Harriet Tubman

In the 18th and 19th centuries, many African-Americans lived as slaves.  Slaves were people who were bought and sold, much like commercial goods.  Many white people who owned land in the southern American states used slaves.  They made the slaves live and work on their farms. The slaves had no choice.  Many slave owners treated slaves very badly.  Usually, if a slave had children, they too would become slaves.  Many people believed this system (called “slavery”) was wrong and they fought against it.  One of them was Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman was born in the American state of Maryland around 1822.  She was the child of two African-American slaves.  Because her parents were slaves, she had to become a slave too.  She had a very difficult childhood.  She often got angry and talked back to the slave owners.  They would punish her by beating and whipping her.

In 1849, Ms. Tubman decided to escape from slavery.  It was very dangerous. A group of people secretly helped her move north where she could be free.  They gave her a place to stay and hid her from people trying to catch slaves who tried to escape.  This collection of places and people who helped escaping slaves was called The Underground Railroad.

Ms. Tubman finally arrived in Philadelphia, where she was free.  She spent the rest of her life trying to help people escape from slavery.  She hid them and helped them to move north to freedom.  She became an important part of the Underground Railroad.  This was very dangerous.  Today, she is seen as a hero who fought for what was right.