Harriet Tubman was the daughter of Harriet Green and Benjamin Ross, and was born into slavery in Dorchester County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore as Araminta “Minty” Ross, one of eight siblings .
Her resistance to slavery and its abuses was evident early on when, at the age of 12, she intervened to keep her enslaver from beating another slave who had tried to escape. She was hit in the head with a 2-pound weight, which resulted in a lifetime of headaches and narcolepsy.
In 1844, she entered a marital union with John Tubman, a free black man (enslaved people were not legally allowed to marry). She took his name and later changed her first name to Harriet in honor of her mother.
Harriet Tubman was known as the Moses of her people. As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she led nearly 70 slaves to freedom, making 13 separate trips to Maryland. Tubman also served as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. She is considered the first Black woman to serve in the military.
Interested in learning more? The self-guided Tubman Byway driving tour winds through 125 miles of beautiful landscapes and waterscapes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Harriet Tubman Tours offers a guided tour with stops at the wharf where slave ships once docked, the courthouse where Harriet engineered her first escape, the Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center and the general store where Harriet displayed her first act of defiance — and nearly lost her life.