Biography of Harriet Tubman for Kids: American Civil Rights History for Children – FreeSchool

Biography of Harriet Tubman for Kids: American Civil Rights History for Children – FreeSchool

You’re watching FreeSchool! Today we’re going to learn about the famous
abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman escaped
to freedom as a young woman. Once free herself, she became determined to
free her family and anyone else that she could. She returned many times to the South, guiding
hundreds to freedom along the secret network called the Underground Railroad. In fact, she led so many out of slavery that Harriet
became known as the “Moses of her people.” She also served in the Union Army during the
Civil War as a cook, nurse, scout, and spy. Harriet Tubman was born sometime around 1820
– even she may not have known exactly when – and named Araminta Ross. Both of her parents were slaves, living and
working on a large plantation in Maryland. The couple had nine children, three of which
were sold and sent away while Harriet was young. Even as a small child, Harriet had to work
hard. When she was only five or six years old, she
was sent to a plantation house to help take care of a baby. If the baby woke up and cried, Harriet was
whipped. As she grew older, she worked in the fields
and forests, plowing and driving oxen. She always looked for ways to resist, once
running away for five days, and other times wearing thick layers of clothing to soften
the beatings. When she was about twelve years old, Harriet
was accidentally hit in the head with a heavy iron weight after refusing to help punish
another slave who had gone to the store without permission. The blow knocked her unconscious and left
a deep scar. She also suffered seizures, headaches, and
other problems from it for the rest of her life. In 1844, she married a free black man, John
Tubman. It was around this time that Araminta Ross
changed her name – to Harriet, for her mother, and Tubman, her husband’s last name. In 1849 Harriet heard that she was going to
be sold, and decided to escape. Her husband refused to leave, so she went
with two of her brothers. Her brothers changed their minds and turned
back, but Harriet pushed on towards Philadelphia and freedom. She traveled by night to avoid slave catchers,
following the North Star, and guided along the Underground Railroad. After traveling nearly 90 miles on foot, she
reached Pennsylvania. She said, “When I found I had crossed that
line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the
sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in
Heaven.” Safe in Philadelphia, Harriet began to think
of her family. She wanted them to be free, too. Beginning in 1850, Harriet Tubman returned
to Maryland over and over again to lead enslaved family members and friends to freedom. In 1851, she went back for her husband, but
he had married another woman, and did not want to go with her. Harriet had to be clever to avoid being caught. She usually went to rescue slaves during the
winter, when the nights were long and dark and people stayed inside. When she had a group of slaves ready to escape,
they were careful not to leave until Saturday night. The newspaper could not publish runaway notices
until Monday morning, giving them a better head start. Once, when she was about to be recognized
by a former owner, Harriet grabbed a newspaper and pretended to read it. Since everyone knew that she couldn’t read,
he ignored her. On one of her last missions, Harriet rescued
her parents. Although they had both been freed, they were
in danger of being arrested for helping slaves escape. Harriet led them to Canada where they were
reunited with other friends and family members that she had led to freedom. Because of her quick thinking, Harriet was
never captured, and neither were the people she was helping to escape. “I was conductor of the Underground Railroad
for eight years,” Harriet said, “and I can say what most conductors can’t say — I never
ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” As the Civil war neared, Harriet stopped going
to the south to rescue slaves. Instead, she helped soldiers and escaped slaves
as a nurse, and later as the leader of a band of scouts and a spy. In 1863 Harriet Tubman became the first woman
to lead an armed assault in the Civil War, in a riverboat raid that freed more than 750
slaves. After the Confederacy surrendered in 1865,
Harriet returned home to a property she had purchased in New York. In 1869, Harriet was married for the second
time, to a Civil War veteran named Nelson Charles Davis. Together they adopted a baby girl and lived
together as a family until Davis died in 1888. Despite all her accomplishments, Harriet was
poor. Friends came together to help support her. One woman, Sarah Hopkins Bradford, wrote two
biographies of Harriet Tubman’s life in an attempt to raise some money for her. Eventually Harriet was awarded a government
pension for her service during the Civil War as a nurse. In her later years, she began to promote women’s
suffrage. She was once asked if she thought women should
have the right to vote, and she replied “I’ve suffered enough to believe it.” Harriet Tubman died of pneumonia in 1913,
around the age of ninety. She was buried with semi-military honors at
the Fort Hill Cemetary in Auburn, New York. Today, Harriet Tubman is remembered as an
American icon. She has been commemorated with statues, many
schools have been named in her honor, and she was the first African-American woman honored
on a postage stamp. In 2013, President Barack Obama approved the
creation of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. I hope you enjoyed learning about Harriet
Tubman today. Goodbye till next time!


  1. Post
  2. Post
  3. Post
  4. Post

    The list of American heroes who lived devastatingly poor lives is not a short list. Doing good may be the right thing to do, but as many Americans have lived, it often pays terrible. Fame doesn't put food on the table either. Maybe Americans could choose to support our heroes a little better so they don't land up begging or starving. The woman who wrote a book about her to help her was on the right track. (Pun intended).

  5. Post
  6. Post
  7. Post
  8. Post
  9. Post
  10. Post
    Elyse welch

    You should have included the beautiful picture of her in a dress not this same old picture of her after she's been beaten and tired

  11. Post
  12. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *