The Life of Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman is a towering figure in American history — but you might not even know how much she truly accomplished.

The Life and Legacy of Harriet Tubman

She was born into slavery as Araminta “Minty” Ross. Like many slaves, the exact date of her birth is unknown. She grew up on a Maryland plantation with eight siblings. At 12, she was struck in the head by a lead weight thrown by an angry slave owner. For the rest of her life she felt the effects of brain damage.

Around 1844, she married John Tubman a free black man and changed her name to Harriet to honor her mother. In 1849, her owner died, and she decided to flee. She made it 90 miles north to Pennsylvania using the secret network known as The Underground Railroad. After her escape she formed her own Underground Railroad network and helped guide dozens more slaves to freedom. By 1860, she had made 19 trips back to slave country to rescue people.

During the U.S. Civil War, she worked with the Union Army as a scout, a nurse and even a spy. In one of her most significant accomplishments, Tubman helped lead the 1863 raid on Combahee River. In 1908, she helped open The Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged — a center to care for people with brain conditions.

She has a legacy not only in terms of freedom of inspired enslaved people, not only in terms of African descended communities in the United States, but for reform more generally, for women’s rights, and she stands as a symbol of liberty in so many ways, of democracy in so many ways in terms of really sort of taking it upon herself to affect change.

She died in 1913 and was buried in New York with military honors after a life of activisim, fighting for your rights, and changing the world for generations to come.


05/24/2019 9:22 PM
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  • Mel O.
    05/24/2019 21:35

    Put her picture on a $1.50 bill. More appropriate. If she is on a $20 bill, I don't know if I will get my change back.!!

  • Brut
    05/24/2019 21:51

    Harriet Tubman was supposed to be the new face of the $20 bill in 2020, replacing slave owner and president Andrew Jackson. But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that won't be happening until after President Trump leaves office.

  • Verneeda T.
    05/25/2019 00:09

    Why because she’s black and help her people to freedom we build America with a backbone so if you don’t want that 20 dollar bill in your hand are your picket give it to charity black America are not the only ones fighting for right to America history un justice to god

  • Gertraud B.
    05/25/2019 07:06

    What an amazing woman! She is a role model for any girl, regardless of colour, origin or class.

  • Carol G.
    05/25/2019 14:21

    What an amazing woman!!

  • Carol G.
    05/25/2019 14:22

    How could women in slavery marry free men? Wouldn’t they be free then?

  • Debra S.
    05/25/2019 14:51


  • Annie L.
    05/26/2019 14:19

    A Rich History 🎉🤗🎉

  • Jan P.
    05/26/2019 18:43

    an amazing person, woman, and American.

  • Jan P.
    05/26/2019 18:50

    slavery was a blight on the whole universe. has been since day one, it seems. It cannot be erased by changing everything, doing away with everything or everybody who participated,or we would undo all of history. better yet, we learn from the past, to refues it to happen anymore. Something else, more important than a piece of paper, or currency even, should be built in her honor, in a special place, for all to see and learn of the extrodinary person she was. how many actually see our $20.00 bill and think of Andrew Jackson as some one to emulate? I don't, just pass it along and wish I had a $50.00 bill.

  • Dan B.
    05/27/2019 13:47

    If you're happy slavery was abolished thank a republican

  • Charles M.
    05/27/2019 18:02

    Illuminati is trying to tarnish her name and image

  • Charles M.
    05/27/2019 18:09

    Black people who are Israelites, this is not our land and they can never pay reparations to amend the cruelty they imbued on our people. This is a slap in the face to Ms Tubman and I'm sure she would take her shotgun and shoot you for this insult. You can't buy our freedom. You put her image on a dollar bill but you still control it. WAKE UP ISRAELITES

  • Wanda P.
    05/27/2019 19:11

    An amazing woman!

  • Ann M.
    05/27/2019 19:59

    Thank you for this history. Harriet Tubman has long been a great hero for me

  • Ardetta M.
    05/28/2019 06:10

    An.AMAZING woman!!!

  • Georgia Q.
    05/30/2019 04:02

    What as Amazing Woman!Amazing!

  • Richard V.
    05/30/2019 18:07

    Wonderful Story

  • Carolyn W.
    05/30/2019 23:15

    I read the book "The Freedom Train" about her when I was 8 yrs old. That was in 1955. She's had a special place in my heart ever since!

  • Maria S.
    06/01/2019 03:02

    Una mujer excepcional