Harriet Tubman, Iconic Abolitionist and ‘Moses’ of the Underground Railroad, born on this day in 1820


In this photo provided by the Library of Congress, Harriet Tubman in seen in a photograph dating from 1860-75. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. are sponsoring legislation to bring a statue of Harriet Tubman to the U.S. Capitol Building. (Harvey B. Lindsley/Library of Congress via AP)
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Believed to have been born on January 29, 1820 in Dorchester County, Maryland, Harriet Tubman, the renowned abolitionist, dedicated her life to guiding hundreds of enslaved individuals to freedom as a key “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. 

Initially named Araminta Harriet Ross and born into slavery, she faced severe brutality, including enduring a two-pound weight thrown at her head that almost killed her and resulted in permanent head trauma.

Tubman escaped slavery in 1849, later returning to the South to assist others in finding freedom by utilizing a clandestine network of “safe houses” provided by abolitionists to reach Canada. 

A previously unknown portrait, c. 1868, of abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman is unveiled at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, on Monday, March 25, 2019. The photograph is believed to be the earliest photo of Tubman in existence. (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

Earning the moniker “Moses,” she reportedly completed 19 trips, never losing a single passenger. During the Civil War, Tubman served as a spy for the Union Army. 

Following the abolition of slavery in 1865, she spent her later years caring for former slaves at the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged in Auburn, New York, where she ultimately passed away in 1913 at the age of 91.

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