Harriet Tubman, an abolitionist known for her role in the Underground Railroad, exhibited the character traits of strength, tenacity and determination as she helped people escape from slavery. Once a slave herself, she ran away to freedom only to return to the South later to help other slaves do the same.
Born into slavery in 1820, Tubman worked both as a field laborer and a house servant. As a young girl, she sustained a head injury at the hands of an overseer when she attempted to protect another slave. This injury caused her to experience pain, seizures and vivid dreams throughout the rest of her life.
She married John Tubman, a free black man, but fears of being sold by her owner motivated her to escape. Leaving Maryland for Pennsylvania, she eventually returned to help family members and others escape to the North. This began her efforts as an Underground Railroad worker during which she helped hundreds of people escape slavery.
She became infamous in the South where slavery advocates offered a sizable bounty for her capture. She continued making dangerous trips into the South to rescue slaves, including her elderly parents.
When the Civil War broke out, she joined forces with the Union and served in various capacities, including as a spy. After the war, she remained an activist in social issues such as women's suffrage until her death in 1913.