Harriet Tubman

Former slave who helped lead the underground railroad

  • Harriet Tubman, the former slave who helped lead the underground railroad
Harriet Tubman, the former slave who helped lead the underground…
February 02, 2007

Harriet Tubman

For her freedom was like heaven

Harriet Tubman, born a slave on a plantation in Dorchester County, was 29 years old when she seized the opportunity to escape to freedom in the north. The year was 1849 and as she stood on a hill in Pennsylvania, a free woman for the first time in her life, her thoughts raced. "I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person," recalled the woman who came to be called the "Moses" of her people. "There was such a glory over everything. The sun came through the trees, and I felt like I was in heaven."

But Harriet Tubman had made the journey to heaven by way of hell. Hired out as a slave at the age of 6, she suffered throughout her life from seizures resulting from a near fatal encounter with an angry overseer who struck the 15-year-old accidentally as she stood protecting another slave. After gaining her freedom, she became a leading conductor of the "underground railroad," guiding some 300 slaves to freedom either in the Northern states or Canada. During the Civil War, she acted as a Union spy for the U.S. Army Intelligence Department, relaying important information on Confederacy strategy. On her 80th birthday, the Army Department awarded her a pension of $20 a month which she used to found a home for the aged and destitute.

--Paul McCardell

The Tubman tour

For more information about Harriet Tubman or to schedule a guided tour, contact:

The Harriet Tubman Museum and Education Center, 424 Race St,. Cambridge, MD 21613, Phone: 410-228-0401

For a brochure of the self-guided tour, contact:

Dorchester County Department of Tourism, 2 Rose Hill Place, Cambridge, MD, 21613, 1-800-522-TOUR, tourdorchester.org

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