Harriet Tubman is among the most celebrated heroines of African American history. In elementary school, I learned the chilling tale of how this courageous woman, an escaped slave, made more than a dozen life-threatening excursions back into Maryland slave territory during the 1840s to help guide others to freedom. Skillfully avoiding detection, Tubman made her trek by way of the Underground Railroad--not literally a train but rather a clandestine network of escape routes pieced together by abolitionists. The railroad originated in the Deep South and stretched all the way up to Canada. Eventually, the network led into Mexico and the Caribbean, as well.
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