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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

The Indomitable Harriet Tubman

The Indomitable Harriet Tubman

 I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger. Harriet Tubman

It's hard to overstate the contributions of Harriet Tubman to our nation and the world. After escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad, she devoted herself to giving other slaves the same opportunity. Tubman became a Railroad "conductor" and assisted some 70 people, including members of her family, in escaping to freedom over the course of more than a decade.

When the Civil War began, Tubman offered her services to the Union Army. In early 1862, she went to South Carolina to provide badly needed nursing care for black soldiers and newly liberated slaves. Working with General David Hunter, Tubman also began spying and scouting missions behind Confederate lines. In June 1863, she guided Colonel James Montgomery in an assault on several plantations along the Combahee River, rescuing more than 700 slaves.

Tubman was based in Beaufort, South Carolina, during the Battle of Fort Wagner (where our supporters have helped to preserve 118 acres of hallowed ground). There, the 54th Massachusetts a Boston-based regiment of free African Americans famously spearheaded an attack on the Confederate stronghold, many losing their lives in the effort. Tubman vividly described the experience: "...then we saw the lightning, and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder, and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling, and that was the drops of blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was the dead that we reaped." Tubman nursed hundreds of survivors after the battle.

Tubman didn't slow down with the end of the war and the abolition of slavery. She raised money for the Freedmen's Bureau, promoted women's suffrage and eventually opened a home for elderly African Americans.

Harriet Tubman showed extraordinary courage and compassion time and again over the course of her 90 years of life. Read her biography and 10 facts about her on the Trust's website and learn more on the website of historian and Tubman scholar Kate Clifford Larson.

Commemorate Black History Month

Throughout February, people across the country will commemorate Black History Month by highlighting African Americans' vital contributions to our history, culture and society. We've compiled a list of activities at historic destinations where you can reflect on the accomplishments of African Americans who played a vital role in America's early conflicts.

Preserving the Land Where USCT Soldiers Fought

Nearly 185,000 men of African descent enlisted in the 175 regiments of United States Colored Troops (USCT) to fight for freedom in the Civil War. The American Battlefield Trust works to honor their legacy of service and sacrifice by preserving the places where they fought, from the plains of Oklahoma to the shores of South Carolina.

We'll Be Marking the Month on Social

Follow the American Battlefield Trust on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to celebrate Black history in America's founding century all month long. We'll be sharing facts, stories, images and more about African Americans whose contributions have made our nation what it is today.

Happy Birthday, Frederick Douglass

February 20th marks the birthday of another extraordinary abolitionist: Frederick Douglass. This video from our War Department series shares a glimpse of Douglass's life and legacy both political and personal in just 3 minutes.

The Road to Emancipation

The liberation of millions of slaves didn't happen overnight. Read the details of how this game-changing document came into being thanks to the efforts of many over the course of more than a decade.

Test Your Knowledge

African Americans were an important part of the Union war effort, but they don't always get as much attention as they deserve. Find out how much you know about African Americans in the Civil War you might even learn something new in the process!

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American Battlefield Trust

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