Slavery in the Nineteenth Century

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What is the significance of Harriet Tubman?

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The major significance of Harriet Tubman is that she is seen as a symbol of how black people resisted slavery during the time before the Civil War.  Tubman is famous for being the "Moses" of her people because she did so...

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Harriet Tubman was the conductor of the Underground Railroad. Born a slave in Dorchester County, Maryland she later escaped in 1849 and made her way to Philadelphia upon news that she was to be sold.  Later she returned to Maryland to rescue her sister and her two children in 1850.  Throughout the next eleven years, Tubman made 13 expeditions into the south and rescued 70 slaves.  Tubman made use of free blacks, abolitionists and others in order to avoid capture.  She often sang songs which were codes to alert the slaves she was present.  She was known to carry chickens or other goods so that she appeared to be a slave woman conducting errands.  About her years rescuing slaves she stated "I was conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say – I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger."

During the Civil War Tubman served the Union Army as a nurse, spy, and a scout.  She helped conduct a raid during the war that freed as many as 750 slaves.  She later settled in Auburn, New York and attempted to establish a home for destitute former slaves who were too old to work.  She died in 1913. 

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