9 Things You Should Know About Harriet Tubman

On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman would be replacing President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. Here are nine things you should know about the legendary civil rights leader. 1. Harriet Tubman didn't become "Harriet Tubman" until her mid-20s. She was originally born a slave named Araminta Ross on a plantation in Maryland's Eastern Shore. The surname Tubman comes from her first husband, John Tubman, a free black man, and after marrying, she adopted the name "Harriet" after her mother: Harriet Ross.

2. A few years after she married, Tubman and two of her brothers initially escaped from slavery. However, when her brothers returned (one of them had recently become a father) she returned with them to the plantation. She would later escape again with the help of the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by abolitionists. Tubman later recalled how she felt upon arriving a free woman in Pennsylvania:

When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.

3. Since none of Tubman's family was with her in Pennsylvania (her husband, John, stayed behind and would later remarry another woman), she returned on several trips to help lead her relatives to freedom. Over the next 15 years she would, with the help of others in the Underground Railroad, lead approximately 70 slaves out of their captivity. Her efforts in the dangerous undertaking earned her the nickname "Moses" by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who compared her to the Hebrew leader who lead his people out of slavery in Egypt.

4. By the late 1850s, Tubman had gained renown in the abolitionist community. J. W. Loguen, a bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion church, said of her, "Among slaves she is better known than the Bible, for she circulates more freely." Loguen introduced Tubman to the controversially violent abolitionist John Brown, who connected her to other influential leaders in the movement. Brown once introduced Tubman by saying, "I bring you one of the best and bravest persons on the continent — General Tubman, we call her." Tubman would go on to become a powerful speaker for the antislavery movement.

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