Harriet Tubman Essay

1226 words - 5 pages

Born into slavery, Araminta Ross, better known as Harriet Tubman soon rose to fame as one of the most well- known conductors on the Underground Railroad. With nineteen successful trips into the South and over 300 people freed by Tubman’s guidance alone, it is clearly evident why Tubman was referred to as the “Moses” of her people (Gale US History in Context). Although it is often thought that the years spent on the Railroad were some of Tubman’s toughest journeys in life, one must consider the aspects of her life leading up to her involvement with the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a perilous journey to undertake, the consequence of being caught trying to escape was death. Tubman was willing to take that risk, the risk of losing her life in order to help complete strangers gain freedom. It must be taken into consideration why Tubman would put her life at such a risk when she would perceivably receive no personal gain. Harriet Tubman’s personal experiences, love for freedom, and selflessness led her to become one of the Underground Railroad’s most successful conductors.
Tubman’s intense desire for freedom can be traced back to her earliest days as a child. Born in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman never knew her birthdate. It is thought that she was born in either 1820 or 1821, however, there are no formal records stating the exact date due to the fact that slave owners did not find it necessary to document the birthdate of their property (“Harriet Tubman”). At the age of seven, Tubman was hired out to a woman named Miss Susan. Living under Miss Susan, Tubman was no stranger to whipping and other cruel punishments whenever she did not complete her job as it was demanded. Even at such a young age, Tubman knew that her treatment was inhumane. This idea was only strengthened over the years, particularly in one incident when the overseer of her plantation threw a heavy weight at her head as a consequence of disobeying his orders. Tubman slipped into a coma for several weeks, and slowly recovered, only to find that the lead weight had caused serious head trauma that resulted in blackouts and nightmares for the rest of her life. It was around this point in her life that Tubman seriously began to contemplate her escape to the North, where she would become a free woman.
In 1835, Edward Brodas, Tubman’s plantation owner, died and the ownership of the Tubman family was passed down to his son. The son was more generous than his father, allowing Tubman to find jobs outside the plantation as long as part of her pay went into his pocket (“Harriet Tubman”). Sixteen years later, when Brodas’s son died, Tubman was overcome by the overwhelming fear that she and her family would be sold to the South to pick cotton, as Brodas’s son left no heirs to inherit to the plantation slaves. It was around this time that Tubman realized that she legally was not supposed to be a slave. According to the law, because Tubman’s mother, Harriet Greene, had an...

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