Harriet Tubman Day is celebrated on March 10 every year. If you’ve never heard of Harriet Tubman, she was a former slave who fought tirelessly to free other slaves by assisting them in fleeing their captors. Tubman is celebrated all around the United States, especially in Maryland and New York, two states, which held great significance in her life. She is most commonly known for the underground railroad which refers to the network of safe houses she used to help slaves escape. Harriet Tubman Day is a day to remember the heroic actions of this great woman and honor her work by fighting racism wherever you see it.
History of Harriet Tubman Day
Harriet Tubman Day was enacted as a national holiday in 1990 by the United States Congress as a way to celebrate the heroic work of Tubman towards the abolishment of slavery and freedom of slaves. The holiday was adopted into law by the U.S. Senate on March 6, 1990, passed through the House of Representatives the next day, and proclaimed as a holiday by then-president, George Bush, on March 9 in the same year.
While the specific details about Harriet Tubman’s date of birth are widely unknown or unconfirmed, we do know that she was born in March sometime between 1820 and 1822 to Benjamin Ross and Harriet Green. She was born on a plantation in Dorchester Country in New Maryland. She was originally named Araminta ‘Minty’ Ross, but soon after her first marriage, she changed her name to Harriet Tubman.
Tubman’s courage can be traced as far back as when she was an adolescent. She ran away often, fought back, and wore layers of clothing to protect herself from beatings. Her mother was also known for fighting back. Tubman’s mother once told a slave trader who wanted to take her son “you are after my son; but the first man that comes into my house, I will split his head open.”
In 1849, she became a free woman after escaping from the plantation. After her escape, she spent most of her life fighting for others and strategizing ways to help more slaves secure their freedom. She worked odd jobs and saved money to help free other slaves.
Over the years, she helped about 70 slaves escape and she never lost passengers.
Harriet Tubman Day timeline
The Massachusetts Bay Colony issues the first paper money in the U.S.
Tubman conducts her first rescue mission through the Underground Railroad.
She serves as a spy, nurse, and cook during the Civil War.
Tubman dies of pneumonia.
Harriet Tubman Day FAQs
Who was Harriet Tubman married to?
Harriet Tubman was married twice. The first marriage was to John Tubman. However, this marriage was informal. The second was to Nelson Davis, whom she was married to until his death.
Why is Harriet Tubman Day March 10?
Harriet Tubman Day is celebrated on March 10, which is the anniversary of her death.
What were Harriet Tubman’s last words?
When Tubman died in 1913, her last words to her loved ones were “I go to prepare a place for you.”
How to Observe Harriet Tubman Day
Visit historical parks
For Harriet Tubman Day, you can visit one of the historical parks dedicated to her. You can go to the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in New York or the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland to get a view of the life she lived and the struggles she went through.
Read about Tubman and slavery
Harriet Tubman Day is the perfect day for you to brush up on your history and learn about this dark time in U.S. history. Learn about the heroes that fought through the civil rights movement.
Fight racial injustice
You should do this every day, but be even louder on Harriet Tubman Day. This is a day to fight against racism and racial injustice. Remember Tubman’s struggle and let that motivate you to fight harder and speak louder.
5 Facts About Harriet Tubman That You Never Knew
The ‘Moses’ of her time
Tubman had a codename, ‘Moses,’ a reference to the Biblical figure who also helped slaves escape.
Famous abolitionist hero, John Brown, referred to her as ‘General Tubman’ after she helped him plan his raid on a federal arsenal.
A bullet over anesthesia
During a brain surgery in 1898, Tubman refused anesthesia and chose to bite on a bullet instead.
Delayed veteran compensation
It took 34 years for Tubman to finally get her veteran's compensation, and it was only possible after the intervention of the then Secretary of State.
A cure for dysentery
While serving as a nurse in the Civil War, Tubman crafted a cure for troops suffering from dysentery.
Why Harriet Tubman Day is Important
It reminds us of our history
Slavery was a blight on our history, but it remains a part of our history. Harriet Tubman Day reminds us of the darkest time in U.S. history. When we remember history, we are less likely to repeat it.
It encourages us to be braver
If Tubman could face all the struggles and obstacles she faced and still keep going, then we certainly can too. Harriet Tubman Day reminds us to stand courageous in the face of unfairness or inequality, no matter the odds.
It motivates us to keep fighting racial injustice
While slavery might be a thing of the past in the U.S., racism isn’t. Harriet Tubman Day motivates us to speak out against racism and racial injustice wherever we see it and to keep the fight going to create a truly just world.
Harriet Tubman Day dates