Harriet Tubman 101: Did You Know?

Written by: Shay Dawson



A statue of Harriet Tubman outside of the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center

A statue of Harriet Tubman outside of the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center


If there’s one thing from the past five weeks working with HART, it’s that there are various misconceptions about Harriet Tubman. From incorrect reports of how many enslaved individuals she brought to freedom to factually unsupported speculations about her family life, it can be difficult to wade through what is true and what is false. What can be said without a doubt, however, is that Tubman was a spectacular figure in every way. A true humanitarian who dedicated her life to abolitionist efforts, she was a force to be reckoned with. Even so, it’s still important to highlight Tubman’s reality. As such, here are my top 5 favorite new things I have learned about her thus far:

  1. Harriet Tubman’s birth name is Araminta Ross, often called “Minty”. Her mother’s name was Harriet (often called Rit), and Tubman took on this name upon taking her freedom. Tubman, her last name, came from her first husband John Tubman.
  2. Though Tubman lived out the rest of her days in Auburn, NY, she was actually born in Dorchester County, MD.
  3. Tubman often had visions that she proclaimed were from God. She stated that this is what assisted her in leading so many to freedom. Upon accidentally being hit in the head by a master who had actually intended to hit another enslaved person, she would succumb to bouts of sudden sleep.
  4. This magnificent figure is often credited with freeing over 300 enslaved individuals. Though her efforts were remarkable, the actual number is around 70-80 enslaved people being emancipated by Tubman. Regardless of the number, it’s a spectacular feat!
  5. Tubman did not have any biological children of her own. She did, however, adopt. Some speculate that one of her adopted children might actually be her own, but this has not been confirmed.


Tour Cayuga Harriet Tubman's hometown yard sign

Tour Cayuga Harriet Tubman’s hometown yard sign


There is so much more to learn about the magnificent Harriet Tubman, so I hope these brief five facts encourage readers to explore more about the largely untold facets of her life.

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