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Harriet Tubman Home

Born around 1820, Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery to become one of the leading abolitionists, and a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Between 1850 and 1860, Mrs. Tubman made about 20 trips to the South, leading 300 slaves to freedom. After fleeing from Maryland, she lived in Delaware and Philadelphia until settling permanently in Auburn, New York. This is not surprising since central New York at that time was a community deeply involved with abolitionist and other reform causes in education and women's suffrage.

Mrs. Tubman was a close friend of Frederick Douglass and the Reverend Jermain Weslet Loguen of the A.M.E. Zion Church in Syracuse. She also knew Susan B. Anthony, and many of the intellectual elite of New England, among them Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, Bronson Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mrs. Horace Mann. Mrs. Tubman was also befriended and supported by William Henry Seward, a governor and senator from New York, who also served as Lincoln's Secretary of State. In 1859, Mrs. Tubman contracted with Seward, who lived in Auburn, for seven acres and a house on South Street. This was a significant gesture from Seward, and may have been the reason why Mrs. Tubman chose Auburn for her home.

During the War, Mrs. Tubman served as a nurse, scout, and spy for the Union forces. After the war, she began what was to be her life-long work of caring for African Americans who were too ill or old to provide for themselves. Mrs. Tubman, who had a deep faith and commitment to God, was very involved with the A.M.E. Zion Church. She worked to strengthen the church in central New York, and took an active part in seeing that the church was built on Parker Street in 1891.

After the war and emancipation of slaves, Mrs. Tubman's greatest desire was to establish a charitable institution. In 1896, she acquired 25 acres adjoining her property, which included two houses and barns. Only the current landmark Tubman Home for the Aged remains. As she grew older, it became difficult for her to care for her charges and find funds to permanently establish the John Brown Home, as she wished to call it. She deeded the land and buildings to the A.M.E. Zion Church, with the understanding that the church would run the home.

In 1913, Mrs. Tubman died in the Home for the Aged that she had founded. Hundreds of mourners came to pay their last respects at the Thompson Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, where she lay in state, including local dignitaries and A.M.E. Zion Bishops from as far as Philadelphia. Today the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged is maintained as a museum dedicated to preserving the humanitarian vision of its founder.

Documentation comprises an article on the life of Harriet Tubman.

Originally submitted by: Charles E. Schumer, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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