Harriet Tubman. Creative Commons.

In third grade, I picked up a biography of Harriet Tubman, and ever since I’ve been fascinated by her life. In school I learned Tubman was a famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. She escaped slavery in Maryland by entering the free state of Pennsylvania. It was dangerous, but she risked her life to save herself from the perils of slavery. She could have simply enjoyed her newfound freedom, but instead she fearlessly attempted to save her friends and family. She saved hundreds of people and is said to have never lost a passenger.

Though many of these stories are tales of bravery and sacrifice, I remember being struck by one anecdote concerning her husband. When she returned home from one of her journeys, she found that her husband had already remarried. He declined to travel with Harriet and instead stayed with his new wife. I remember being struck by how strange that must have been for Harriet. But this was nothing in the life of Harriet Tubman, as she had much more important issues at hand. With warrants out for her arrest across the country, her fame forced her to be more discrete than before. Additionally, there was the added difficulty of her medical issues. While leading people through the woods to freedom, she would have seizures with little to no warning. Despite these various complications, she always persevered. This is how she eventually acquired the nickname “Black Moses,” as she was a savior to many.

If Harriet Tubman‚Äôs story stopped there, she would still be remembered as a historical legend and a role model for men and women alike. Yet her story continues on after the Underground Railroad. She helped champion the movement for women‚Äôs suffrage and helped spy on behalf of the Union during the Civil War. It’s incredible to think one women could accomplish so much in her lifetime. In addition to her success in changing course of America’s history, she had been born into slavery.

Araminta Ross, a female slave, born on a plantation in Maryland, was not expected to amount to much. However, she transformed herself into Harriet Tubman. By the end of her life, she was not only a free woman but a heroine for the ages. She is a constant reminder to girls everywhere that true determination and strength of character can take you anywhere.

-Elizabeth Boyle
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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