Who Was Harriet Tubman?
Yona Zeldis McDonough
Born a slave in Maryland, Harriet Tubman knew first-hand what it meant to be someone's property; she was whipped by owners and almost killed by an overseer. It was from other field hands that she first heard about the Underground Railroad which she travelled by herself north to Philadelphia. Throughout her long life (she died at the age of ninety-two) and long after the Civil War brought an end to slavery, this amazing woman was proof of what just one person can do.
born on Butler’s plantations, were brought to a racetrack in Savannah, Georgia. They were put in stalls meant for horses while they waited for the auction to begin. By the end of the two-day event, all of the slaves were sold away from the only home they had ever known. They would never see their family or friends again. * * * Minty’s mother told her stories from the Bible. From her mother, Minty learned about Moses. Moses had lived thousands of years before. He led his people, the
was no longer chasing her. But now what? If she went back, she would face a whipping. Minty found a pigpen. She crawled inside to hide. She was very young, but she was bold. She tried to fight the piglets for potato peelings and other scraps of food. But the mother pig pushed Minty away. After five days, Minty was filthy and starving. She knew she would have to return to her mistress. Later Minty would say, “I didn’t have anywhere else to go, even though I knew what was coming.” * * *
was forty miles long. And it was only the start of her trip. Slowly, Harriet kept going. When the river ended, she followed a road to Camden, Delaware. She looked for a white house with green shutters. The Quaker woman had told her to do this. The woman in the white house was named Eliza Hunn. She let Harriet stay with her for three days. She gave her new clothes and food for the trip. Then Harriet set out again. Harriet had become a traveler on the Underground Railroad. The Underground
risk of discovery. Slave hunters were on the lookout. Rewards were offered for turning in slaves, and the slave hunters wanted to collect them. Still, Harriet was determined to make the trip. Harriet went back to Maryland in 1851. She led one of her brothers and two other men to freedom. Up north, she took a job in another hotel. She worked hard and saved her money. She was going south again. This time, she would bring her husband, John Tubman, with her. She traveled to the plantation where
money. At first, Harriet was shy in front of a crowd. But she was a good storyteller. People liked to hear about her narrow escapes. Soon she became an excellent speaker. She traveled to different cities to give her speeches. In 1860, Harriet was on her way to Boston to give a speech. She stopped to visit a relative in Troy, New York. Trouble was brewing. A former slave, Charles Nalle, had been caught by a slave hunter. Nalle waited at the courthouse for his hearing. Many people were there. Some