As Black History Month gives way to Women’s History Month, AcuteByDesign salutes
Harriet Tubman, a woman of color and one who helped write history. By today’s
standards, Tubman would surely be called an activist and was instrumental in the
abolitionist fight. Born Araminta Ross around 1822 (exact date unknown), she was a
slave until she made her escape, after which she helped some 70 others escape
slavery as a “conductor” on the so-caled Underground Railroad.
During the Civil War, she served first as a cook and nurse but then as an armed scout
and spy for the North (the United States Army), fighting the forces of the South (the
Army of the Confederacy), which wanted to keep Blacks enslaved.
It was in 1849 that Harriet made her escape from slavery, which had inflicted not only
emotional wounds but also physical ones on her. As a child, she was beaten and
whipped by several masters, and at one time a slave owner threw a heavy metal weight
at another slave but missed and hit Harriet instead. This injury left her with permanent ill
effects including pain, dizziness, and hypersomnia.
After her escape to Philadelphia, instead of remaining in the safety of the North, she
returned to her home state of Maryland, intent on rescuing not just her immediate
relatives but her extended family as well, and then dozens of other slaves. She never
lost a “passenger” on her 13 trips to bring roughly 70 slaves to freedom and became
known as “Moses.”
Later she helped abolitionist John Brown in recruiting men for his famed raid on
When the war was won and the slaves were freed, Harriet Tubman turned her feisty
spirit to the fight for women’s suffrage.
She eventually retired to a home on property in Auburn, New York, that she had bought
in 1859, and there cared for her aging parents. She had also helped to establish a home
for elderly African Americans some time earier, and eventually she needed to live there
herself as illness forced her to give up her home and her work in the women’s suffrage
Harriet Tubman, a devout Christian, left this world for a better place on March 10, 1913.
But surely she helped make this world a better place for POCs.