She is among history’s most famous Americans—a woman so courageous, she sought her own freedom from slavery twice and so determined, she inspired scores of other enslaved people to flee, too. Revered by some of her era’s most influential minds and given nicknames like “Moses” and “General,” she brought hope to generations of Americans, enslaved and free. She was Harriet Tubman, and her life contained both astonishing cruelty and unlikely success.
Born Araminta “Minty” Ross in Maryland around 1820, she was the daughter of enslaved parents. As a child, her labor was rented out by slaveholder Edward Brodess. When she was 13, an overseer threw a metal weight at an enslaved man in an attempt to make him return to work;