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Sarah H. Bradford Sarah Hopkins , b. Lockwood and Son, Araminta "Harriet" Ross Tubman was a fugitive slave whose work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad made her a legend. Born in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman escaped from slavery in and supported herself by working in Philadelphia hotels before relocating to Canada and, later, New York.
Biography: Harriet Tubman for Kids
Tubman first returned to Maryland in , when she helped a niece escape from Baltimore, and over the next ten years, she frequently risked her life to liberate family members and other slaves in the area. After the war, Tubman returned to Auburn, New York, where she spoke at women's suffrage meetings with other prominent figures such as Susan B. When Tubman and her friends decided to publish Tubman's life story, Bradford was a logical choice to author the volume: she lived in nearby Geneva, New York, and had already written biographies of Peter the Great and Columbus.
But Bradford moved to Germany in —before she had finished writing the book—leaving her printer, William J.
The Truths Behind the Myth of Harriet Tubman
Moses, to compile and edit Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman As a result, Scenes is often disjointed, skipping from anecdote to anecdote with little regard for chronology. In , Bradford substantially rewrote the biography at the request of Tubman, who hoped to raise enough funds for "the building of a hospital for old and disabled colored people" p.
This second edition, Harriet, the Moses of Her People , provided little new information but did arrange the jumbled narrative of Scenes in chronological order, providing a clearer account of Tubman's life. Unfortunately, Bradford's interest in producing streamlined prose leads her to take poetic license in Harriet.
In order to provide a continuous narrative, Bradford introduces hypothetical scenarios from her own imagined idea of Tubman's childhood that may not accurately reflect the past. For example, Bradford begins Harriet by asking readers to imagine "a hot summer's day, perhaps sixty years ago," when "a group of merry little darkies were rolling and tumbling in the sand in front of the large house of a Southern planter," while Tubman, "darker than any of the others, and with a more decided wooliness in the hair" sits "[a]part from the rest of the children, on the top rail of a fence, holding tight on to the tall gate post" p.
This detailed description characterizes Harriet and improves stylistically on the disjointed prose of Scenes , but Bradford often includes such detail at the expense of the direct quotes from Tubman and reliable descriptions of real events that give her first biography an aura of authenticity. When she heard that her deceased master's property would be sold she escaped to freedom in Pennsylvania. When she discovered what it was to be free, she wanted to help other people to freedom.
She knew that her efforts would require money and therefore she worked part-time jobs until she had enough money for her first mission. She traveled to Baltimore and rescued her sister and her two children.
She made at least fifteen trips to the south and lead at least people to freedom. All Harriet Tubman's trips were successful because she was a master in planning the strategy of each of her escape operations. No detail was missed by her.
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She planned for food, clothing, train tickets and forged passes. She even included sedatives for crying babies. She never lost a passenger.
On at least one occasion, she threatened to shoot a passenger who had second thoughts about escaping. The overnight stops on what came to be know as the Underground Railroad were a network of homes and churches.