Harriet Tubman, American Hero

Harriet Tubman was an amazing woman whose bravery and perseverance led her to achieve extraordinary acts of heroism. 

Brave. Harriet Tubman made a decision during her personal escape that she had the right to two things: liberty or death, and was bound to have one of them. Her self-sacrifice was evident as she risked life and limb on each return rescue mission and during the Civil War to free others. In a letter to Tubman, Fredrick Douglass wrote, “Excepting John Brown – of sacred memory – I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people than you have.”

Civil War Hero. Harriet Tubman served in the United States Army during the Civil War, where she was a scout, secret spy, nurse and the first woman in U.S. history to lead a military expedition. When she died in 1913, she was buried with semi-military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, NY and in 2021, the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps inducted her into their Hall of Fame.

Heroine. During her life, Harriet Tubman made authentic, impactful and enormous contributions to her people and the country. The totality of her work – freeing hundreds of enslaved people among various missions, leading expeditions in the Civil War, and tending to those in need - is deserving of national recognition as a heroine. To this day, her family members never fail to stop at her residence during visits to Auburn, NY to remember her and her impact on American history.   

Persevering. As an enslaved child on a plantation, Harriet Tubman spent long hours picking apples that she was forbidden to eat. When she did steal one, she was beaten. Could this have led Harriet to attribute apples as a symbol of freedom and wealth? After purchasing her property in Auburn, NY, she planted many apple trees, which still fruit today. 

Discover Harriet Tubman’s Chosen Home

Find out more to see and do around abolition, civil rights and equal rights heritage in our area. Harriet Tubman settled here in her freedom for many reasons, and the community that welcomed her with open arms is a big part of that story.