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Profile of Harriet Tubman
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Hi, I'm Christian with About.com. Today, we're talking about the historic, difficult and important life of Harriet Tubman.Tubman was born a slave in Maryland; her birth year is estimated around 1820. She worked first as a house servant, then in the fields. As a slave, she's said to have been hit in the head by an overseer for standing up for another slave. That injury would cause her pain for the rest of her life.Around 1844, Harriet married a free black man, John Tubman. Harriet took his last name, and around 1849, fearful of being sold, escaped her plantation.With the help of the network known as the Underground Railroad, made up of free and enslaved blacks, activists and abolitionists, she eventually made the difficult journey to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Guided by the North Star she made it and found work there.
Tubman went back to Maryland to get her sister and sister's children to freedom, then her brother. On her third trip back to the South, a dangerous trek, Tubman discovered her husband had taken another wife. Yet still she continued, working to get slaves to life in the North.
As the Underground Railroad's most well-known conductor, she's thought to have made more than a dozen trips to the South and escorted hundreds of slaves to freedom.Tubman is said to have developed masterful techniques and to have never lost a single passenger. She left on Saturday nights since missing slaves couldn't be reported in newspapers until Monday morning. She is thought to have brought a gun to encourage -- even threaten -- tired slaves if they wanted to turn back and quit the trip.
By the 1850s, a $40,000 reward was being offered for Tubman's capture, but she persisted, even rescuing her elderly parents. She was nicknamed Moses for her works, and Frederick Douglass spoke highly of her.Tubman's commitment to her cause never wavered. During the Civil War, she worked for the Union, spending time as a nurse, a cook -- even a spy. With the Combahee River Raid, she became the first woman to lead an armed assault during the war. The raid rescued hundreds of slaves from a collection of plantations.
Eventually, the female ‘Moses' settled in Auburn, New York. In 1869, she married a civil war veteran named Nelson Davis.  Tubman would become an activist for the women's suffrage movement, and lived her life with little money, spending all her efforts and resources on helping others. She tried to get a military pension from the government for her service, but was unsuccessful.
Still, she continued to give, donating land to the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Auburn. On that land, The Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged opened in 1908. As Harriet aged, her head injury worsened. She was admitted to the very rest home named after her, and died of pneumonia in 1913.
Tubman is said to have been surrounded by friends and family at the time of her death. She's thought to have no biological children, though she may have adopted a daughter. Tubman was buried with military honors in Auburn.
Thanks for watching our profile of Harriet Tubman, for more information go to About.com
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