The new Netflix biopic Harriet details the story of Harriet Tubman, a Black woman who escaped from slavery and then devoted her life to helping others find freedom on the Underground Railroad in the mid-1800s.
The movie dives into Harriet’s own escape and her continued work on the Underground Railroad, which ultimately cemented her status as an American icon and hero. While watching the biopic, it’s understandable to have questions about who she helped, her family, and what happened to Harriet in the end.
Here’s what you need to know.
What happened to Harriet Tubman?
Harriet is one of the most famous “conductors” on the Underground Railroad. She was born into slavery in Maryland around late February or early March of 1822, per Harriet Tubman Village Charter School. She the fifth of nine kids, and was actually named Araminta Ross at birth, but later took the name "Harriet," which was also her mother's name.
Harriet escaped from enslavement around the fall of 1849, eventually ending up in Philadelphia.
And after the Civil War, which ended slavery in the US, Harriet settled with her family and friends on land she owned in Auburn, New York, according to History.
She was married to a free Black man named John Tubman, who died in 1867, and she later married a formerly enslaved man named Nelson Davis in 1869. They adopted a girl named Gertie together, History reported. Harriet died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913.
Did Harriet Tubman save her parents?
Yes, after running away, Harriet, who was dubbed "Moses" on the Underground Railroad, went back to rescue her parents and helped them to escape from slavery, according to the Harriet Tubman Village Charter School. She also rescued her four brothers—Ben, Robert, Henry, and Moses.
Did she save her sister?
Harriet was not able to save her sister, Rachel, and Rachel’s two children, Ben and Angerine. Rachel died in 1859 before Harriet could help her to escape, the Harriet Tubman Village Charter School said.
How many enslaved people did she save?
While some people claim that Harriet rescued 300 people, she said that she rescued about 70 people—mostly family and friends—during about 13 trips to Maryland, according to the National Parks Service.
Does she have any descendants?
Harriet did not have biological children of her own and her adopted daughter Gertie died when she was relatively young, according to Ms Magazine.
However, Harriet helped to raise her siblings’ children and grandchildren. She has several descendants who currently live in Maryland, according to The Washington Post. In a National Parks Conservation Association article, Harriet's great-great-niece, Valerie Ardelia Ross Manokey, and her great-great-great-nephew, Charles E.T. Ross, were interviewed, and talked about their family connection.
Plus, this link to Cayuga Community College includes lots of fun interviews and media appearances with various descendants.
You can see more of Harriet Tubman's incredible life play out in the Netflix movie, out now.
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