Harriet Tubman

Born an enslaved person on the eastern shore of Maryland, Harriet Tubman fled north to freedom. There she joined the secret network of free Black Americans and white sympathizers who helped runaways – the “Underground Railroad.” She became a “conductor” who risked her life to lead people to freedom.

Tubman returned time after time to her native Maryland, bringing out her relatives and as many as 300 other enslaved people . The shadowy figure of the conductor “Moses” became so feared that a huge reward was put on “his” head. Enslaver did not at first believe a woman capable of such daring. Cool, resourceful, skilled in the use of disguise and diversions, she is said to have carried a pistol, telling the faint-hearted they must go on or die. Only illness prevented Harriet Tubman from joining John Brown in the raid on Harper’s Ferry.

When the Civil War began, she worked among enslaved people who fled enslavement and flocked to Union lines. She organized many of them into spy and scout networks that operated behind Confederate lines from bases on islands off the coast of the Carolinas. After the war she devoted herself to caring for orphaned Black children, and worked to promote the establishment of freedmen’s schools in
the South.

Year Honored: 1973
Birth: c.1820 - 1913
Born In: Maryland
Achievements: Humanities
Worked In: Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Canada, United States of America