These are the most commonly asked questions about Harriet Tubman. Read on and learn more about this African American heroine.

What was Harriet Tubman’s real name?
At birth her parents named her Araminta Ross.

Why did she change her name?
She changed her name before escaping so that it would be difficult to track her. She adopted the name Harriet after mother and took her husband’s last name, Tubman.

What was Tubman’s nickname?
Her parents called her “Minty” as a child and as a adult, those she guided to freedom called her “Moses”.

Where was Harriet Tubman born?
Harriet Tubman was born in Dorchester County, Maryland.

When was Harriet Tubman born?
It is believed that Tubman was born between 1815 and 1825. Records of slaves births were not kept by their owners so it is impossible to know with certainty the date of her birth.

When did Harriet Tubman escape?
Harriet Tubman escaped on September 17, 1849.

How did Harriet Tubman escape slavery?
She was helped by the Underground Railroad supporters. It is believed that she walked north east along the Choptank River and through Delaware, crossing the Mason-Dixon Line to freedom into Pennsylvania. Her journey was nearly 90 miles and it is unclear how long it took her.

Harriet Tubman escape

 The Mason-Dixon Line was the demarcation of north and south, freedom and slavery.

Who did Harriet Tubman marry?
She was married twice. Her first marriage was in 1844 to John Tubman, and her second one in 1869 to Nelson Davis.

How many people did Harriet Tubman guide to freedom?
In close to a decade conducting the Underground Railroad she made 19 trips and guided around 300 slaves to freedom. Some were guide by her and others followed her instructions.

Why was Harriet Tubman called “Moses”?
She was called “Moses” as an analogy to the biblical story of Moses who attempted to lead the Jews to the Promised Land and free them from slavery.

How did Harriet Tubman let slaves know of her plans?
Harriet was illiterate, she communicated with other slaves by singing songs white people would not understand. The lyrics of the songs contained secret codes.

Is it true that Harriet Tubman had a $40,000 dead or alive bounty on her head?
There is no proof of such a large reward and most likely it is a myth. There was a notice published in the Cambridge Democrat on October 3rd, 1849 offering a $300 reward for the return of Minty and her two brothers, Ben and Harry.

Reward for the return of Harriet Tubman

Notice of $300 reward for the return of Minty, Harry and Ben in the Cambridge Democrat. Click on image to enlarge.

What was Harriet Tubman’s role in the Civil War?
Her role was that of as a nurse, cook, laundress, scout and spy.

What did Harriet Tubman do after the Civil War?
After the Civil War Tubman kept helping her people, she hosted them in her house and helped them any way she could. She relied on donations.

Why did it take so long to get compensation from her services in the Civil War?
It took Tubman more than 30 years to get a veteran’s pension from the government because her services were not documented.

How did Harriet Tubman die?
Tubman died of pneumonia.

When did Harriet Tubman die?
Harriet died on March 12, 1913.

Where is Harriet Tubman buried?
Tubman was buried with military honors in the Auburn’s Fort Hill Cemetery.


Read her Short Biography