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The Accomplishments of Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was a black woman born into slavery. Harriet was an abolitionist and strongly believed that all slaves should be free. Harriet learned that her master had died and that she would be sold if she did not run away. At the age of twenty-five, Harriet left her plantation and was on the run to a free state (Harriet par 1).

Harriet made her way ninety miles from Maryland to Philadelphia. There she began to work and make a living for herself. She decided that she was going to free other slaves so she began to make her journey back to the Southern states twice a year to free as many slaves as she could (Bentley 47-49).

The Underground Railroad was how Harriet freed hundreds of slaves, including her aging parents. The Underground Railroad was a route that Harriet took to free the slaves. She would have covered wagons with fixed bottoms, which were filled with slaves. She would take them to various homes of other abolitionists for food and shelter throughout the night. Once day broke Harriet would continue her journey towards the free states (Smith par 1-2).

When the government enacted the Fugitive Slave Law Harriet could not bring the slaves to Philadelphia anymore.

They were no longer safe in any of the states and had to be brought to Canada for their freedom. This meant that Harriet had to extend the route of the Underground Railroad (Petry 132-133).

Harriet was nicknamed Moses by her people. They believed that she was sent from God to free them. Throughout all her trips back and forth through the Underground Railroad, the reward for the capture of Harriet was up to $40,000. This made it even more difficult for Harriet to make it safely through the woods and trails, though she was never captured (Smith par 5-6).

During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman became very prominent. She became a nurse, a scout, and a spy for the Union forces. As a nurse, Harriet found a root that helped cure the dysentery. Once again the soldiers began to call her Moses because she had saved many of their lives (Petry 220-224). While being involved in the Civil War, Harriet freed another seven hundred slaves. Harriet was said to be a well respected throughout the war. She received official commendations from many Union Army officials. Even though Harriet contributed a lot of time and hard work in the war efforts, she never received veterans’ benefits for any of of her painstaking work (Harriet par 3).

Following the Civil War, Harriet returned to her home in Auburn, New York to live with her parents. Harriet helped Auburn remain a center for woman’s rights. In Auburn Harriet married and continued helping misfortunate people (“Life” par 14).

She led the growth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Harriet’s home in Auburn was used as a home for other blacks and elderly who were sick and were in need of assistance in their lives (Bentley 112). Harriet continued to tell reporters and writers about her journeys and her lifestyle. She would never leave a person wondering. She told all the reporters everything they wanted to know and never left anything out. By doing this she made a small profit for her home (Bentley 119).

Sarah Bradford was a friend of Harriet who believed that her story was worth telling. Sarah decided to write Harriet’s biography and give all the proceeds to Harriet to help her finish paying off her mortgage so that the others living there could continue living there. The book made enough money to cover the mortgage and have some extra which Harriet gave to the town of Auburn (Bentley 118).

By the time of her death, Harriet freed over a thousand slaves. She received a medal from the Queen of England, Queen Victoria (Bentley 119-120). She also helped out her community a great deal by contributing funds to her town and by allowing sick and elder blacks stay in her home (Bentley 112). Harriet was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, New York with military honors. The federal government has honored her accomplishments when they decided to place her photo on a commemorative postage stamp. At the Cayuga County Courthouse a bronze plaque was placed in honor of Harriet and a civic holiday was declared in her honor on July 14, 1914. Freedom Park was also opened in honor of Harriet Tubman in the summer of 1994 (“Life” par 17).

Works Cited

Bentley, Judith. Harriet Tubman. New York: An Impact

Biography, 1990.

Petry, Ann. Harriet Tubman Conductor on the Underground

Railroad. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited,

1955.

Smith, Russell. “Harriet Tubman: Moses of the Civil War.”

Sweetwater Reporter News. April 5, 1992. Online.

America Online. May 6, 2000.

www.cammalott.com/rssmith/moses.html

___. “Harriet Tubman.” The Internet of African American

History Challenge. Online. America Online. May 6,

2000. www.brightmoments.com/blackhistory/

___. “The Life of Harriet Tubman.” Online. America

Online. May 6, 2000.

www.nyhistory.com/harriettubman/life.htm

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