Harriet Tubman Day: March 10

Established 1990 by the U.S. President and Congress

Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman escaped slavery to freedom and led more than 300 other slaves to their freedom, too. Harriet Tubman was acquainted with many of the social reformers and abolitionists of her time, and she spoke against slavery and for women's rights. Tubman died March 10, 1913.

In 1990 the US Congress and President George H. W. Bush first declared March 10 to be Harriet Tubman Day. In 2003 New York State established the holiday.


Public Law 101-252 / March 13, 1990: 101ST Congress (S.J. Res. 257)

Joint Resolution
To designate March 10, 1990, as “Harriet Tubman Day”       

Whereas Harriet Ross Tubman was born into slavery in Bucktown, Maryland, in or around the year 1820; 

Whereas she escaped slavery in 1849 and became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad; 

Whereas she undertook a reported nineteen trips as a conductor, endeavoring despite great hardship and great danger to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom; 

Whereas Harriet Tubman became an eloquent and effective speaker on behalf of the movement to abolish slavery; 

Whereas she served in the Civil War as a soldier, spy, nurse, scout, and cook, and as a leader in working with newly freed slaves; 

Whereas after the War, she continued to fight for human dignity, human rights, opportunity, and justice; and 

Whereas Harriet Tubman—whose courageous and dedicated pursuit of the promise of American ideals and common principles of humanity continues to serve and inspire all people who cherish freedom—died at her home in Auburn, New York, on March 10, 1913; Now, therefore, be it 

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That March 10, 1990 be designated as “Harriet Tubman Day,” to be observed by the people of the United States with appropriate ceremonies and activities. 

Approved March 13, 1990.

Congressional record, Vol. 136 (1990):
Mar. 6, considered and passed Senate.
Mar. 7, considered and passed House.


From the White House, signed by "George Bush," then President of the United States:

Proclamation 6107 - Harriet Tubman Day, 1990
March 9, 1990

A Proclamation

In celebrating Harriet Tubman's life, we remember her commitment to freedom and rededicate ourselves to the timeless principles she struggled to uphold. Her story is one of extraordinary courage and effectiveness in the movement to abolish slavery and to advance the noble ideals enshrined in our Nation's Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

After escaping from slavery herself in 1849, Harriet Tubman led hundreds of slaves to freedom by making a reported 19 trips through the network of hiding places known as the Underground Railroad. For her efforts to help ensure that our Nation always honors its promise of liberty and opportunity for all, she became know as the "Moses of her People."

Serving as a nurse, scout, cook, and spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, Harriet Tubman often risked her own freedom and safety to protect that of others. After the war, she continued working for justice and for the cause of human dignity. Today we are deeply thankful for the efforts of this brave and selfless woman -- they have been a source of inspiration to generations of Americans.

In recognition of Harriet Tubman's special place in the hearts of all who cherish freedom, the Congress has passed Senate Joint Resolution 257 in observance of "Harriet Tubman Day," March 10, 1990, the 77th anniversary of her death.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 10, 1990, as Harriet Tubman Day, and I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fourteenth.