Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman


Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up... as Araminta “Minty” Ross. Harriet was born a slave on the Brodess farm in Maryland. Though the Brodess’ great-grandfather agreed to free Harriet’s mother when she turned 45, the slave-owning family has now reneged on the agreement. In fact, two of Harriet’s sisters were sold down South, even further into the horrors of slavery.

Living... in newfound freedom. When she discovers she’s about to be sold as well, Harriet decides to flee. After an arduous journey, she’s able to start a life of freedom in Philadelphia under the new name Harriet Tubman. Though she finds a job and new friends, it’s difficult to put the horrors of the past behind her, particularly when she knows so many people she loves are still suffering.

Visiting... the slave states. Against the judgment of those around her, Harriet decides to venture back to Maryland in order to free her loved ones. As she knows, “God don’t mean people to own people.”

Profession... conductor on the Underground Railroad. After her successful first rescue mission, Harriet becomes an official member of the Underground Railroad. She risks life and limb to shepherd slaves on the path to freedom. She’s so successful at her dangerous work that she’s dubbed “Moses.”

Interests... God, singing, and political activism.

Relationship Status... happily married to freedman John Tubman. When Harriet first flees North, however, she insists John stay behind so as not to risk his own freedom.

Challenge... ending slavery. In addition to leading individual slaves to freedom, Harriet is also adamant about ending the immoral practice as a whole. She works with abolitionists and political leaders to change the fate of the nation. She would literally go to war for her cause—and she just might have to as she’s hunted by her former owner Gideon Brodess and his hired slave-catchers.

Personality... principled, faithful, and fearless. Ever since being struck in the head as a child, Harriet has experienced visions and prophecies that guide and protect her. She believes these are direct messages from God and because of that, she has an unwavering belief in her ability to complete her missions. As she puts it, “I learned to see and hear God like some learn to read a book. I put all my attention on it.” In addition to her spiritual devotion, Harriet is also practical, resilient, and absolutely fearless.


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