Over the past few years, there has been a discussion about changing the face of at least one of our dollar bills. Just recently, it was announced that Andrew Jackson would no longer be the face of the $20. For the first time in history, an African-American — the famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman — will grace the front of U.S. paper currency.
If you don’t know who Tubman is, you’ve either been living under a rock, failed every single one of your history classes, or both. She was an instrumental figure of The Underground Railroad, a network of paths that helped people escape slavery in the South. But there’s far more to her life than that. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about this important figure in American history.
Harriet Tubman was actually born Araminta Ross. She changed her first name to her mother’s before she escaped and took her husband’s surname.
Harriet Tubman didn’t just shelter and lead slaves to freedom; she also worked as a spy for the Union during The Civil War.
Tubman led a very successful raid during The Civil War in which over 700 slaves were freed. She was the first woman to lead a military raid of this sort.
She was instrumental in freeing more than 3,000 slaves during her lifetime. Her heroic efforts earned her the nickname “Moses.”
In a biography about her, Tubman recalls how she felt upon crossing the Mason-Dixon Line: “When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.”
Tubman was illiterate her entire life.
In the later stages of her life, Tubman had to have brain surgery because she couldn’t sleep at night. Instead of receiving anesthesia, she opted to bite a bullet because that’s what she saw soldiers doing during The Civil War.
When Harriet Tubman died in 1913 of pneumonia, she was buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, NY, and was awarded military honors.
(via Black History Studies)
What a truly fascinating person. Harriet Tubman changed the way America thought about African-Americans, freedom, and women. We salute you, Tubman!