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  • Escaping slavery;

  • risking everything to save her family;

  • leading a military raid;

  • championing the cause of women's suffrage;

  • these are just a handful of the accomplishments

  • of one of America's most courageous heroes.

  • Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross in Dorchester County, Maryland,

  • in the early 1820s.

  • Born into chattel slavery, Araminta, or Minty, was the fifth of nine children.

  • Two of Minty's older sisters were sold to a chain gang.

  • Even as a small child,

  • Minty was hired out to different owners,

  • who subjected her to whippings and punishment.

  • Young Minty's life changed forever on an errand to a neighborhood store.

  • There, an overseer threw a two-pound weight at a fugitive enslaved person,

  • missed, and struck Minty instead.

  • Her injury caused her to experience sleeping spells,

  • which we know of today as narcolepsy,

  • for the rest of her life.

  • Minty's owner tried to sell her,

  • but there were no buyers for an enslaved person who fell into sleeping spells.

  • She was instead put to work with her father, Ben Ross,

  • who taught her how to lumber.

  • Lumbering increased Minty's physical strength

  • and put her in touch with free black sailors who shipped the wood to the North.

  • From them, Minty learned about the secret communications

  • that occurred along trade routes,

  • information that would prove invaluable later in her life.

  • In this mixed atmosphere of free and enslaved blacks working side by side,

  • Minty met John Tubman, a free black man she married in 1844.

  • After marriage, she renamed herself Harriet, after her mother.

  • Harriet Tubman's owner died in 1849.

  • When his widow planned to sell off her enslaved human beings,

  • Harriet feared she would be sold away from everyone she loved.

  • She had heard of anunderground railroad,"

  • a secret network of safe houses,

  • boat captains,

  • and wagon drivers

  • willing to harbor fugitive enslaved people on their way north.

  • So Tubman fled with two of her brothers, Ben and Harry.

  • They eventually turned back, fearing they were lost.

  • But in one of her sleeping spells,

  • Harriet dreamed that she could fly like a bird.

  • Looking down below, she saw the path to liberation.

  • And in the autumn of 1849, she set out on her own,

  • following the North Star to Pennsylvania, and to freedom.

  • Tubman returned to the South 13 times to free her niece,

  • brothers,

  • parents,

  • and many others.

  • She earned the nickname Black Moses

  • and worked diligently with fellow abolitionists

  • to help enslaved people escape,

  • first to the North, and later to Canada.

  • Harriet Tubman worked as a Union army nurse,

  • scout,

  • and spy during the Civil War.

  • In 1863, she became the first woman in United States history

  • to plan and lead a military raid,

  • liberating nearly 700 enslaved persons in South Carolina.

  • After the war, the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

  • legally abolished slavery,

  • while the 14th expanded citizenship

  • and the 15th gave voting rights to formerly enslaved black men.

  • But she was undaunted, and she persisted.

  • She raised funds for formerly enslaved persons

  • and helped build schools and a hospital on their behalf.

  • In 1888, Tubman became more active in the fight for women's right to vote.

  • In 1896, she appeared at the founding convention

  • of the National Association of Colored Women in Washington D.C.

  • and later at a woman's suffrage meeting in Rochester, New York.

  • There she told the audience:

  • “I was a conductor on the Underground Railroad,

  • and I can say what many others cannot.

  • I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger.”

  • As her fame grew,

  • various friends and allies helped her in the fight

  • to collect a veteran's pension for her service in the Union Army.

  • In 1899, she was finally granted $20 a month.

  • In a fitting twist of fate,

  • the United States Treasury announced in 2016

  • that Tubman's image will appear on a redesigned twenty dollar bill.

  • Harriet Tubman died on March 10, 1913.

  • Even on her deathbed at age 91,

  • she kept the freedom of her people in mind.

  • Her final words were:

  • "I go away to prepare a place for you.”

Escaping slavery;

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B2 US TED-Ed harriet enslaved slavery suffrage fugitive

The breathtaking courage of Harriet Tubman - Janell Hobson

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    ally.chang posted on 2020/02/25
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