10 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know About Harriet Tubman

10 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know About Harriet Tubman


Apr 21, 2016

Harriet Tubman may be one of the most prolific and pivotal figures in American history. She was a renowned abolitionist and risked her life to rescue slaves and bring them to freedom.

Now according to an announcement from the U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, Harriet's portrait will grace the $20 bill, making her the first woman to be on American paper currency in 100 years.

To celebrate her epic journey and remarkable life we are reflecting on these fascinating facts you might not have known:

1. Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross. She took the name "Harriet" after her mother: Harriet Ross. Her surname comes from her first husband, John Tubman.

2. Harriet left her husband and ran away from Maryland with her two brothers but they later turned away, leaving Harriet to brave the perilous journey.

3. Over the course of ten years, Harriet was said to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, a secret network of safe houses. She even returned to Maryland to bring other slaves to freedom.

4. Slave owners later placed a bounty for her capture with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, raising the stakes even higher for her indispensable work.

5. Harriet was also nicknamed "Moses" after the Biblical figure who led his people to freedom. In all of her journeys she was said to never lose a single passenger.

6. She suffered from a traumatic head-injury after standing up for a field hand when she was a teenager. Although the injury caused seizures and headaches, it was also said to give Harriet vivid dreams that helped guide her journeys along the Underground Railroad.

7. She served in the Civil War as a cook, as a spy for federal forces, and as a nurse.

8. Harriet had one daughter named Gertie, whom she and her second husband adopted after the Civil War.

9. Harriet assisted abolitionists like John Brown. Brown called Harriet "General Tubman" before he raided Harper's Ferry to help slaves and freedom fighters gain weapons for their protection and liberty.

10. "I freed a thousand slaves," Harriet is believed to have said. "I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

NEXT: 5 Influential Women Who Made Their Mark On American History »

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Harriet Tubman Wins Poll to Be the First Woman On the $20 Bill
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