“If you hear the dogs, keep going.” / “If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.” / ” If there’s shouting after you, keep going.” / “Don’t ever stop, Keep going.” / If you want a taste of freedom, keep going”/ Harriet Tubman.

Born to slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad (Wikipedia)/ She was born in Dorchester, Maryland, USA. Her full name is Araminta Ross. She had one child, Gertie Davis. She passed away on March 10, 1913 in Auborn, New York, USA. / Wikipedia does not provide a date of birth but biographers estimate she was born in 1820. Her story says that she escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 to become the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. A leading abolitionist before the American Civil War, Tubman also helped the Union Army during the war, working as a spy, among other roles. /

After the Civil War ended, Tubman dedicated her life to helping impoverished former slaves and the elderly. Her mother was Harriet “Rit” Green. who was owned by Mary Pattison Brodess. Her father, Ben Ross, who was owned by Anthony Thompson ( Thompson and Brodess eventually married.) / Originally named Araminta Harriet Ross. Tubman’s life was full of hardships. Mary Brodess’ son, Edward, sold three of Tubman’s sisters to distant plantations, severing the family. When a trader from Georgia approached Brodess about buying Rit’s youngest son, Moses, Rit successfully resisted the further fracturing of the family, setting a powerful example for her young daughter. / Physical violence was a part of daily life for Tubman and her family. The violence she suffered early in life caused permanent physical injuries. Tubman later recounted a particular day she was lashed five times before breakfast. She carried the scars for the rest of her life. /

The most severe injury occurred when Tubman was an adolescent. Sent to a dry goods store for supplies, she encountered a slave who had left the field without permission. The man’s overseer demanded that Tubman help restrain the runaway. When Tubman refused, the overseer threw a two pound weight that struck her in the head. Tubman endured seizures, severe headaches and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life. In 1844, Harriet married a free black man named John Tubman. At the time, around half of the African American people on the eastern shore of Maryland were free, and it was not unusual for a family to include both free and enslaved people. They later went their own ways and in 1869 Tubman married a Civil War veteran named Nelson Davis. In 1874 the couple adopted a baby girl named Gertie. End of Part One. More soon.


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