But as an adult, have you really pondered her remarkable courage? Courage that is so daunting as to be almost insane?
In honor of Black History Month, here are 10 little known or just plain interesting facts about Harriet Tubman:
1. Born a slave in Maryland, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia on foot, got a job, settled and then returned to the South 13 times to escort hundreds of people seeking freedom to the North. She boasted she never lost a passenger.
2. Tubman suffered from narcolepsy due to a head injury caused by an angry overseer who was hurling a weight at another slave.
3. Tubman was only 5 feet tall and considered disabled by her owners. Slave holders never dreamed she was the reason so many slaves in their region were able to escape.
4. Tubman was married to a free man when she initially escaped North, fearing she was about to be sold to a plantation in the South. When she returned years later for her husband (after first bringing back siblings and their children) she found he had remarried. So on that trip she found some more slaves seeking freedom to take back with her.
5. When the Fugitive Slave law passed in 1850 that required Northern states to return fugitives to the South, she led people all the way to Canada.
6. She reportedly carried a drug to put babies to sleep when they were close to capture and a gun that she was said to use to convince fearful fugitives to continue on their journey. “You go on, or die,” she told one passenger.
7. She was a cook, a nurse and a spy for Union forces during the Civil War. She also led an armed expedition that liberated 700 slaves in South Carolina.
8. Frederick Douglass only excepted John Brown in saying, “I know of no one who has willingly encountered more perils and hardships to serve our enslaved people” than Harriet Tubman.
9. Madame Tussauds in Washington, D.C., recently unveiled a wax sculpture of Tubman.
10. Tubman continues to be an inspiration to numerous African American Artists and musicians. For your listening pleasure, here’s John Coltrane’s tribute to Harriet, “Song of the Underground Railroad.”