Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

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Harriet Tubman Who is a great female hero from the 1800s? Who freed herself from slavery? Who freed other people from slavery? Not Wonder Woman, but Harriet Tubman. As you will see Harriet Tubman is a hero as seen through her personal background and lifetime accomplishments.

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I.Childhood
Harriet Tubman was born Arminta Ross in 1820. She was born a slave in Bucktown, Maryland which is on the Eastern Shore. Her parents were Harriet Green and Benjamin Ross. Her father taught her everything he knew about the woods and this will help her later. She was nicknamed Minty before she started to go by her mother's name Harriet. She had 10 brothers and sisters and her owner was Edward Brodas. She believed that her family was part of the Ashanti tribe. All they had to eat was cornmeal, smoked herring, and pork. They had no oven so all their food was cooked outside.
She started to work when she was five years old. She was sold to James Cook to weave. That weaving made her cough and sneeze so she started watching muskrat traps in the icy river. She got a severe cough and a high fever. She was sent home to get better. When she was seven she started to baby-sit. She stole a lump of sugar one day and was going to get whipped so she ran away. When she came back she got whipped severely. This is when she learned to wear extra clothes to pad herself from the whip. She yelled just to keep her masters happy and to keep them from knowing she didn't really feel anything. When she was a teenager she was used as a field hand because that was her stronger point. She saw a slave running across the field and stepped in the way of the guard and ended up getting hit in the head with a 2-pound lead block. She was in a coma for weeks and ended up having blackouts for the rest of her life. Then, she was to be sold further south and prayed all the time that her master would die and he did. She was such a good field hand that when work was slacking, she could hire herself and get paid fifty dollars at the Stewart Plantation.

II. Journey to Freedom
She thought about getting married when she was in her early twenties. She met john Tubman when she was 24. John was a free man. She married him in 1844. She later found out that she was born free, but she lived as a slave, so she was considered as one. She started to have visions in 1850 that told her to run for her life. She told John about this and that she wanted to escape, but he threatened to tell on her. She had to be free though. She made an escape plan based on what she knew. She knew that anyone who helped fugitives got 15 years in prison. She also knew that freedom was 100 miles away and that you had to follow rivers, moss that grows north on trees, and the North Star.
It was finally time to leave so Harriet and two of her brothers started on their journey. They didn't get very far when her brothers got scared and turned back. Harriet kept going alone. She was 29, penniless, and only relied on her courage and dream of freedom. The first stop was at a sweet old woman's house. There she was fed and given a map to the next safe house. In return Harriet gave the woman a quilt. At her next stop she had to sweep the porch so it would look like she was a new servant. Here she was told to climb onto a vegetable wagon and cover up. She made most of her journey alone on foot. Most of the time she had no shelter. She decided she would be free or die before she would be a slave again. She mainly followed the Choptank River and stayed away from the roads. Her favorite places to travel through were cemeteries. She also slept in them. She finally made it to freedom in Philadelphia in 1849.

III. Life as a Free Woman
She was free and decided that she needed a job to survive. She became a cook in a hotel for one dollar a day. She rented a room near the hotel and got lonely. She missed her family and wanted to bring them to freedom. She went to the Eastern Station to learn about the Underground Railroad. She learned about the Fugitive Slave Act that was passed in1850 and that her sister Mary was going to be sold.
She went to rescue her sister Mary and her children. This would be her first experience as a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad. When she got to the plantation her sister Mary was gone. Mary's husband John had to pose as an agent and buy his family. He got his family and they all escaped. The first rescue was a success because Harriet planned it out. She returned to Maryland in 1851 to rescue her brother John. She also wanted to check on her husband. She got there and found out that John had a new wife named Caroline and that he didn't want to live with Harriet. She made 17 more trips and rescued 300 more slaves. She always changed her route so it would be harder for her to be caught. She sang hymns and used the lyrics as a code among the slaves. She knew that Canada was the only true place of freedom. In 1851 she went to visit Canada to make sure it was good enough to bring slaves to. She approved and started to take slaves to Canada. She even started having visions of being called "Moses". Her capture was worth 40,000 dollars and she didn't worry because she thought she was invincible. She had a friend that was named Thomas Garnett. He was a shoemaker that made sure that all of the slaves had a good pair of shoes on their feet. Harriet never let anyone turn back so that her secrets were kept secret. She vowed that they would be free or be killed by being shot. She heard that 3 of her brothers were to be sold after Christmas so she went back to rescue them and she rescued her 70 year old parents. She also helped in the Civil War. She was a cook, nurse, and a spy. She recruited fugitive slaves for the attack on Harper's Ferry, but fell ill before the attack. She respected John Brown and stayed away from public when he was hanged. She didn't recover from her illness until the spring. She was the bravest person that John Brown and Fredrick Douglass knew.
Harriet Tubman was a very respected woman. She saved many lives including the ones of her family. She may have lost her husband, but she didn't let that stop her rescue missions. It's a mystery what America would be like if she didn't do what she did. As you can see Harriet Tubman's personal background and lifetime accomplishments make her a hero. To some people a great hero.
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