5 Important Lessons Young People Should Learn from Harriet Tubman


Harriet Tubman, originally born with the name Araminta Ross was born on January 29, 1822, and was an escaped slave with a bounty on her head, a political activist, nurse, Union spy, and a leader who guided slaves to freedom through an underground railway before the Civil War.

Her legacy in American history remains one of the most recognized in its ability to inspire an endless number of people from every race and region.

So how did Harriet Tubman become so accomplished and what can young people learn from him? 

In this blog post, we’ll share with you; 5 important lessons young people should learn from Harriet Tubman.  

Lesson 1

Opportunity comes in many forms

When Tubman was a child hired out to masters in Dorchester County, Maryland, she was beaten severely to the extent that one of the masters gave her a very terrible head wound that resulted in epileptic fits that disabled her whenever they manifested.

To compound the situation, on a day when Tubman was out on a run to a store for supplies, she ran into another slave who had run away from his master. The angry master demanded that Tubman help him stop the slave, which she refused, allowing the slave to escape. 

In his fury, the slave master threw a two-pound weight, intending to hit the runaway slave, but it hit Tubman instead. She barely survived the injury; however, the consistent seizures that occurred afterward prevented her master from selling her. This would eventually lead to her escape.

The Lesson for young people

Napoleon Hill once said, “Opportunity often comes in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat.” It is often said that success comes from seizing opportunities, but realizing that opportunities come in many forms, both good and bad, will pave the way to actual success.

Lesson 2

Determination kills the spirit of fear

From the time she was 12 years old, Tubman knew there was more to life than seeing the suffering and brutality of other slaves like her.

Tubman was hired as a slave under Edward Brodess, who died around the time he wanted to sell her. 

Tubman saw this as an opportunity to break free from the bondage of having a master and also knew that the death of her former master would cause her to be sold. She was determined never to let this happen, therefore; she decided her fate was to escape. Her husband tried to dissuade her, but she refused.

On September 17, 1849, Tubman and her brothers (Ben and Harry) escaped from slavery. Eliza Brodess, Brodess’ wife did not notice their escape, until 2 weeks later.

When their absence was discovered, Eliza posted a runaway notice in Cambridge Democrat and offered $300 to anybody who found the 3 of them.

After the escape, Tubman’s brothers began having second thoughts and wanted to return. It seemed their determination wasn’t as strong as Tubman’s. Ben had just become a father and wasn’t ready to lose his children. So the two brothers returned, forcing Tubman to return with them.

After they returned, Tubman escaped again, this time without her brothers. She escaped through the network known as the Underground Railroad and traveled nearly 90 miles to Philadelphia before crossing into the free state of Pennsylvania.

The Lesson for young people

Your determination is a key factor that burns the spirit of fear. With a determined mind, you can achieve your financial and success goals just like Tubman.

Lesson 3

Be motivated to achieve bigger things

After Tubman escaped and crossed to the free state of Pennsylvania, she made it her mission to rescue other families and friends; she felt that if she could escape from the shackles of bondage into the light of freedom, it would be good to bring the other slaves as well. This motivated her and she planned to rescue the other slaves.

The Underground Railroad was a network of African Americans as well as Whites offering shelter and aid to escaped slaves from the south. Tubman risked her life to help 60 other slaves, even helping her entire family make the journey to Philadelphia.

However, Tubman encountered problems later in 1850 with the passage of the fugitive law. The law stated that the escaped slaves could be captured in the north and returned to slavery.  

Tubman didn’t relent in her quest despite the new laws. She rerouted the Underground Railroad to Canada, which prohibited slavery categorically.

In December 1851, Tubman was able to guide a group of 11 fugitives northward.

She became a leading abolitionist and led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the Underground Railroad route.

The Lesson for young people

The thing about motivation is that it gives you the energy to achieve great things. If you are exhausted and unmotivated, no matter what ability you have, it won’t matter because anyone who doesn’t do anything will really not achieve anything. 

So find out what motivates you and let that motivation fuel your desire for success.

Dan Pink once wrote, We’re more motivated when we don’t feel like we’re being told what to do, when we feel like it’s a skill we’re getting better at, and when we feel like there’s a purpose to what we’re doing, where our efforts contribute to the greater good.”

Lesson 4

Be helpful to others

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Tubman found a new way to stop slavery. What she had to do was to render help and service during the Civil War. She was recruited to assist fugitive slaves at Fort Monroe, and she worked as a nurse, cook, and laundress.  

In 1863, Tubman became the head of an espionage scout network for the union army. She provided crucial intelligence to Union commanders about confederate army supply routes and troops; she also helped to liberate slaves to form Black Union regiments.

Though her service to the army then was relentless, her contributions were not recognized until 3 decades after. The Government commended her military contribution and awarded her financially.

The Lesson for young people

Did it ever occur to you that helping someone else’s success can help you achieve success as well? Brian Tracy once said, “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?”

If you focus on helping others, your investment will always yield a great profit, as it did for Tubman.

Lesson 5

Build a legacy

After the war ended and slavery was abolished, Tubman settled in New York, where she continued to fight for equality and provide services for the needy. She worked closely with politicians, the leaders, and intellectuals of her time.

During her time in New York, she established a school for the freed blacks in the South. In 1908, the “Harriet Tubman Home of the Aged” was built to improve the lives of those condemned to servitude.

Tubman died a fighter and her legacy continues to echo even to the younger generation.

The Lesson for young people

Tubman showed how someone can live an inspiring legacy of sacrifice and perseverance despite being born into the worst of circumstances.

Persevere in your vision and leave a legacy worth remembering.

In conclusion, if you’re a young person and you want to be successful in life,

Learn to identify opportunities as they come.

Be determined in the face of fear.

Be inspired to achieve great things

By helping others, you are also helping yourself.

And lastly, persist till the end so that you will be remembered for great things.


Thank you. 




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