Today’s Dope Queen is Abolitionist and Civil War Hero Harriet Tubman. Tubman was a former slave turned conductor on the Underground Railroad who led escaped slaves to safety up north. During the Civil War she acted as a scout and spy for the Union Army, and became the first woman to lead an armed raid. In 2020 Harriet Tubman will become the first African American woman on American currency, replacing Andrew Jackson on the 20-dollar bill.
Harriet Tubman was born Araminta Ross on a plantation in Dorchester County, MD between 1819 and 1823. As a teenager, she was seriously injured after being hit in the head with a heavy weight an overseer threw at an escaping slave. Her brain injury caused her to suffer from Hypersomnia spells, visions and strange dreams, which she believed were signs from God.
In 1844, she married a free black man named John Tubman and changed her name to Harriet to honor her mother. In 1849 Tubman and two of her brothers escaped their plantation to head to Pennsylvania. The brothers turned back, but Harriet successfully made it to Philadelphia. She returned to Maryland in 1850 to free family members, and made the trip 18 more times.
Tubman utilized the Underground Railroad and led over 300 people to freedom. She became known as “Moses” for her heroism. In 1861, the American Civil War began, and Tubman found work as a nurse. After the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect she became a scout under Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. In June 1865, she led a raid on plantations along the Combahee River and liberated 750 slaves. Tubman never received a regular salary despite her service and was denied proper compensation until 1899 when she was awarded a pension.
After the war Tubman went to Auburn, NY to take care of her elderly parents. She married a farmer named Nelson Davis, and the two adopted a baby girl. She became a philanthropist and 1908 opened the Harriet Tubman Home for the elderly. Harriet Tubman died on March 10th, 1913 while surrounded by friends and family. She received semi-military honors during her funeral at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, NY.