Harriet Tubman Facts

Underground Railroad Conductor

Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman. Seidman Photo Service/Kean Collection/Getty Images

Harriet Tubman was a fugitive slave, underground railroad conductor, abolitionist, spy, soldier, Civil War, African American, nurse, known for her work with Underground Railroad, Civil War service, and later, her advocacy of civil rights and woman suffrage.

Occupation: Fugitive slave, underground railroad conductor, abolitionist, spy, soldier, Civil War, African American, nurse

Dates: About 1820 - March 10, 1913​

Also known as: Araminta Green or Araminta Ross (birth name), Harriet Ross, Harriet Ross Tubman, Moses

Harriet Tubman Day is celebrated on March 10 in her honor.

About Harriet Tubman

Born a slave in Maryland, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in 1849. She later led more than 300 other slaves to the North and to Canada to their freedom. The best-known conductor on the Underground Railroad, she was acquainted with many of the social reformers and abolitionists of her time, and she spoke against slavery and for women's rights.

In the Civil War

During the Civil War, Tubman served with the U.S. Army in South Carolina as a nurse, scout, spy, and soldier. Most famously she led the Combahee River expedition, under the command of James Montgomery, helping to blow up Southern supply lines and free hundreds of slaves. 

After the Civil War

In the almost half-century she lived after the war ended, Harriet Tubman helped a biographer publish her life story, spoke for the rights of women and African Americans, helped organize the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Zion Church, and set up a home for indigent aged African Americans.

Harriet Tubman fought for a military pension, but was only able to win a widow's pension on account of her second husband's service. When Harriet Tubman died, the people of Auburn buried her with full military honors. 

Organizations/Religion

New England Anti-Slavery Society, General Vigilance Committee, Underground Railroad, National Federation of Afro-American Women, National Association of Colored Women, New England Women's Suffrage Association, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

Keep Going

“Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” 

These words have long been attributed to Tubman, but there is no evidence for or against them being an actual quote of Harriet Tubman's words.

Harriet Tubman on the Currency

In April, 2016, Jacob J. Lew, Secretary of the Treasury, announced several upcoming changes to United States currency.  Among the most controversial: that the $20 bill, which had featured Andrew Jackson on the front, would instead feature Harriet Tubman on the face.  (Other women and civil rights leaders would be added to the $5 and $10 notes.)  Jackson, infamous for the removal of Cherokees from their land in the Trail of Tears, resulting in many deaths of Native Americans, also enslaved people of  African descent, while endearing himself to the "common [white] man" and honored as a war hero.  Jackson would move to the back of the bill in a smaller image along with an image of the White House.

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Harriet Tubman Facts." ThoughtCo, Apr. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/harriet-tubman-facts-3529276. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2017, April 8). Harriet Tubman Facts. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/harriet-tubman-facts-3529276 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Harriet Tubman Facts." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/harriet-tubman-facts-3529276 (accessed December 13, 2017).