10 Harriet Tubman Facts For Kids
Harriet Tubman was one of the most important women who fought in the Civil War. That’s right – she actually fought in it as an African American woman. Not only was she a spy, but she was also an integral part of the Underground Railroad that worked to move slaves toward freedom. Because of her work, many lives were changed for the better and we often remember her accomplishments any time the work of ending slavery in the United States is brought up.
Here are some more facts about this courageous woman who stood up to the practice of slavery that you may not have known about.
1. She Was Born a Slave
Harriet Tubman was born as a slave on a Maryland plantation. No one really knows when she was born because many slave owners didn’t keep any records. Most people think that it was in 1820 or 1821. When she was born, she was actually given the name of the Araminta. She chose to take the name Harriet as a teenager in order to honor her mother.
2. Early Life Was Hard
When Harriet Tubman was just six years old, she was loaned out to another family. She was required to work at that age to take care of the family’s baby. Sometimes she would be beaten out of anger even though she didn’t do anything wrong. On a good day, she would be given table scraps to eat and that would have to be good enough. As she grew up, her owners would also make her work by plowing fields, hauling logs, and driving the oxen.
3. An Accident Changed Everything
While in town one day, Harriet was involved in an accident. It wasn’t really an accident, because a slave owner was trying to throw an iron weight at one of his slaves. He just happened to miss and the weight struck Harriet in the head. It almost killed her and it cause blackouts and dizzy spells for the rest of her life. She would also have strange dreams that she attributed to her religious faith.
4. The Underground Railroad Helped Her
#4. Harriet Tubman used the Underground Railroad to escape from slavery herself. In 1849, she decided that she’d had enough of the slave life. Using the Underground Railroad to escape, she made it to Pennsylvania and was able to have freedom for the first time. This freedom only lasted a year because of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Before this law, slaves who made it to a state where it was illegal to conduct slavery would be considered free. This new law made it possible for owners to pursue their escaped slaves and return them to the property anywhere in the United States.
5. A Lot of Escapes
The Fugitive Slave Act was the motivation that Harriet needed to get involved as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. During her time as a conductor, she led 19 different escapes to bring slaves away from owners in the South. It is estimated that she helped to free around 300 people. Because of her hard work, many people started calling her Moses. This is because Harriet was helping to leave her people to freedom just like Moses did in the Bible.
6. She Was Not Liked
Harriet Tubman was helping so many slaves escape that plantation owners wanted her stopped. At one point, a group of slave owners came together and offered a reward of $40,000 to anyone who would capture her. That was a lot of money during the time of the Civil War. That would be like offering a reward of almost $600,000 today.
7. It Was a Solider Thing
During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman did a lot of work. One of her main jobs was to be a nurse to soldiers who had been injured. At one point, however, she was also enlisted to help with a military campaign that eventually led to the rescue of over 750 slaves from the South.
8. She Fought For Equal Rights
After the Civil War, there was still a fight for equal rights that needed to be conducted. Women didn’t have the same rights as men during this time. Harriet Tubman used her experience from the Civil War to help bring equal rights to women. She also worked hard to help people who were poor or sick. Her goal was simple: everyone deserved to have a fair chance and she wants to make sure that she did her best to give them that chance.
9. A 100% Success Rate
Harriet Tubman didn’t take much pride in her work, but she did take pride in one particular thing: the fact that she didn’t lose anyone. All of the people that she worked to free from slavery were able to successfully escape. Even when she worked with the military to free slaves, not only were all of them rescued, but none of the soldiers that were part of the missions were killed either.
10. Always Poor
The United States didn’t pay Harriet for any of her work during the Civil War. Because of all her work being humanitarian in nature, she rarely earned any money for what she was doing. Near the end of her life, however, she had enough land and money to donate a parcel to a church so that a rest home could be built. Just 8 years later, Harriet herself was admitted into the home that carried her name for care because of pneumonia, and that’s where she eventually passed away.
It has been more than 100 years since Harriet Tubman passed away, but her legacy continues to live on. If someone says that they can’t do something or achieve something, all anyone has to do is look at this courageous woman story. She was 5 foot 2 inches tall, had a traumatic brain injury, was born a slave, didn’t know how to read or write, yet became one of the Civil War era’s greatest leaders. She is a testament to what anyone can achieve.