Harriet Tubman: BOSS
Updated: Apr 10, 2018
Harriet Tubman is well-known for her role as a “conductor” in the Underground Railroad, but less known for her exploits as an armed scout and spy in the Union Army.
Born into slavery in Maryland, Tubman escaped to freedom in the North in 1849. Rather than enjoy the relative security that gave her, though, she returned to slave territory again and again to save hundreds of friends, family-members, and others using a secret network of safe homes known as the Underground Railroad. During a ten-year span, Tubman led 19 groups that resulted in freedom for over 300 people. Tubman is quoted as saying, “On my Underground Railroad, I never run my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”
Already a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War broke out, Tubman took on many other roles for the Union Army thereafter. One of her most notable exploits was the Raid at Combahee Ferry, a military operation that she guided and which freed more than 750 slaves—many of whom joined the Union Army. Her boldness earned her the nickname, while not the official rank of, “General” Tubman.
After the Civil War ended, Tubman dedicated her life to helping impoverished former slaves and the elderly. When she died, she was buried with semi-military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York. A plaque was erected on the Auburn Courthouse in her honor. Dozens of schools since have been named in her honor, and both the Harriet Tubman Home and the Harriet Tubman Museum serve as monuments to her extraordinary accomplishments.
More recently, Harriet Tubman was selected as the next face of the $20 bill, replacing seventh president Andrew Jackson. Keep your eyes open in the years to come; the new bill’s design is scheduled to be revealed in 2020.
This post is part of YOUmedia's recognition of Black History Month. Come back for more throughout the month.