(c. 1820 - 1913)
Born a slave on the eastern shore of Maryland, she fled north to freedom. There she joined the secret network of free Blacks and white sympathizers who helped runaways - the "underground railroad." She became a 'conductor" who risked her life to lead her people to freedom. Tubman returned time after time to her native Maryland, bringing out her relatives and as many as 300 other slaves.
The shadowy figure of the conductor "Moses" became so feared that a huge reward was put on "his" head, for slaveowners did not at first believe a woman capable of such daring. Cool, resourceful, skilled in the use of disguise and diversions, she is said to have carried a pistol, telling the faint-hearted they must go on or die. Apparently only illness prevented Harriet Tubman from joining John Brown in the raid on Harper's Ferry.
When the Civil War began, she worked among the slaves who fled their masters and flocked to Union lines. She organized many of them into spy and scout networks that operated behind Confederate lines from bases on islands off the coast of the Carolinas. After the war she devoted herself to caring for orphaned and invalid Blacks, and worked to promote the establishment of freedmen's schools in the South.
Additional Resources:Janney, Rebecca Price. Harriet Tubman. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1999.
As we remember Harriet Tubman,
PLEASE COPY AND PASTE THE FOLLOWING LINK INTO YOUR BROWSER TO VIEW A VIDEO ABOUT ABOLITIONISM AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad
The early abolition movement in North America was fueled both by slaves’ efforts to liberate themselves and by groups of white settlers, such as the Quakers, who opposed slavery on religious or moral grounds. Though the lofty ideals of the Revolutionary era invigorated the movement, by the late 1780s it was in decline, as the growing southern cotton industry made slavery an ever more vital part of the national economy. In the early 19th century, however, a new brand of radical abolitionism emerged in the North, partly in reaction to Congress’ passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 and the tightening of slave codes in most southern states. One of its most eloquent voices was William Lloyd Garrison, a crusading journalist from Massachusetts, who founded the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator in 1831 and became known as the most radical of America’s antislavery activists. Antislavery northerners—many of them free blacks—had begun helping fugitive slaves escape from southern plantations to the North via a loose network of safe houses as early as the 1780s. Known as the Underground Railroad, the organization gained real momentum in the 1830s and eventually helped anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 slaves reach freedom. Harriet Tubman, its most celebrated —conductor,” was a former slave who married a free black man and escaped from Maryland to Philadelphia in 1849. On numerous risky trips south, she helped some 300 other slaves escape before serving as a scout and spy for Union forces in South Carolina during the Civil War. The success of the Underground Railroad helped spread abolitionist feelings in the North; it also undoubtedly increased sectional tensions, convincing pro–slavery southerners of their northern countrymen’s determination to defeat the institution that sustained them.
Image: North Wind Picture Archives
"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal........."
With these words a dream was given life in historic Seneca Falls, New York, the Birthplace of Women's Rights. Here, in 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (a Seneca Falls resident), Lucretia Mott and 300 other women and men held the first Women's Rights Convention. The Declaration of Sentiments, modeled after the Declaration of Independence, was presented and passed by the convention. These resolutions included among other demands, that women have the right to vote. The struggle for women's rights had begun.
Seventy-two years later in 1920, the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified, which gave women many rights, including the right to vote. It had been a long, hard fight by women and men who believed in the equality and rights of women.
The women and men of Seneca Falls created the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1969, believing that the contributions of American women deserved a permanent home. In 1979, after a major fundraising drive, the Hall purchased an historic bank building in the heart of the Seneca Falls Historic District, renovating it to house the Hall's permanent exhibit, artifacts of historical interest, and offices.
In 1969, a group of women and men of Seneca Falls created the National Women's Hall of Fame, believing that the contribution of American women deserved a permanent home in the small village where it all began. The Hall is home to exhibits, artifacts of historical interest, a research library and office. The National Women's Hall of Fame, a national membership organization, holds as its mission:
"To honor in perpetuity these women, citizens of the United States of America whose contributions to the arts, athletics, business, education, government, the humanities, philanthropy and science, have been the greatest value for the development of their country."©The Hall is a shrine to some of the greatest women in the history of this country and a tribute that grows annually with each induction ceremony as we learn to appreciate more about the wonderful contributions that women make to our civilization.
Board of Directors of the National Women's Hall of Fame respectfully
requests nominations of outstanding American women to be considered for
induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
The mission of the National Women's Hall of Fame is: "To honor in perpetuity those women, citizens of the United States of America, whose contributions to the arts, athletics, business, education, government, the humanities, philanthropy and science, have been the greatest value…." Nominees may be living or deceased, but must be citizens of the United States. Their contribution(s) should be of national or global importance and of enduring value.
Instructions and Information
Completed Nomination Forms must be submitted directly to the Hall of Fame (see below). Only nominations submitted on this official Nomination Form will be accepted for review. Nominations will be reviewed for accuracy and compliance by the Hall's Research Committee. Nominations are judged by independent panels of judges, newly recruited every year. The judges panels are composed of distinguished citizens with expertise in one or more of the areas of achievement outlined in the Hall's mission and of representatives from respected, relevant national organizations.
Please type all answers and complete the nomination form in its entirety. Incomplete nomination forms (forms without all requested information) will not be forwarded to the judges for consideration. Your completed form is the primary tool used to determine the merits of each nominee for induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame. If you wish, you may also submit supplementary information in support of a nomination (articles, speeches, letters, etc.). These materials are often helpful and become part of the Hall's permanent and extensive files on notable American women. However, only a completed Nomination Form will be sent on for judging and final selection. Please note that all materials sent with this Nomination Form become the property of the National Women's Hall of Fame and will not be returned.
Nominations will be reviewed and considered on a continuing basis. However, a cut-off date will be set approximately 12-18 months prior to a scheduled induction ceremony. Nominations received after that date will be considered for the following induction.
Click here to fill out the Nominations Form
You can honor an
National Women's Hall of Fame
Book of Lives and Legacies
- Your mother, friend, or colleague is deserving of a lasting honor
- Your organization honors women in your field for exceptional achievement
- Your company has a founder, president, chief executive, or other officer who merits recognition
A commemorative plaque will be sent to you or to the recipient, as well as the gift of one year’s membership in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.