Facts about Harriet Tubman

Born: c. 1820
Died: March 10, 1913
Best known as: The most famous conductor on the 'Underground Railroad'


Harriet Tubman Biography

Name at birth: Araminta Ross

Harriet Tubman helped hundreds of American slaves escape along the secret route to freedom known as the Underground Railroad in the years before the Civil War.

Born a slave herself, Harriet Tubman fled from Maryland to freedom in Philadelphia in 1849. For the next 10 years she made repeated secret trips back to Maryland, over time leading more than 300 escaped slaves north to freedom in Canada.

After the Civil War began in 1861, she also served the Union as a scout, spy and nurse. Her success at shepherding others to safety earned her the nickname “the Moses of her People,” and made her a lasting symbol of the American anti-slavery movement.

In 2016, the U.S. Treasury announced that Harriet Tubman would replace President Andrew Jackson as the face on the $20 bill. The redesign and release plan for the new bill were put on hold by the Donald Trump administration (2017-21), but were put back on track at the start of the Joe Biden administration in 2021.

Extra credit

Harriet Tubman’s birth name was Araminta; she later took the first name of her mother, Harriet Ross… She married John Tubman, a freed slave, in 1844, but remained a slave herself until her escape in 1849… Harriet Tubman was played by Cynthia Erivo in the 2019 biopic Harriet. Erivo was nominated for an Oscar as best actress for the role.


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