Harriet Tubman

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Social Studies
African-American History

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Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman led many slaves to freedom by hiding, outsmarting and fighting off slaveowners, local government and even marshalls from the United States Federal government.

Harriet Tubman


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

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland around 1820. She worked in the fields and as a house servant on a plantation. She escaped in 1849 and became an important abolitionist. She was called "Moses" by many of the people she helped rescue. She went back to the South on 19 different occasions to guide 300 slaves, including her parents, to freedom. During the Civil War she continued to help free people and also worked as a cook, nurse, spy and scout for the Union army. In her later years she set up a home for aging and needy African Americans in Auburn, NY. She died March 10th, 1913.

Those who worked with Harriet Tubman and the "Underground Railroad" used railroad terminology to describe various parts of their system to free people. "Conductors" was code for people, like Harriet Tubman, who were guiding a group of slaves to freedom. "Passengers" were the escaped slaves they had with them. The "Railroad" was a series of routes or "tracks," also called "Freedom Trails," and safe houses or "Stations." Those who hid the slaves in their homes were "Station Masters." The "Drinking Gourd" referred to the Big Dipper, a constellation of which one star pointed to the North Star. Those escaping would use this as a compass to head north.

The "Underground Railroad" was neither underground, nor a railroad. It was a term used for a secret informal system to help slaves escape the Southern "Slave" States in the 1800's. Many thousands of slaves walked, ran, swam, or sailed to the Northern United States, Canada and other places where slavery was not allowed. Many people made their journey to freedom. Many did not.

Harriet Tubman National Monument

Contributors:Clavin, M. (2013). Underground railroad. In World Book Student. Retrieved from http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar574420 Clavin, M. (2013). Tubman, Harriet. In World Book Student. Retrieved from http://www.worldbookonline.com/student/article?id=ar569550 Franklin, T. D. (2013) Sounds of slavery In Internet Archive. Retrieved from http://archive.org/details/TDavidFranklinTheSoundsofSlavery


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