Harriet Tubman

A Brief Biography

Gabriel García Márquez

Harriet Tubman, born Araminta Ross around 1822, was an extraordinary woman who played a crucial role in the fight against slavery in the United States. She was born into slavery in Maryland, where she endured the harsh realities of enslaved life from an early age. Despite the brutal conditions, Tubman showed remarkable resilience and strength. In 1849, she made a daring escape to freedom, traveling alone over 90 miles to Pennsylvania. This journey was just the beginning of her incredible work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used to help enslaved people escape to free states and Canada.

As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Tubman returned to the South at great personal risk multiple times to lead others to freedom. She guided approximately 70 enslaved individuals, including members of her own family, to safety. Tubman was known for her strategic brilliance, often traveling by night and using the North Star as her guide. Her bravery and dedication earned her the nickname "Moses," after the biblical figure who led his people to freedom. Her ability to evade capture and her unyielding commitment to justice made her a legendary figure in American history.

Tubman's contributions extended beyond the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, she worked for the Union Army as a nurse, cook, and spy. Her knowledge of the terrain and her ability to gather intelligence were invaluable to Union forces. In 1863, she became the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, guiding the Combahee River Raid, which resulted in the liberation of more than 700 enslaved people. Tubman's wartime efforts demonstrated her versatility and unwavering dedication to the cause of freedom.

After the Civil War, Harriet Tubman continued to fight for equality and justice. She settled in Auburn, New York, where she became an active participant in the women's suffrage movement, advocating for women's right to vote. Despite her significant contributions, Tubman struggled financially in her later years. In 1896, she established the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, a place where elderly African Americans could receive care. This endeavor showcased her lifelong commitment to helping others, even as she faced her own hardships.

Harriet Tubman's legacy is one of courage, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment to justice. She passed away in 1913, but her impact on American history remains profound. Tubman is remembered not only for her daring rescues and contributions to the abolitionist movement but also for her humanitarian efforts and advocacy for women's rights. Her story continues to inspire generations, reminding us of the power of resilience and the importance of fighting for equality and freedom for all.