Short Biography

Date and place of birth

c.1820; Dorchester County, Maryland.

Date and place of death:

March 10, 1913; Auburn, New York.


Harriet Tubman was born a slave, her parents named her Araminta “Minty” Ross. She changed her name in 1849 when she escaped. She adopted the name Harriet after her mother and the last name Tubman after her husband. Tubman suffered a head injury as a teenager which gave her vivid dreams and hallucinations, in addition to sleeping spells. She was deeply religious and according to her it was her religious beliefs that gave her courage rescue friends and family over and over again. She remained illiterate for her entire life.


Harriet Tubman was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad. In a decade she guided over 300 slaves to freedom; abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison thought she deserved the nickname “Moses”. She worked hard to save money to return and save more slaves. In time she built a reputation and many Underground Railroad supporters provided her with funds and shelter to support her trips.

During the Civil War, Tubman served as a nurse, cook, laundress, spy and scout. After the Emancipation Proclamation she returned to Auburn where she lived the rest of her life. She opened her doors to those in need. With donations and the proceeds of her vegetable garden she was able to support herself and those she helped. She raised money to open schools for African Americans and gave speeches on Women’s rights. Her dream was to built a home for the elderly and in 1908 the Harriet Tubman Home for the Elderly was inaugurated.

Watch this interesting video by Citizen and Immigration Canada about the life of Harriet Tubman:


More videos about Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad >>



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Benjamin Franklin, Americas’s Genius