1. Harriet Tubman’s birth name was Aramita (“Minty”) Ross. She was born enslaved in Maryland sometime in 1820.
2. Tubman escaped slavery with her brother, Ben and Harry, on September 17, 1849.
3. Tubman is most famous for her role as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, in which she led escaped slaves to freedom. Estimates vary, but Tubman is said to have helped anywhere from dozens to hundreds of slaves reach freedom. She was once quoted as saying, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
4. During the Civil War, Tubman worked for the Union army as a cook, nurse, and spy. She was also the first woman to lead an expedition in the war and guided the Combahee River Raid, which freed 700 slaves. Decades later, the raid would inspire a groundbreaking group of black feminists called the Combahee River Collective.
5. Tubman’s life has inspired countless works for art, including poems, comic books, and films.
6. This year marks that 100th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death. Maryland has a series of commemorative events.
The last one really hits me. She had only been dead for 100 years. 100 years. Like, white folks are going on and on about how slavery has been over for hundreds and hundreds of years.
But here is an escaped slave who liberated countless others that only died ONE HUNDRED YEARS ago. This is not the ancient past. This is still living history.