We are celebrating Inspiring Black American Heroes Every Week in February. This week, we learn about the contributions of Harriet Tubman, an American abolitionist, humanitarian, social activist, and suffragist.
Special thanks to Choir Member and long-time Unity Member, Jeannine W. Baldwin, for providing this inspiring write-up.
Harriet Tubman (born Araminta “Minty” Ross) was born in March 1822 into slavery in Maryland. Tubman was beaten and whipped by enslavers as a child. Early in life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate overseer threw a heavy metal weight, intending to hit another slave. After her injury, Tubman began experiencing vivid visions and dreams which she often claimed were “premonitions from God” that influenced her actions throughout her life.
Escaping Slavery and Starting the Underground Railroad
After escaping slavery, Tubman made 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known collectively as the Underground Railroad.
“I never lost a passenger. I was free and they should be free.” - Harriet Tubman
Serving as a Nurse, an Armed Scout, and Spy for the Union Army
When the Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army first as a cook and nurse and later as an armed scout and spy. She is credited as the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war.
A force to be Reckoned With
Though just over five feet tall, she was a force to be reckoned with, although it took over three decades for the government to recognize her military contributions and award her financially.
Continues to Serve and Care for others until her Final Days
In her later years, Tubman worked to promote the cause of women’s suffrage alongside women such as Susan B. Anthony. Diagnosed with Pneumonia, Harriet Tubman made her transition on March 10, 1913, but her legacy of courage, freedom, and caring for others lives on in perpetuity.
“I AM FREE, I AM UNLIMITED, THERE ARE NO CHAINS THAT BIND ME.” - Harriet Tubman