Black History Month: Harriett Tubman, an Underground Trailblazer

Araminta Ross. “Moses of her people.” General Tubman.

These are only a few of the many names given to the revolutionary we call Harriet Tubman. 

A woman of strength and resilience, Harriet was enslaved, escaped, and as many know helped hundreds of others gain their freedom, too. She left behind a legacy of defying the odds and not tolerating failure. She never took small steps in fears of failure, instead, she took giant ones. 

She set goals and objectives that were obtainable for her. As part of this month of celebration and acknowledgment, the story of a Black woman who rose above all the obstruction surrounding her is important. When discussing the woman best known as Harriet Tubman, people should remember the message she epitomized with her entire life — “No matter the odds you face, keep going.” 

Araminta Ross was born in Dorchester County, Maryland between 1820 and 1822 — her exact birthdate is unknown — to parents Harriet Green and Benjamin Ross, who are said to have raised their children to be strong-minded people. Araminta’s resistance and defiance to slavery and its injustices began at the age of 12. A captured slave who had just attempted to escape was receiving a beating from the master when young Harriet intervened, attempting to stop him. That resulted in her being struck in the head with a two-pound weight, leaving her with a lifetime of severe headaches. 

By the year 1844, Harriet married John Tubman, a free Black man (slaves were not allowed to marry) and by 1851 she was a free woman. 

Opposite to most beliefs and stories, Harriet Tubman was not the creator of the Underground Railroad. She was merely a future thought, an intuitive feeling by Black and white abolitionists from the 18th Century who created this escape route. This example of leaving a path for others to cross is how Harriet was able to free so many people, and how she made a way for generations later to cross different paths. Tubman was a woman, but also a soldier at heart, willing to put her life at stake to help others be free.