Harriet Tubman - Equal Rights Champion

Harriet Tubman fought not only for her own freedom, but for freedom for all. She led many to freedom as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and continued fighting for equal rights within the abolition and suffrage movements alongside her contemporaries in Auburn and the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Abolitionist. A leading abolitionist, Harriet Tubman embarked on multiple dangerous journeys along the Underground Railroad to free enslaved individuals, earning her the nickname “Moses of her people”. During the Civil War, she led soldiers and steamboat attacks with Colonel James Montgomery that liberated enslaved individuals from several rice plantations along the river shore in South Carolina. Between these various efforts and routes (and others), Tubman undisputedly freed hundreds of people.

Conductor on the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman led many individuals, including her family, to freedom along the secret network known as the Underground Railroad. The exact number of people is unknown because rescue missions were clandestine and rarely documented – but she is credited as being the most successful conductor along the route. There were multiple houses and people around Cayuga County who sheltered her and her refugees. At the Seward House Museum, you can see the actual room that was used to house those on their freedom journey.

Suffragist. Believing in the equality of all people, Black and white, male and female made Harriet Tubman a strong supporter of suffrage. In 1896, she was one of the co-founders of the National Association of Colored Women, which focused on voting rights for African American women and men. The mission of the original co-founders and members was to obtain suffrage, anti-lynching laws, education and equal rights. Harriet Tubman was also close friends with suffragist Emily Howland, whose contributions to the women's rights movement are on display at the Howland Stone Store Museum.


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.