4.10 Harriet Tubman: Slave to Liberator

Harriet Tubman

This woman is a superhero. She escaped herself and then put herself in danger many times to help others do the same. During the Civil War, she served as a nurse and educator and spy and commanded a charge of armed men. All without any formal education herself. After the war she continued to find so many ways to help her fellow human beings that if she were anybody else, that would be the story. As it is, it all feels like an afterthought to her underground railroad and civil war work.

Selected Sources and Images

My major source for today was Kate Clifford Larson’s biography Bound for the Promised Land. The first biography of Tubman was written in 1869 by Sarah Bradford, Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman.

The Library of Congress has an article about spirituals and their history. The Charleston Mercury’s account of the Combahee River raid is “The Enemy’s Raid on the Banks of the Combahee.” June 4, 1863.

The first time Harriet (Minty) tried to run away she was unsuccessful. The reward notice described her as 27, chestnut color, fine looking, and 5 feet tall.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Harriet posed for this photo in 1868 or 1869. She had already helped over 75 slaves to freedom and led soldiers under her command in the war.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Harriet at some point in the 1870s

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Harriet lived her final years in poverty (much as she had for the rest of her life). This picture was taken in 1910. She died in 1913.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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