Tubman, Harriet, c.1820-1913, American abolitionist, b. Dorchester co., Md. Born into slavery, she escaped to Phildelphia in 1849, and subsequently became one of the most successful "conductors" on the Underground Railroad. Returning to the South more than a dozen times, she is generally credited with leading more than 300 slaves (including her parents and brother) to freedom, sometimes forcing the timid ahead with a loaded revolver. She became a speaker on the anti-slavery lecture circuit and a friend of the principal abolitionists, and John Brown almost certainly confided his Harpers Ferry plan to her. During the Civil War, Tubman attached herself to the Union forces in coastal South Carolina, serving as a nurse, cook, laundress, scout, and spy, and in 1863 she played an important part in a raid that resulted in the freeing of more than 700 slaves. At Auburn, N.Y., her home for many years after the war, the Cayuga co. courthouse contains a tablet in her honor.

See biographies by S. Bradford (1869, new ed. 1961), E. Conrad (1942), C. Clinton (2004), J. M. Humez (2004), and K. C. Larson (2004).

Tubman, William Vacanarat Shadrach, 1895-1971, president of Liberia (1944-71). As a young man he was a lawyer, a collector of internal revenue, a teacher, and an officer of the Liberian militia. He was elected to the senate in 1923 but resigned in 1931 after a League of Nations investigation found Liberia (governed by Tubman's party) guilty of selling its people into slavery. He was reelected to the senate in 1934, but he resigned again in 1937 to become an associate justice of the Liberian supreme court. He was elected president in 1943 and took office in 1944. He was reelected several times, with the help of constitutional amendments, serving until his death. Tubman greatly modernized the economy of his country and its educational facilities and gave the vote to women and other ethnic groups. However, he and high officials were often criticized for living in luxury while the vast majority was poor. Other African leaders accused Tubman of being too much under the influence of the United States.

See biography by R. A. Smith (1967); E. R. Townsend, ed., President Tubman of Liberia Speaks (1959); D. E. Dunn, The Foreign Policy of Liberia during the Tubman Era, 1944-1971 (1979).

Tubman may refer to:

in law

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