Harriet Tubman

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Harriet Tubman is our heroine and she was a legendary black woman. We celebrate her life and legacy.
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    Harriet Tubman She was a heroine, who fought for our ancestors' rightful freedom. Throughout her life, she brought down tremendous barriers and possessed courage plus strength. Always an advocate for justice, Harriet Tubman gravitated her actions in the cause of social justice in order for real social change to transpire. She was born in the Eastern Shore region of Maryland. Not only did she escape slavery into freedom audaciously. She freed many of her own family members plus hundreds of other black human beings from bondage. Harriet Tubman was a leader of the Underground Railroad, which was a network of pathways, varied routes, and safe houses that helped thousands of black human beings to escape the tyranny of slavery. People of diverse colors and creeds were active participants in the Underground Railroad too. As a humanitarian and an abolitionist, Harriet Tubman displayed an excellent amount of human compassion and personal conviction. Threats against her life and posters of rewards (from racist southern slave owners) for her capture didn't deter her at all. She persisted onward as a heroine of the ages. Tubman fought for the Union during the U.S. Civil War by spying and leading a raid (called the Combahee Raid on July 2, 1863. Colonel James Montgomery was part of it as well. Afterwards, more than 750 black people were freed. Many of them joined the Union Army) to defeat the Confederate, traitorous enemy. After the American Civil War, she continued to advocate for equality and suffrage (or giving women the right to vote). Harriet Tubman lived a long life into the early 20th century. Constantly fighting for freedom, Harriet Tubman exemplified greatness and forthright, glorious consciousness. She risked her life for us. We owe a lot to her activism, her tenacity, and her indispensable sacrifice. Therefore, it is time for everyone to give Harriet Tubman even a greater amount of credit including gratitude for her actions of valor and her unconditional love for black people.    Early Life Harriet Tubman was born in ca. 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland. Her srcinal name was Araminta Ross. Her parents were slaves too. Their names were Harriet Green (or Rit) and Ben Ross. Harriet Green was oppressed by Mary Pattison Brodess (and later her son Edward). Ben was oppressed by Anthony Thompson, who was Mary's second husband. Mary and Anthony ran a plantation near Blackwater River in Madison, Maryland. Also, Tubman's maternal grandmother arrived into America on a slave ship from Africa. She was told that she was of Ashanti lineage (which is found in Ghana. There is no evidence to confirm or deny the assertion). Harriet Tubman's mother, Rit, was a cook for the Brodess family. Ben was a skilled woodsman. He managed the timber work on Thompson's plantation. Rit and Ben married in ca. 1808. They had nine children together according to court records. Their names are: Linah, Mariah Ritty, Soph, Robert, Minty (Harriet), Ben, Rachel, Henry, and Moses. Slavery threatened to split the family apart. Edward Brodess sold three of Rit's daughters (Linah, Mariah Ritty, and Soph). They were separated from the family permanently. One trader from Georgia wanted Brodess to buy Rit's youngest son, Moses. So, Harriet Tubman hid Moses for a month. She was assisted by other slaves and free black people in the community. Harriet Tubman confronted the slave owners about the sale. When Brodess and the Georgia man came into the slave quarters to try to seize the child, something happened. Rit told them, You are after my son; but the first man that comes into my house, I will split his head open. Then, Brodess backed away and didn't participate in the sale. This even influenced Tubman's resistance mentality according to her biographers. Tubman's mother worked in the big house. She struggled to find time for her family. Tubman took care of a younger brother and baby. Harriet Tubman worked for a woman named Miss Susan when she was five or six years old. She was a nursemaid. She took care of a baby. She was lashed five times before breakfast on one day. She had those scars for the rest of her life. She resisted by running away for five days. Harriet Tubman fought back and wore layers of clothing to protect herself from the beatings. She also worked for a planter named James Cook. She checked the muskrat traps in marshes. She had the measles. She was so sick  that she went to the Brodess and her mother healed her. As she became older, she did field and forest work. She drove oxen, plowed, and hauled logs. She was illiterate as a child. She believed in God and in the deliverance sections of the Old Testament. She was inspired by spirituality throughout her life. She was beaten constantly by slave owners in Dorchester County, Maryland. She was hit in the head when she was hit by a heavy metal weight. That injury caused her to have epileptic seizures, headaches, visions, and dream experiences. This existed throughout her life. This occurred after one time, the adolescent Tubman was sent to a dry goods store for supplies. She saw a slave owned by another family, who had left the fields without permission. His overseer wanted her to help restrain the slave. She refused. The slave ran away. The overseer threw a 2 pound weight at him. It struck her. Her hair saved her life. She was unconscious and bleeding. She had no medical care for 2 days. It was a miracle that she survived. She was sent back to the fields. She had blood and sweat on her face. Some believe that she had temporal lobe epilepsy as a product from the injury. She had seizures and many like-minded episodes. Escape from Slavery On 1840, Tubman's father (or Ben) was manumitted from slavery at the age of 45. This was stipulated in a former owner's will. His actual age was closer to 55. He worked as a timber estimator and foreman for the Thompson family. Years later, Tubman used a white attorney to investigate her mother's legal status. He was paid 5 dollars. The lawyer found that a former owner had issued instructions that Rit like her husband would be manumitted by 45 years old. The record showed a similar provision to Rit's children and any children born after she reached 45 years old age were legally free. The Pattison and Brodess families ignored this document. Tubman wanted to free her family. At 1844, Harriet Tubman married a free black man. His name was John Tubman. It was a complicated union since Tubman was once a slave during this time. Blended marriages of free people of color marrying enslaved people were common in the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Half of the black population in that region was free. Most African American families had both free and enslaved members. Tubman changed her name from Arminta to Harriet after her marriage. She might have adopted her mother's name out of religious conversion or to honor another relative.  Harriet Tubman was ill again in 1849. Edward Brodess tried to sell her, but no one would buy her. She was angry at slavery and her family’s suffering. So, Tubman Harriet Tubman prayed for the owner to change his ways. She said later: I prayed all night long for my master till the first of March; and all the time he was bringing people to look at me, and trying to sell me. When it appeared as though a sale was being concluded, I changed my prayer, she said. First of March I began to pray, 'Oh Lord, if you ain't never going to change that man's heart, kill him, Lord, and take him out of the way. A week later, Brodess died, and Tubman expressed regret for her earlier sentiments. Brodess's death could have increased the likelihood that Tubman would be sold and her family broken apart. His widow was Eliza. Eliza worked to sell the family's slaves. Then, Tubman decided to escape. She didn't wait for Eliza to continue evil any longer among her and her family. [T]here was one of two things I had a right to, she explained later, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other. Tubman was hired out to Dr. Anthony Thompson. He owned a large plantation in Popular Neck in neighboring Caroline County. On September 17, 1849 , Tubman (and her brothers Ben and Henry) escaped from slavery. Eliza didn't realize her escape for a time, because the slaves were hired out for some time. Eliza posted a runaway notice in the Cambridge Democrat. Eliza offered 100 dollars for each slave returned. Tubman's brothers had second thoughts in the beginning. Ben may have just become a father. The 2 men went back. Tubman returned with them. Later, Tubman escaped again. She left without her brothers. She tried to tell her mother of her plans. She sang a coded song to Mary, a trusted fellow slave, that was a farewell. I'll meet you in the morning, she intoned, I'm bound for the promised land. Harriet Tubman used the Underground Railroad to help her travel into the North. The Underground Railroad was made up of organized systems of free and enslaved black people plus abolitionists including other activists. One large member of the network was the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers. The Preston area near Poplar Neck in Caroline County contained a substantial Quaker community and was probably an important first stop during Tubman's escape. She took a route northeast along the Choptank River via Delaware and then north into Pennsylvania. She traveled almost 90 miles. She walked by foot. This took from 5 days to three weeks. She used the North Star to travel by night. She avoided slave catchers. The conductors of the Underground Railroad were very successful. Tubman traveled into a friendly house and hid in many locales. She knew of the land. She was happy to reach Pennsylvania. She said that it felt like Heaven to be free. She was called Moses by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison because of her courageous actions. Moses was from the story of Exodus who freed Hebrews from slavery in ancient Egypt She worked in Maryland to rescue people. Moses was used in code via songs like Go Down Moses  to signal her act to free her people. She changed the tempo of singing to mention whether it was either safe or too dangerous. Go Down Moses song was sung by black regiments during the Civil War and it's song today to pay tribute to Tubman and to various struggles for freedom. Harriet Tubman traveled into Philadelphia. She missed her father, mother, brothers, and sisters. She saved money by working jobs. The evil Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 wanted to punish slaves who escaped. It funded law enforcement to kidnap black people. Therefore, many black people sought refuse in Southern Ontario. Ontario banned slavery by that time. In Philadelphia, many poor Irish immigrants competed with free black people for work increasing racial tensions. On December 1850, Harriet Tubman was told something. It was about her niece Kessiah and her two children (6 year old James Alfred and baby Araminta) about to be sold in Cambridge. She came into action to stop this. She came into Baltimore where her brother in law Tom Tubman hid her until the sale. Kessiah's husband was a free black man named John Bowley. Bowley, Kessiah, and their children escaped into a nearby safe house. By night, Bowley sailed the family to Baltimore where they met Tubman. Tubman brought the family to Philadelphia. During the next spring, Harriet Tubman helped to free her other family members. During this second trip, Tubman found her brother Moses and 2
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