There was one or two things I had a right to,
liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would
have the other; for no man should take me alive. . . .
Wanted: Dead or
Harriet Tubman personally made 19
trips into the south, helping some 300 slaves escape to freedom. Because
Tubman was so successful in helping slaves escape, she was hated by many
slavemasters. By 1856, in fact, a reward of $40,000 was being offered for
Tubman's capture. Wanted posters dotted the landscape of hundreds of small
southern towns, making Tubman's dangerous missions even more dangerous. These
posters included portraits, a description of Tubman's "crimes" against society,
and reward information.
Design a sample wanted poster, then present your poster to the class. Try
to convince classmates that Tubman is a dangerous person and should be
We Call Her "Moses"
Much as Tubman was hated by slave
masters, she was loved by slaves. They called her "Moses," after the biblical
character who led the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt to
Imagine you are one of the 300 or so slaves rescued by Tubman and you learn
of the many "wanted" posters that tell of her "crimes." Write a response
to these posters. Do you think Tubman is a criminal? Why or why not? Write
in such a way as to make others see this woman as you see
Free at Last
Some 300 slaves found their way to
freedom with Harriet Tubman as their guide. Hundreds of others also found
freedom because of her efforts. Imagine that you have lived your entire
life in slavery. How would you feel should you finally escape to freedom?
What would you do with your freedom? Write a letter to a friend describing
your new-found freedom. Tell how your life has changed and how you feel about
Live Free or Die
Harriet Tubman believed she had a
right to one of two things: freedom or death. Tubman vowed that she would
die before returning to slavery. And Tubman "preached" her position to
Once slaves joined her ranks to make the journey to freedom, there was no
turning back. Tubman carried a gun with her on each of 19 trips. If slaves
became weary along the way and wanted to give up, she offer them a
clear choice: Continue on, or die at her hands. She would allow no one
to quit. She would permit no one to return to slavery. She would leave no
one to be taken prisoner, no one to betray the safety of the group or to
compromise the underground railroad.
Do you agree or disagree with Tubman's stand? Write an essay defending your
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