Free Creative Writing On Harriet Tubman

Published: 2021-06-22 00:47:59
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Pioneer for Freedom and Women’s Rights
In 1820 or 1821, a baby named Araminta Ross was born to the parents of Harriet Ross and Benjamin Green. The family lived in Dorchester County, Maryland, an area which allowed slavery. At some point in her early years, young Araminta changed her name to the same as her mother’s, Harriet (Chism).
When Harriet was only five years old, neighbors rented her from her master to do household chores. Since she did perform her duties well, the neighbors regularly beat her for her inadequate housework. After many failed attempts at domestic work, Harriet was given a chance at the manlier field work, which she performed more satisfactorily. She was small in stature, but physically strong, and preferred working in the fields rather than domestic labor.
Always being a compassionate an empathetic person, Harriet tried to intervene and protect another slave that an overseer was going to injure with a heavy weight. The weight hit Harriet in the head, gave her a concussion, and she suffered for the rest of her life from complications of that injury. Immediately after words she had sleeping fits and was unable to work for a long period of time. Later, she was not as employable as a salve due to injury. When her master finally passed, his son hired Harriet out to a lumber merchant, who allowed her to keep a small sum of money for her work (Johnson Lewis).
When Harriet married John Tubman, a free African American, in 1844, she took his surname. After five years she decided that she wanted freedom. She ran away along the Underground Railroad. John did not join her (Chism). It is reported, by her, that when she reached freedom, she said: "I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person now I was free. There was such a glory over everything and I felt like I was in heaven” (Harriet Tubman).
Harriet established contacts in New York and Canada that empathized with the abolitionist movement. A year later, in 1950, she made the first of 19 trips back to the South the rescue family members at first, and then anyone who she could help. With a name that is one of the most recognizable women in United States’ history, Harriet Tubman is known for her work on the Underground Railroad. She served as a conductor, helping to lead slaves who had escaped their masters to freedom. In all, during the 1850’s, she led about 300 people to freedom from slavery (Chism).
During her first trip up North, arriving in Philadelphia, Tubman was free. But, with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, there were many changes. African Americans who had never been slaves or even been to the South were being “returned” by dishonest people to collect money. All Northern citizens were required and return the property of Southern slave-owners to them, even if they did not agree. The African Americans that had escaped to the North were no longer safe. Canada was the new Northern safe haven. Tubman was too well known to be a runaway slave and was especially at risk of capture and return.
Tubman adjusted her travels for her safety and the safety of her passengers. Instead of Philadelphia, her new destination was St. Catherine’s, Canada. True freedom existed for Tubman and her passengers there. During the years 1851-1857, Tubman lived in St. Catherine’s, Canada, during much of the year, but she also spent some time in Auburn, New York, where most people were abolitionists (Johnson Lewis).
Harriet Tubman earned the nickname “Moses” in her lifetime. In all of the explorations into her life, it has not been unveiled that she was a deeply religious woman, so it is believed it was the religious convictions of those she guided that earned her this title. She felt that none that she rescued were better than her, which helped her to blend in with the slaves that she was helping when she was in Maryland and protect her identity. For weeks at a time, she would need to be in public, seen by the eyes of the public, while she made preparations for the journey. It is always reported that she never showed fear for her own safety. It never appeared to enter her mind that she could be captured by either slave-owners or slave-hunters, as she was wanted by both groups.
Tubman did have one rule for her passengers. Once they train left, there was no going back. If they tried, they would die. A death sentence was never carried out, but she did carry a rifle that could be used to enforce this rule, if necessary. According to Tubman, there were too many secrets that could be divulged. Even if the slave did not want to share the information, or did not mean to do so, torture could cause people to say things that were never meant to be said. When passengers struggled to make the journey, Tubman and the other passengers always ensured that they completed the journey. She never lost a passenger.
During the leg of the journey in New York between Rochester and Auburn, Tubman found great support from the abolitionists and Quakers. United States Senator William H. Seward, the former New York Governor, was one of Tubman’s greatest supporters throughout her time as a conductor of the Underground Railroad and for the remainder of her life. He and his wife, Frances, even housed Tubman’s most favored niece, Margaret, after Tubman helped her escape from Maryland. Later they sold Tubman a home for her parents for a fraction of its value for their retirement in Auburn (The Life of Harriet Tubman).
She became a wanted activist, and had a reward of $40,000 for her capture by the slave-owners organizations in the south. There were few, if any, other African American conductors on the Underground Railroad that carried such a high bounty on their heads. One of the most famous stories that surfaced in trying to find Tubman was when she was being sought on a railroad car, she hid behind a newspaper. Being illiterate, she did not know that the paper was upside down. The train conductor was apparently illiterate also, because he passed her by, not noticing either.
As the controversy between the states was gaining momentum, Tubman was an active participant in the struggle. As John Brown was planning the raid on Harper’s Ferry, around 1858, Tubman was a participant in the initial planning stages. She helped him with logistical reasoning and strategies during the initial discussions about the possibility of raining the armory and passing out the weapons among the slaves in the area. Tubman had always been able to help raise funds when needed, and she did help Brown bankroll his cause. If she had been well at the time of the raid, she probably would have participated in it. When Tubman was interviewed in 1912, she referred to Brown as a dear friend (Harriet Tubman).
She served in other humanitarian capacities as well, as well as a patriot and political activist. Since she did not fit the traditional role of a spy, she served one well for the Union Army. Since she was illiterate, she was unable to leave any first-hand accounts of her activities, but she shared her stories with many others who recorded them for her. In the National Archives and Records Administration there is a file for Ms. Tubman. In one record she requests a pension by a general affidavit since she did serve as a soldier in the Civil War. There is another letter that outlines her sufferings of sexism and racism.
As the Civil War erupted, Tubman changed her focus to war efforts. In 1861, she was assigned to Colonel James Montgomery’s 2nd Carolina Volunteers. Her duties were varied. She served the Union soldiers by working as a nurse, cook, and spy. From 1861-1865 she also served the North as she attended to soldiers who were wounded and sick. She aided Montgomery as she monitored “contrabands,” the slaves who were under Union control as they had been acquired for a variety of reasons. Of great valuable to the Union soldiers was her extensive knowledge of the local geography. The personal contacts that she had made while conducting on the Underground Railroad enabled her to gain information about the Confederates. As a five foot tall, middle-aged black woman, she was able to move behind the Confederate lines and acquire information without notice, making her an ideal spy.
It is not well known that Tubman actually led soldiers into battle. During Colonel Montgomery’s Combahee River campaign, it would not be suspected that a little black woman actually had an army behind her, thus creating an element of surprise. Intelligence had been acquired about the location of some weapons storage facilities in South Carolina. Tubman was familiar with the river, so she led a contingent down the river during the night acquiring or destroying the weapons, burning down some of the largest plantations in South Carolina, and freeing 750 slaves (Chism).
In 1870, Tubman married Nelson Davis, who she met in a military camp in South Carolina. They settled in Auburn, New York. They remained together until he died in 1888. He was supportive of her efforts to help others in the community. During that time, and after, Tubman continued to serve others. Now, she rallied for the political rights of women along with her allies Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. During this time, Tubman also helped to care for her own elderly parents as well as other needy men and women. She used little of the money she earned as a public speaker for herself. Most of this money she invested, instead, to educate freed men and women, to establish a convalescent home, and to begin clothing drives in the community. She also, with much help from her friend Senator Seward, eventually received a combination of a soldier’s and widow’s pension of $20 a month, which was more than the $8 a month widow’s pension most women received and almost as much as the $25 a month that soldiers received. She received this from 1910 until her death in 1913, although she received the widow’s pension for year’s prior and more than that when she began appealing for a soldier’s pension in 1898 based on her military service (Chism). In one her final acts, Harriet Tubman lent her name to a Boston-based service organization aligned with the Women’s Christian Temperance Union as she wanted their cause to be carried on, and they were able to convince her that her name would help them prosper (King).
Knowledge of Past Influence Present
It is almost unimaginable to even think of the ordeals that women went through less than 150 years ago in this country. Although it is technically illegal, there are women in the world that are still living in similar situations today. Every morning, most women in the United States wake up and just take their freedom for granted. It just is not something that is even given a thought.
For instance, Election Day just occurred. One of the things that people wanted when the Civil War was fought was the freedom to vote. Now, less than 150 years after the war, less than 50% of United States citizens that are eligible to register bother to register. Why is that the case? People in the past, for many of us these people were our own ancestors, fought and died for such rights and freedoms, and we are so apathetic that we do not even participate in our democratic government. Tubman realized how important it was to be involved in a democratic government. Government by the people and for the people is what this society is based on today. But, less than half of the population is participating in the by the people part although all must follow the directives given for the people. After putting her life on the line so many times, Tubman must be so disappointed in the apathy of the descendants of the slaves that she helped to free, the ones that are not registered to vote, the ones that are not true participants in the democratic process in this country.
Creative Piece
Harriet could not read or write
Through no fault of her own.
Yet bravery and courage served her well
As she served so many others and her own.
Guiding many up North through danger
Keeping them safe from harm
Harriet then served as a soldier
Guiding soldiers into battle safely and from harm.
Later in life she still kept working
Helping others better their lives
Never one to give up no matter what she sought
Thousands benefitted with better lives.
Explanation
A true saint, Harriet Tubman was always willing to serve the needs as others. First as a conductor of the Underground Railroad, then as a soldier and spy for the Union Army, and later as a humanitarian.
Thematic Content Analysis
I do not believe that in stories collected from relatives there are anecdotes related to my career choice of a teacher or entering the educational field. My interest in education has come from an intrinsic feeling and desire of wanting to be able to help others learn about themselves and discover things about the world around them, learn new skills, learn how to learn, and expand their knowledge base. I want to be able to demonstrate to young learners that education is a means to improve their lives and that with education; they have the ability to determine their own futures. I want young people to realize that they are not powerless but powerful. Harriet Tubman did not let her situation overcome her, but she found a way to overcome it. I want to teach others that they, too, no matter how dire their situation, with determination, they can overcome it and become the successful person that they want to become, through education and all that it has to offer. People are powerful, and education enhances the power that people possess.
Too many young people feel today that they are the part of a generation that has its future predetermined. They are a product of where they were born. If they were not born in a desirable family, class, financial situation, neighborhood, or desirable circumstances, than there are only two ways out: stardom or drugs. Drugs look good too often for the short term. The children seem to think that they are either going to be the one that is not going to get caught or life is just going to be that enjoyable until they get caught, but there are no other choices.
Stardom, rather through sports, music, or acting, looks enticing for quite a while. Each child is going to be whoever their idol is. They are going to be it. Unfortunately, eventually reality sets in, and they realize their only out is the drug route.
Instead, the emphasis needs to be placed on the educational route. Every child saved is a child saved. Hopefully every child saved will go back and save a few more and they will save a few more, to at least begin to put a dent in this escalating program. Education can be the way to success, these children just need to hear the message. I want to deliver it. Harriet was able to deliver her message, have thousands hear it, and save hundreds. If I could also save hundreds, I would be pleased with my success.
Family Story
My mother and her sister are such dynamic women. Although they had to care for a sick mother and grandmother as teen-agers, they both made sure they finished high school and cared for their younger siblings. At the same time, they also took care of their ill mother, grandmother, cared for the house, and also worked part-time jobs to earn much needed income to help support the household. Knowing how important education was to ensure their future, they also took turns continuing their education and being at home to care for their siblings as well as their mother and grandmother.
My aunt went to school first, since she was two years older. She studied nursing, and completed her studies as a registered nurse. When my aunt began working and was able to support the household, my mother went to college and studied elementary education. She had earned a full scholarship. One of my younger aunts was old enough to help with the household chores, easing some of the responsibilities from my mother, so she was able to devote enough time to her studies.
My mother began working as a second grade teacher when she graduated from college. She enjoyed the work, although it was challenging. Soon after, her grandmother passed away, which also made her mother depressed. She was able to cheer her mother up by sharing stories about her students with her every day when she came home. After her third year of teaching, she won the state teacher of the year award, an incredible distinction, which made her mother very proud. Several days after she returned home from the state capital with the trophy, her mother passed away. My mother was pleased, however, to know that her own mother had lived to share in that happiness with her.
Works Cited
Chism, Kahlil. "Harriet Tubman: Spy, Veteran, And Widow." OAH Magazine Of History 19.2
(2005): 47. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 6 Nov. 2012.
“Harriet Tubman.” Women in History. Lakewood Public Library., n. d. Web. 7 Nov. 2012.
Johnson Lewis, Jone. Harriet Tubman Biography: From Slavery to Freedom. n.d. Web. 6 Nov.
2012.
King, Wilma. "Harriet Tubman: The Life And The Life Stories." Journal Of Southern History
71.3 (2005): 692-696. Academic Search Complete. Web. 8 Nov. 2012.
“The Life of Harriet Tubman.” New York History Net. The Harriet Tubman Home., n. d. Web.
7 Nov. 2012.

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