Harriet Tubman Fact 1: Harriet Tubman was born into slavery sometime around the year 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland in the United States of America. Years later, following her escape to freedom, she helped many others to escape slavery and she became an abolitionist, humanitarian, and during the Civil War, she became a Union Spy.
Harriet Tubman Fact 2: Her real name was Araminta 'Minty' Ross. Her parents were both slaves and their names were Ben and Harriet. They had different slave owners. Her mother was a cook and she was owned by Mary Pattison Brodess and her father was a skilled woodsman and he was owned by Anthony Thompson.
Harriet Tubman Fact 3: Her parents married around the year of 1808. Records suggest that they had nine children in total - Linah, Mariah Ritty, Soph, Robert, Minty (Harriet), Ben, Rachel, Henry and Moses.
Harriet Tubman Fact 4: Times were very hard for the Harriet Tubman's family. Edward Brodess split up their family when he sold Linah, Mariah Ritty and Soph. He then attempted to sell the youngest son but was stopped by their mother who hid the child and threatened to seriously harm anyone that tried to take him.
Harriet Tubman Fact 5: Harriet Tubman had to take care of her younger siblings as their mother was very busy serving their master. As a young child Brodess hired her to a woman called Miss Susan to watch over her baby whilst it slept. Each time the child awoke, Harriet Tubman was punished.
Harriet Tubman Fact 6: Also, as a child she was hired to a planter called James Cook to check muskrat traps. In later years, as with many slaves, Harriet Tubman was assigned to forest and field work.
Harriet Tubman Fact 7: Her childhood was very sorrowful as she was often punished and undervalued. Harriet Tubman suffered a head injury by an overseer who threw a pound weight at a slave and missed him, striking her head instead. It's thought that the injury caused headaches, epileptic seizures and powerful visions.
Harriet Tubman Fact 8: Harriet Tubman found comfort in the Old Testament of the Bible. She believed that her strong visions and dreams were messages and guidance from God, not a result of her severe head injury.
Harriet Tubman Fact 9: Records showed that Harriet Tubman's parents, and their children, were to be manumitted from slavery at the age of 45, meaning that they would become free from slavery. Her father became a free man around 1840 but her mother's owner chose to ignore the ruling and there was little that could be done about it.
Harriet Tubman Fact 10: Harriet Tubman changed her name from Araminta to Harriet soon after her marriage to a free black man called John Tubman. The reason she changed her name remains unknown, it might have been in honor of her mother.
Harriet Tubman Fact 11: Harriet Tubman became ill and her value to her owner, Edward Brodess, decreased. His attempts to sell her failed. As a result, she began to pray very hard for her master to change his ways. When her prayers were unanswered, she prayed that he would be killed. Edward Brodess died a week later.
Harriet Tubman Fact 12: Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery with two of her brothers on September 17th, 1849, however, her brothers couldn't go through with it so she returned with them. A short time later, she managed to escape slavery on her own using the Underground Railroad - her exact route is unknown.
Harriet Tubman Fact 13: The following quote by Harriet Tubman reflects upon her arrival in the Free State of Pennsylvania after her successful escape from Maryland, 'When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.'Harriet Tubman Fact 14: In 1850, Harriet Tubman helped her niece, Kessiah, and two children to escape to Philadelphia as they were about to be sold in Cambridge. Kessiah's husband was a free black man called John Bowley and he won the bid for his wife. Kessiah and the children managed to escape to a safe house whilst her husband was arranging payment. From here, John Bowley sailed 100 kilometres with his wife and children where he was met by Harriet Tubman and taken to Philadelphia.
Harriet Tubman Fact 15: She returned to Maryland around 13 times over 11 years to help other slaves escape. Her final trip was made in November 1860. She usually visited during the hours of darkness, particularly during the winter months. Harriet Tubman made friends along the Underground Railroad who would give her a safe place to stay and hide. Frederick Douglass was one of the people who assisted her. He too was a former slave. She returned to rescue her husband John but he'd since married and was happy. Although she was angry, she left him to his life and took some other people on the journey back to Philadelphia.
Short Facts about Harriet Tubman for Kids
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