Harriet Tubman’s exact date of birth is not really known, but estimates are that it must have been between 1820 and 1825. Tubman was one of the most famous “conductors” of the Underground Railroad, a Union Spy and abolitionist. A former slave herself, she managed to escape to the North in 1849, after which she became very involved in the Underground Railroad. She led over 300 slaves to freedom on around 13 missions and took pride in the fact that she never lost anybody. She also assisted John Brown in recruiting men to help with his Harpers Ferry raid. After the war, she became a women’s suffrage activist.

Birth and Youth of Harriet Tubman

Both Harriet Tubman’s parents were slaves and lived in Dorchester County, Maryland and belonged to the Thompson family. Her birth name was Araminta Harriet Ross and her childhood nickname “Minty.” As a young child, she was cared for by her grandmother, who was too old for slave work. When she was six years old she was considered to be the right age for work, in harsh circumstances and with many whippings whenever she made mistakes. She experienced her family being ripped apart when their owners sold three of her sisters and at age 12 she sustained serious head injuries when whe was hit by a two-pound weight that an overseer threw in her direction. After this incident, she suffered from severe headaches and seizures for life. She changed her name from Araminta to “Harriet” and later married a free African American man, John Tubman, who refused to escape with her. In 1849 she finally escaped on her own, leaving her husband and family behind.



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