Harriet Tubman was a maid, nurse, field hand, cook, woodcutter and spy. She is best known as an American woman who escaped from slavery to become one of America’s leading abolitionists before the Civil War.
In 1849, on the strength of rumors that she was about to be sold, Tubman fled to Philadelphia, leaving her family behind. That was the first of some 13 dangerous journeys in which she guided more than 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, along the Underground Railroad to Canada.
By her extraordinary courage, ingenuity, persistence, and iron discipline, Tubman became the “railroad’s” most famous conductor and was known as the “Moses of her people.” It has been said that she never lost a fugitive she was leading to freedom.
During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman served as a scout and spy for the Union Army, becoming the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the conflict.
In her later years, she was active in the women’s suffrage movement, working with Susan B. Anthony and others.