Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Clifford Larson, Ph.D.

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Welcome to Bound For the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero

Harriet Tubman is one of the giants of American history—a fearless visionary who led scores of her fellow slaves to freedom and battled courageously behind enemy lines during the Civil War. And during the century since her death, next to nothing was written about this extraordinary woman aside from juvenile biographies. In the early 2000s, several new scholarly biographies emerged, but even now, the truth about Harriet Tubman is still mired inside a legend woven of racial and gender stereotypes.  Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero gives Harriet Tubman the powerful, intimate, meticulously detailed life she deserves.

Drawing from a trove of new primary documents and untapped sources as well extensive genealogical research, Kate Clifford Larson reveals Tubman as a complex woman— brilliant, shrewd, deeply religious, and passionate in her pursuit of freedom. The descendant of the vibrant, matrilineal Asanti people of the West African Gold Coast, Tubman was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland but refused to spend her life in bondage. While still a young woman she embarked on a perilous journey of self-liberation—and then, having won her own freedom, she returned again and again to liberate much beloved family and friends, tapping into the Underground Railroad.

Yet despite her success, her celebrity, her close ties with Northern politicians and abolitionists, Tubman suffered crushing physical pain and emotional setbacks. Stripping away myths and misconceptions, Bound For the Promised Land presents stunning new details about Tubman’s accomplishments, personal life, and influence, including her relationship with Frederick Douglass, her involvement with John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, and revelations about a young woman who may have been Tubman’s daughter. Here too are Tubman’s twilight years after the war, when she worked for Civil Rights and women’s suffrage, in spite of racist politicians and suffragists who marginalized her contributions.

Harriet Tubman, her life and her work, remain an inspiration to all who value freedom. We must appreciate Tubman as a complete human being—an American hero, yes, but also a woman who loved, suffered, and sacrificed. Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero.

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Harriet Tubman is best known as one of the most famous conductors on the Underground Railroad. Her successful, secret journeys into Maryland during the 1850s to rescue enslaved women, men, and children earning her the biblical name "Moses," immortalizing her in the minds of Americans and people around the world for well over one hundred and fifty years. Born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Tubman gained international acclaim during her lifetime as an Underground Railroad operator, abolitionist, Civil War spy and nurse, suffragist, and humanitarian. After escaping from enslavement in 1849, and driven by her love of family, freedom, community, and faith, Tubman dedicated herself to fighting for liberty and equality for the remainder of her long life, securing her place among the nation's most famous historical figures.

Harriet Tubman refused to be bound by the chains of slavery, or by the low expectations limiting the lives of women and African Americans. Struggling against amazing odds, and never wavering from her commitment to liberation and civil rights, Harriet Tubman fought for what we as Americans hold dear: freedom, equality, justice and self-determination. In March, 2013, a National Monument named in her honor was established by President Barack Obama, finally placing Tubman, a true American patriot, rightfully among our nation's most beloved heroes. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument is located in Dorchester County, Maryland.

This honor was followed by the establishment of the Harriet Tubman National Historical Parks by Congress in December 2014.  Now Harriet Tubman has been accorded the highest park service designation - a National Park. In fact, she now has two sister parks - one on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and one in Auburn, NY which includes her residence, Home for the Aged, her church, Thompson AME Zion Church, and grave site.