Essay on Harriet Tubman: American Abolitionist and Political Activist

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The word courage can be defined in many ways by many people. To some it means fearless or brave. How I define courage is someone who will risk their life for the people they love. To take action in a heartbeat without even thinking about it. Courage is a big word with different types of meanings. Here's why this is my opinion on courage.

When you are living in a war zone with a whole family, how do you keep them safe? My grandfather had to do it. My grandfather was born in raised in Afghanistan. He says “those were the best days of my childhood.” After he grew up, he then got married to my grandmother. She gave birth to six kids, three boys and three girls. They all were growing up an Afghanistan. While my mom was in college that is when things started going bad in Afghanistan. This was happening in the late 70s to the 80s. It wasn’t going to well.

“It started feeling like a dictatorship,” my grandfather says. He didn’t feel safe there for himself and his family. He had to do something and had to do it fast. My grandfather hurried and packed his valuables while his children and wife gathered the necessities. Clothing, toiletries, pictures, etc… They hopped on the first bus out of Afghanistan just in time before all the chaos started. That’s when they got to India. A whole different country, language, and culture. I didn’t know how my grandfather can do something so brave and courageous like that. Leave his hometown for the first time to an unknown land they have never heard of. In Afghanistan there was no technology to see if there were hotels and car rentals. My grandfather went off on a whim. Luckily he knew just a little of what he was doing. He bought a house in India for a few years and things were totally fine.

He then wanted to leave India and start a fresh life with his family. He then migrated to Europe. More specifically Germany. They travelled there and went to a whole new Continent again without any knowledge of what it is like there. They lived a life there and learned a new culture. My grandfather enjoyed staying in Germany. He liked the life there and wanted to live there for his family’s safety.

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What my grandfather did was very courageous. He fled his country while carrying his family on his back. Making sure each and one of them is safe. That is my definition of courageous. Doing something in a heartbeat for the people you love. He migrated to two different countries without knowing the consequences. He had to sell his valuables so he can get his family a home, food, and just basic needs for a human. He was very brave trying to figure out everything on his own with no help, just the support from his family. Something could have went all wrong and they could’ve ended up with nothing. Which was the scariest consequence other than death. My grandfather was smart and brave which are characteristics of having courage.

While I think my grandfather had courage, there is a historical figure that has courage. An African American woman who helped slaves into freedom. Harriet Tubman had so much courage that is unbelievable. Harriet Tubman was born into slavery. She then escaped in 1849 to freedom towards the North. She then become the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. She risked her life to save hundreds of enslaved families to freedom. She conducted a secret system that people then called the Underground Railroad. She knew what the punishment was. It was death. Yet she wasn’t afraid of the consequences. Harriet Tubman was a woman in the 1800s that was black. If that is not courageous of her actions I don’t know what is.

She took 19 trips to the North. That means she took 38 trips in total of going up north and coming back to the south to help more slaves. She risked her life not once, not twice, but 38 times. She could’ve gotten captured in the south and get enslaved again, but she risked that to save other people that are strangers to her. She took over 300 slaves to freedom. In all her travels she “never lost a single passenger.” One of her famous quotes says, “ I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” She is saying that some slaves didn’t know they were being slaves because they thought it was the normal life. Harriet Tubman knew and she wanted to help others to know and help them to freedom.

Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. She was born in Dorchester County, Maryland. She changed her name to Araminta Ross. She had 8 siblings in her family. She also had an adopted daughter named Gertie. Harriet Tubman is the most recognized icon in American history. Her legacy has inspired people to be courageous in every race and background.

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Essay on Harriet Tubman: American Abolitionist and Political Activist. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from
“Essay on Harriet Tubman: American Abolitionist and Political Activist.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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