The Brightside: Harriet Tubman, a National Hero

She wasn’t mighty in stature, but Harriet Tubman was certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Tubman was born a slave in Cambridge in the 1820’s.

Cambridge author, Jim Duffy, was intrigued with Tubman’s story and wrote a book called “Tubman Travels”: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva.

Revealing her birth name was actually Araminta Ross, but she changed it to hide from slave catchers when she escaped.

He says the odds were not in her favor, but that didn’t stop her.

“She was a slave, she was a black woman and she really has a mental disability. So the odds were unbelievable, the odds that she overcame.”

Local author, Jim Duffy, offers some insight into the life events that may have motivated her.

She grew up in a two-parent household with seven siblings, but her family was ripped apart when several members were sold to other families.

According to Duffy, this trauma led her to find a way to get free, and free others.

“The family got separated. The mother and the children went one place, while the father stayed in another. Around that same time, three of her sisters were sold south. Many of the escapes she engineered on the underground railroad were really about coming back here to get the rest of her family.”

She could have stopped after she gained her freedom, but made it her mission to go back and save her family.

She accomplished these goals, all while dealing with an illness she developed as a kid.

“She ran into this situation where a young black boy was running away from a white man who was an overseer on a nearby plantation.
The overseer took a little hardware store sort of weight and threw it at the boy, but hit Harriet Tubman in the head instead.”

Some historians believe the accident triggered a form of epilepsy, which caused her to lose consciousness often.

But she never let her struggles stop her from her mission.

Tubman’s story is a source of pride here on the Eastern Shore, leading to a museum in her honor outside Cambridge.

Today, it’s there that anyone can go to learn more about Tubman and her amazing accomplishments.

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