Who is Harriet Tubman in African American history?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In African American history, Harriet Tubman is a figure who represents the burning desire to be free.  She is also very important for the fact that she was a female leader in the African American community.

Harriet Tubman was born in 1820.  She was born a slave.  In 1849, Tubman escaped from slavery.  This was the beginning of her public career.  She soon became active in trying to help other African Americans escape from slavery.  She is said to have helped somewhere in the range of 300 slaves to escape.  For this alone, she would be an important figure.

However, Tubman was also important for other reasons.  She became an important activist in the abolitionist movement.  When the Civil War started, she became involved in that as well.  She acted as a nurse and a cook for the Union army.  However, she also acted as a scout and a spy.   This would have required a great deal of bravery, just as her forays into the South to help bring slaves to freedom would have.

Harriet Tubman, then, is a major symbol of African Americans’ desire to be free.  She is an important figure in African American history and in the overall history of the United States.