Harriet Tubman The Hero of the Underground Railroad

Harriet's Childhood

Harriet Tubman was born somewhere around the 1820 in Dorchester Country, Maryland. Her birthdate was never recorded since her parents could neither read or write. Her whole childhood, she was rented in to white families as a house servant. But Harriet was not good with housework and her owners weren't happy.

"I grew up like a neglected weed, ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it" - Harriet Tubman recalls her childhood.

The Injury

When Harriet was fifteen she saw a runaway slave in the field. The slave's master was running behind, yelling to grab the slave. But Harriet not only refused to seize the runaway, but she stood in the way of the overseer. In rage he grabbed a heavy lead weight and hurled it at the runaway. But he missed, and the the weight hit Harriet in the head.

After the injury, Tubman remained in a coma for many days. She had a dent in her head that remained there her whole life. She also couldn't stay up for longer than fifteen minutes before falling asleep. The only way for her be up, was to do exhausting physical work. It circulated her blood flow and improved her condition. But even after Harriet somehow recovered from her injury, she still couldn't stop thinking how slaves should not be treated the way they are just because of a difference in skin color.

Harriet's Visions

Later on, Harriet was sold to a rice plantation with her brothers. There she married John Tubman. After the marriage she started looking back into her childhood. Tubman had always heard rumors that her mother had been freed before Harriet was born, that way she would be free too. She had spent her last savings to hire a lawyer to investigate her status. The lawyer found out that her mother was indeed a free woman and so was she. But no judge would consider her free since she lived her entire life as a slave. Then the plantation's owner had died. And all his slaves were scared abut their future. For Tubman, she started having visions and voices in her head telling her to escape through the underground railroad. It wasn't an actual railroad, but instead a huge net of tunnels slaved used to escape to free states and Canada.

The Escape

One night Tubman and her brothers decided to escape the plantation. But as her journey went on, Harriet's brothers decide to turn back and she continues on her own. She made stops at white people's houses that don't support slavery to help Tubman along her journey. Soon enough Harriet arrived in Philadelphia, a free city. There she found a job as a cook in a hotel and eared one dollar a day.

A map of the Underground Railroad Trails

The Conductor

Though Harriet Tubman was now free, she was very lonely, living all alone in Philadelphia. In 1850, she heard that her sister's whole family was going to be sold out of the rice plantations they worked and lived on. So Harriet organizes the escape of her sister from Maryland to Philadelphia. In 1851, she returned to Dorchester County for her husband, but he refused to leave and stayed with his new wife Caroline. The Tubmans never saw each other again after that. In the following years, Harriet Tubman helped hundreds of slaves escape to Canada. She took the in little groups and traveled with them secretly through Thousands of miles by foot or hidden in wagons. She used many tricks. If a white person noticed her alone, she would act like a humble slave, bowing and scraping before the white person so she wouldn't look like someone guilty of rebellious activity. The white person would eventually leave her alone.

a Spy, a Nurse, and a Nurse

In 1860, Harriet made her last trip through the underground railroad. The following year the Civil War broke out. The roads were crowded with slaves who lost their masters and most were hungry, homeless, and desperately ill. Harriet took in action and used traditional herbal teas and other medicine to cure the sick. She also took on the job of a scout and spy. She posed as a peddler who sold chicken and gingerbread. This way she earned a little money and the Confederate soldiers wouldn't get suspicious.

A famous photograph of Harriet Tubman during the Civil War


In 1913, Harriet Tubman fell ill with pneumonia. She died on March, 10, 1913. She was 93 years old when she died


Harriet Tubman made a great influence on the country. She helped stop slavery. She freed hundreds of slaves. She helped out so many people during the Civil War without getting paid at all. She was brave, and without her, the country would be very different.



Brave, Strong, Determined

Daughter of Harriet Greene, the Moses of her people

Who loved freedom and equality

Who hated slavery and the idea of one race being better than the other, and loved to help her people

Who feared that slavery might not stop, feared that her children might not be free, feared that she might not make a difference

Who change the way of history forever and helped stop slavery

Who wanted to make a positive change in history and equality in races

Born in Dorchester County, Maryland, died in Auburn, New York



  • Schraff, Anne, Harriet Tubman Moses of the Underground Railroad, Berkley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers Inc. 2001, Print
  • “Harriet Tubman.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 5 Jan. 2017, www.biography.com/people/harriet-tubman-9511430#escape-from-slavery-and-abolitionism. Accessed 2 Mar. 2017.
  • “Timeline of the Life of Harriet Tubman.” Harriet Tubman, www.harriet-tubman.org/timeline/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2017.


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