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Harriet Tubman Timeline

Manali Oak Mar 3, 2020
Harriet Tubman, an African-American abolitionist, fostered humanity all her life. Know her more through this timeline.
Harriet Tubman was a slave since birth. She continued with her efforts to cast out slavery from society and succeeded in freeing the Blacks from their persecution by the Whites. Her life is undoubtedly a revolt against the unjust.


Born to parents Harriet Green and Ben Moss in Dorchester, Maryland, Tubman claims to have been born in 1819, 1820, or 1825, her timeline had no conclusive proof about her birth year. Her basket name was Araminta. Her parents were held in slavery. Her childhood was thus shackled in torment and torture. During childhood, she stayed with her grandmother.
At an age of five or six, she was considered fit to work. Her master Edward Brodess rented her to Miss Susan as a nursemaid. He used to beat her. She used to wrap herself in clothing to protect herself. Later, she was hired by James Cook. She was to check muskrat traps in the nearby marshes. As she grew old, she began grueling fields and doing forest work.
From the age of eleven, she was not called by her basket name. She was called Harriet, after her mother's name. She had to tie a cotton bandana around her head to signify that she was not a child any longer.
At the age of twelve, she had a serious head injury. Once she saw a slave escaping from his master's field without permission. The slave's overseer asked Harriet to stop the slave from escaping. She refused. The overseer threw a two-pound weight, which struck Harriet and broke her skull. She carried this injury all her life in terms of its after effects.


In 1844, Harriet married John Tubman, a free black man. Some believe that she adopted her name Harriet soon after her marriage.
In 1849, Tubman became ill and her value as a slave went down. Brodess was trying to sell her. She claims to have prayed for her master's death at that time. God listened to her and her master, Edward Brodess died. His widow resumed trying to sell Tubman. But on the 17th September,1849, Harriet, with her brothers Ben and Henry, escaped.
Anthony Thompson hired Tubman. Soon after, Brodess issued a runaway notice and sought the return of her slaves. Fearing the dangers in future, Tubman's brothers decided to return and took her along with them. She again managed to flee from there, this time without her brothers. It is said that she used the Underground Railroad for her escape.

Endeavors to banish Slavery

Harriet Tubman's timeline shows that in 1849, she escaped to Philadelphia and later returned to Maryland to liberate her family. She played a vital role in freeing many slaves.
When the Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850 in the United States, Tubman guided many slaves to Canada and helped them find work. When the American Civil War began, she worked as a nurse, and then a cook in the army. Then she also worked as an armed scout and a spy.
In December 1850, Tubman came to know of the prospective sale of her niece Kessiah. Tubman's timeline holds the event of her return to enslavement. Her return was a unique feat.
In the fall of 1851, she came back to Dorchester to find her husband John. Sixteen years from then, John was killed during an argument with a White man. In December 1851, she led a troop of eleven fugitives. John Brown was an advocate of the banishment of slavery from the United States. In April 1858, Tubman came to know of him. She supported his goals.
In the American Civil War of 1861, Tubman saw a Union victory. The victory was an important step towards abolishment of slavery. Tubman wanted to devote herself to the Union cause and she joined a group of Boston and Philadelphia abolitionists.
Later during 1863, Tubman led an armed attack during the Civil War. She was the first woman doing so. On June 2, 1863, she guided three steamboats around Confederate mines. Newspapers praised her efforts towards liberation of the slaves. For two years, Tubman worked for the Union forces. She used to visit Auburn, to meet her family.
On returning to Auburn, at the end of the war, she realized that the Americans' approach towards the blacks had hardly changed. Once while traveling to New York in a train, she was thrown into the smoke car. This incident made it evident that the Americans still looked at the Blacks as being inferior.

Life after Civil War

In 1861, Tubman married Nelson Davis. She took up various jobs to support her old parents. Bradford, one of Tubman's admirers, released her biography in 1869. Another volume called 'Harriet, the Moses of her people' was published in 1886. Both the releases were attempts to ease Tubman's economic hardship.
In her later years, she worked for the cause of 'Women's suffrage'. Towards the end of the century, she worked for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
'Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged' opened on June 23, 1908. She was invited as the guest of Honor for the opening ceremony.
In 1911, she had to be admitted into the rest home which had been given her name. A newspaper of New York described her as 'ill and penniless', thus appealing her supporters to raise funds for her. On March 10, 1913, Harriet Tubman expired. While bidding the world a goodbye, she said, "I go to prepare a place for you."

Other Facts

Tubman's owner had once decided to sell Rit's son. Harriet had seen her mother confront her master and threaten her about her son's sale. Brodess, their master had backed off. Biographers say that Harriet must have drawn inspiration from her mother. It is interesting to notice that courage in her mother.
After the brain trauma, Tubman started getting dreams. She considered them to be indications from God. She was very religious by nature. Due to the brain injury, she used to fall unconscious. She said that she used to remain aware of her surroundings when she appeared to be asleep.
In 1889, it was not for her services that she was awarded a pension of twenty dollars, but it was because she was Mr. Davis' widow.
Somewhere during the 1890s, she underwent a brain surgery. She is reported to have not been given anesthesia during the operation. Instead, she had chosen to bite down on a bullet.
Harriet Tubman's timeline represents a series of events, each of which gives a glimpse of her vengeance against the unfair lot of the society, for their iniquity towards the Blacks. When destiny was against her, divinity was on her side in her fight for justice.