Harriet Tubman - Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen

Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World - Ann Shen (2016)

Harriet Tubman

Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman (ca. 1822-1913) was easily one of the most courageous people who ever lived. Abused daily by her masters, Tubman became disabled after one threw an iron weight at her head, then left her unconscious and without medical care for two days. She survived, but suffered seizures and narcolepsy for the rest of her life. Tubman escaped slavery in 1849, yet returned to the South at least nineteen times over the next eight years, even with a bounty on her head, to usher over seventy runaway slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. When the Civil War broke out, Tubman served as a nurse, scout, and spy, even becoming the first American woman to lead an armed assault. She worked with Colonel Montgomery and his troops to raid plantations along the Combahee River, where they rescued over 750 slaves. Tubman received no compensation for her war services and lived in poverty most of her life because she gave so much away.

She managed to buy property in Auburn, New York, where she housed anyone who needed help getting back on their feet. Later in her life she worked alongside Susan B. Anthony and other suffragettes to fight for the vote, even though she had to sell a cow to buy a train ticket to speak at receptions honoring her service. In 1903, she donated her own real estate to a church in Auburn to open a care facility for elderly African-Americans, a place she called home a decade later. She passed away at the age of ninety-one, surrounded by friends; her last words were reportedly, “I go to prepare a place for you.”

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