1. When she was about 12 years old, Harriet Tubman was ordered to help tie up a captured slave. Realizing the escapee was about to be whipped, she refused to secure him for the pending punishment. The slave master angrily responded by hurling a two-pound weight at the girl, hitting her in the head. Tubman sustained an injury that resulted in a lifetime of throbbing headaches and unexpected episodes of narcolepsy, which caused her to fall into a deep sleep with little warning.
2. At age 29 she was able to escape the Maryland plantation she worked up the eastern seaboard to Pennsylvania. Unlike most runaways, however, Tubman did not remain on free soil. For the next several years, she repeatedly returned to the South, spiriting other slaves out of bondage
3. As part of the Underground Railroad, she made 19 trips into slave holding states, leading some 300 individuals to a new life in the areas that had banned slavery. To help support her efforts, Tubman worked in a Philadelphia kitchen. She eventually became one of the Railroad’s best “conductors,” earning the dubious distinction of a having a $40,000 reward posted for her capture or death.
4. For all the recriminations directed at her by displeased plantation owners throughout the South, Tubman was never caught and never lost a “passenger.” As part of the Underground Railroad network, she successfully employed a variety of escape and evasion methods to help aid fleeing slaves. Disguise was a favorite. If it was announced that a group of male slaves had bolted from a plantation, she dressed the fugitives as women for the trip north.
5. Tubman was vitally important to the Union war effort. Utilizing the extensive knowledge of the South she had obtained while working for the Underground Railroad, Tubman was able to provide accurate intelligence data to Northern troops.
6. Tubman also became a respected guerrilla operative for the Union Army’s, waging unconventional warfare against a variety of targets behind enemy lines. For one mission, she led a raiding party through dense woods and swamps, harassing Confederate positions along the way.
7. Encountering homeless slaves during her different forays into Rebel held territory, she helped find many of these displaced men and women food, shelter, and even jobs in the North.
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