Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in 1821. At age eight, she was already working for her Maryland owner. When she was thirteen, an overseer hit her in the head with a two-pound weight; she suffered from seizures the rest of her life. In 1844 she married John Tubman, a free black man.
In 1849 Harriet escaped north to Philadelphia with the help of the Underground Railroad network. On over nineteen return trips to the south, Harriet helped more than three hundred other slaves escape to freedom, including some of her own family, earning herself the name "the Moses of her people."
During the Civil War, Harriet worked as a spy for the Union Army; she planned and executed a mass escape of slaves to Union ships at the Combahee River Ferry.
After the war, Harriet was active in African-American and women 's rights, published the story of her life, and married Nelson Davis, a former slave and Union soldier. When Harriet Tubman died on March 10, 1913, she was given a full military burial.
Image from National Portrait Gallery, circa 1885. Artist: H. Seymour Squyer, 1848 - 18 Dec 1905.