On this date in 1853, Harriet Tubman began her work with the Underground Railroad. This was a network of antislavery activists who helped slaves escape from the South.
In 1849 Tubman fled Maryland, leaving behind her free husband of five years, John Tubman, and her parents, sisters, and brothers. “Mah people mus’ go free,” her constant refrain, suggests a determination uncommon among even the most militant slaves. She returned to the South at least nineteen times to lead her family and hundreds of other slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Utilizing her native intelligence and drawing on her boundless courage, she eluded bounty hunters seeking a reward for her capture, which eventually went as high as forty thousand dollars. She never lost a fugitive or allowed one to turn back.
Over a period of ten years Tubman made an estimated 19 expeditions into the South and personally escorted about 300 slaves to the North