavery. Her journeys back into the land of slavery put her at tremendous risk; she used a variety of maneuvers to avoid detection. She disguised herself as many people and things as a means of not being caught. She would have rather died than seen innocent people of her race having to endure the adversity and torment of slavery. Harriet Tubman has been recognized as a potent leader of Anti-Slavery by many fellow abolitionists and historians.
Harriet Tubman took part in many antislavery meetings with leading abolitionists of the day affirming the depravity of slavery. Many of these powers accredited Tubman's efforts through letters and speeches. Wendell Phillips wrote a letter about both John Brown and Harriet Tubman in reference to their actions in supporting an Anti-Slavery America. Phillips wrote:
"The last time I ever saw John Brown was under my own roof, as he brought Harriet Tubman to me, saying: "Mr. Phillips, I bring you one of the best and bravest persons on this continent -- General Tubman, as we call her."
He then went on to recount her labors and sacrifices in behalf of her race. In my opinion there are few captains, perhaps few colonels, who have done more for the loyal cause since the war began, and few men who did before that time more for the colored race, than our fearless and most sagacious friend, Harriet."
Tubman dedicated her life to this lawful cause. She preached of the debauchery in enslaving an innocent, helpless race of people. She is known and appreciated for her hard work and dedication in the fields of an abolitionist, nurse, and feminist in her later years.
Many historians depict Harriet Tubman as a hero and leading power in the aspects of slavery. She is still respected even today, almost 100 years later, for her exceptional roles in the freeing of African American Slaves. Just recently there was a banquet held for Harriet Tubman at the Dorchester Elks Lodge, the town she was born in. Diana Thompson, a keynote speaker, honored Tubman's memory. In her speech she wrote, "She grew up on the Eastern Shore," Thompson said. "She lived a rich and full life and we are here to celebrate her." Thompson said the "fruits of her labor we do reap," Tubman "fought for African American rights," and she was a "true humanitarian." She is loved and remembered by all for her devotion to the Underground Railroad and her achievements in freeing slaves. Tubman is portrayed as a central activist for the eradication of slavery by several other abolitionists of her time.
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