Harriet Tubman was an abolishment and political activist. She is known for beginning the underground railroad which provided fugitive slaves with food, and a bed. She made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom and not once did she lose a passenger.
Araminta Ross was born a slave in Maryland and because of slavery, at such a young age her siblings and she were separated despite her attempts to keep them together. Araminta changed her name to Harriet and Tubman when she gets married at the age of 25 to John Tubman a freed black. She was raised under horribly conditions for example at the young age of five she was rented out as a nursemaid where she was whipped, at the age of seven, she was sent to work in the fields, and at the age of twelve, Harriet suffered an injury to the head when she steps in between a fugitive slave and a slave owner leaving her with narcolepsy; causing her to fall into a deep sleep at random. Harriet learned that her family was free base on her motherr’s last ownerr’s will before his death, but their new owner refused to recognize it.
On 1844 Harriet got married to John Tubman but he did not share the same dream; her dream was to travel north to be free. John would threaten her by telling her that if she ran away he would tell her master. With the knowledge that her two brothers Ben and Henry were about to be sold, Harriet resolves to escape with her brothers; but they changed their mind.
In 1849 Tubman was given a piece of paper that had two names by a white woman and gave her directions to get to the first house where she was put into a wagon, covered with a sack and driven to her next destination. In the second residence she hitched a ride with a woman and her husband that were passing by, they took her to Philadelphia where she met William Still; one of the conductors of the underground railroad.
The Underground Railroad consisted of a collection of abolitionists, Quakers, and other people that had established a network of meeting places, secret routes, passageways and safe houses used by fugitive slaves to make their way north to freedom. People in the Underground Railroad formed their own language; code words were used to enable people to communicate about the Underground Railroad without getting caught and to keep the network safe. The individuals who helped fugitive slaves escape from their slave owners were called “conductors”, the areas where they were held in while they traveled were called “stations”, those who hid them in their property were called “station keepers.” Conductors used creative ways to transport fugitives cautiously from station to station until they were free, for example, they were hidden under goods, in secret compartments in wagons, in crates shipped by train or boat. Fugitives were often disguised to keep them from matching descriptions on flyers.
In September Tubman became a conductor of the underground railroad. She returned to the plantation on several occasions to rescue family members, and she made 19 trips to the south freeing 60 to 300 hundred slaves. The actions that the underground railroad network participated in were illegal. The federal government passed the Fugitive Slave Acts in 1793 and 1850 making the underground railroad activities complicated and they tighten their security.
The Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 demanded that if an escaped slave was sighted, they should be seized for the deportation back to the “rightful” owner and stimulated that it was illegal for any civilian to assist a runaway slave; if anyone refused to aid in the capture of a fugitive, interfered with the arrest of a slave, or tried to free a slave already in custody would go to prison for six months and pay a substantial fine of $500 or $1,000. It declared that slave owners had the right to search for escaped slaves within the borders of free states, but before taking them they had to bring them before a judge and provide evidence proving their ownership. If court officials were satisfied by their proof they were permitted to take custody of the slave and return back South.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was designed to strengthen the previous law, creating harsher penalties and set up a system of commissioners. The law stripped runaway slaves off their legal rights such as the right to a jury trial and the right to testify in one’s own defense. Any black could be sent south solely on the testimony of anyone claiming to be their owner.
The Fugitive Slave act produced widespread outrage in the North and any attempts to enforce this act provoked wholesale opposition. Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, and John Greenleaf Whittier led the fight against the law. Southerners regarded these attempts to obstruct the return of runaways as a violation of the Constitution and federal law.
Tubman became known as “Moses” because she had led so many people from the South to freedom. By 1856, slave owners had put a bounty on Tubmanr’s head a $40,000 reward. On December 1860 Harriet’s career as an underground railroad conductor had ended. During the 1861 Civil War, Harriet Tubman helped by nursing the sick and wounded back to health. She worked as a spy collecting information for Colonel Montgomery to help him organize the Combahee River Raid. Harriet Tubman also participated in the temperance and the womenr’s rights movements with Susan B. Anthony during the Civil war years. After the war, She got remarried to Nelson Davis and lived her days with him until she died.
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