This Day in History – September 17th, 1849

640px-Harriet_Tubman_Civil_War_WoodcutDuring the American Civil War she served her country as a spy for the Union, led scouting parties into the South, and was also the first woman to lead an armed assault, but once the war was over Harriet Tubman was denied the recognition that she deserved; it took until 1899 for the U.S. Government to issue her a pension for her services. But this remarkable woman is most known for her abolitionist, humanitarian, and women’s suffrage work. Born into slavery, she managed her own escape and that of over seventy other enslaved men, women, and children. Her first attempt to escape was on this day in 1849, but all did not go as planned.

Tubman’s first attempt to escape was made with her brothers Ben and Henry on September 17th, 1849, and initially was a success; it took their owner, Eliza Brodess, about two weeks before she noticed that the Tubmans had gone; they were presumed to be at the property of Dr. Anthony Thompson who had hired them Brodess. A $100 reward was placed on each of the Tubmans, but it was Ben who had second thoughts about the escape as his newly born child was still back at the Brodess estate. Reluctantly, Harriet followed her brothers back to their captivity, but not long after the return she made an escape by herself and succeeded to travel the Underground Railroad to freedom. Before leaving, Tubman passed on her farewells in the coded songs, “I’ll meet you in the morning,” she sang, “I’m bound for the promised land.”

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