In Catherine Clinton's non-fiction book Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom, published in 2004, we learn more about a fascinating historical character about whom too little is known. Tubman was born sometime between 1815 to 1825 and was known by the name Araminta Ross in her younger years....
In Catherine Clinton's non-fiction book Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom, published in 2004, we learn more about a fascinating historical character about whom too little is known. Tubman was born sometime between 1815 to 1825 and was known by the name Araminta Ross in her younger years. Clinton gives us some insight into how and why Harriet changed her name:
Once freed, Araminta decided to take a new first name: Harriet. This was the name of her mother and may also have been the name of one of her sisters who disappeared in the South.
It is always difficult to write biographies of slaves, as record-keeping by slave masters was inconsistent to non-existent. Also, a fire in the courthouse—where the scant records of slaves were housed—burned down in 1850, destroying most documents of value.
Nevertheless, there is still plenty of material here to paint a compelling and interesting portrait of Tubman. We discover that she married a man named John Tubman, with whom she remained close her entire life, even as he stayed behind in the U.S. when she fled to Canada to avoid being captured for her work on the Underground Railroad.
Tubman became so well-known for helping African American men and women escape from slavery that she became known as "the Black Moses." In her later years, Tubman served in the Civil War and also became a renowned speaker. Following are some quotes from the book, written about about the period when when Tubman was still enslaved:
One day, Tubman recalled, she was whipped five times before breakfast—and her neck bore the scars from this incident for the rest of her life.
Unable and unwilling to live out her entire life this way, she vows to be free someday:
I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.
Tubman not only envisioned freedom for herself but also for her loved ones, which is why she made so many risky trips to save them.