Harriet Tubman: African American's Savior and Heroine

Essay by FinnighanHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 2006

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Harriet Tubman was born c. 1820 to her parents Benjamin and Harriet Ross who named her Araminta Ross (internet "Harriet Tubman"). She was born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland along with her ten siblings. As a girl, Harriet was "hired out" by her master to become a nanny for an infant. She would stay awake all night to ensure that the baby wouldn't cry and wake up the mother or she was whipped. As Harriet became older, she suffered a traumatic accident when she refused to assist in beating a young slave who had gone to the store without permission. As the young slave attempted to run off, an iron bar was thrown at him but hit Harriet by mistake. She was unconscious for days as it crushed part of her skull and suffered from sporadical seizures and blackouts throughout her life. In 1844, with permission from her master, Harriet married a free black named John Tubman, took his last name and changed her original name Araminta to Harriet after her mother.

As 1849 approached, Harriet's master died and shortly after, her master's son and heir died suddenly. Because of this, Harriet became increasingly worried as rumours that she and the rest of the slaves on the plantation were going to be sold to another plantation where far worse conditions could be faced. She decided to run away with her two brothers and follow the North Star to freedom but left her husband behind because he refused to go with her. As she continued on her journey, her two brothers became overwhelmingly frightened and returned to the plantation but Harriet pressed on (internet "Harriet Tubman-Underground"). She reached Philadelphia and took a job as a household servant and cook as she was now an official free black, "I had...