Name: Date: Period: Data-Based Question: What Was Harriet Tubman’s Greatest Achievement?

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Name: _______________________________________________________ Date: ________________________ Period: _____________
Data-Based Question: What Was Harriet Tubman’s Greatest Achievement?
Hook Exercise: Harriet Tubman

The Underground Railroad (UGRR) was a network of people and safe houses. It helped slaves escape from the South and travel to Northern states and Canada. Below are a number of the code words used by participants that have been found in old letters and diaries. Match the code words with the terms that define them.

Code Word


A) Station Masters

1) Financial contributors

B) Depots or Stations

2) The South

C) Conductors

3) Escape routes to the North

D) Cargo

4) Escape wagon, sometimes with a false bottom

E) Stockholders

5) Network members who supported and hid fugitives

F) Railroad Car

6) An escape mission or plan

G) Land of Egypt

7) Canada

H) New Canaan

8) Escorts who journeyed with fugitives

I) Exodus

9) Harriet Tubman’s nickname

J) Moses

10) Safe houses, sometimes a barn or a secret room

K) Liberty Lines

11) Fugitives

Part Two: Decode the sentence below by rephrasing it in your own words.

It’s a long haul from Egypt to New Canaan. With the amount of cargo on board, Moses will need a string of depots and at least two or three conductors to make it through.”

Background Essay Questions

1) In what border state was Harriet Tubman born?

2) How did the expansion of cotton fields in the deep South affect young slaves on the Eastern Shore?

3) How old was Harriet when she escaped slavery?

4) Why did the Underground Railroad not stop in the United States but run all the way to Canada?

5) Define or explain each of these terms:
Eastern Shore: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Fugitive Slave Act: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bloodhound Act: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Underground Railroad: ______________________________________________________________________________________________
1822 – Possible birth date of Minty Ross

1844 – Minty Ross marries John Tubman; changes name to Harriet Tubman

1850 – Harriet conducts first trip on Underground Railroad

1859 – First college baseball game

1860 – Combahee River raid

1890s – Tubman active in women’s suffrage movement

1908 – Harriet Tubman Home for the poor dedicated in New York

1913 – Harriet Tubman dies in Auburn, New York

Document A Questions—The Underground Railroad (maps):

1) Including place names, directions, and distances, describe a route Harriet Tubman was likely to have followed from her slave home near Bucktown to Philadelphia.

2) Traveling by foot, about how many miles was it from Bucktown to Philadelphia? From Philadelphia to St. Catherines in Canada?

3) In the 1850s, why did Harriet feel compelled to escort her escaped slaves all the way to St. Catherines? Why, for example, didn’t she stop in Albany?

4) In terms of risk or number of people helped, does this document provide evidence of a great achievement? Explain.

Document B Questions—Trip Log:

1) If Harriet was born in 1822, how old was she when she made her first and last rescue?

2) In what county and state did Harriet collect most of her slave fugitives?

3) According to this log, what is the total number of slaves Harriet escorted to freedom?

4) According to the document note, what measures did Tubman take to avoid capture?

5) In terms of risk, number of people helped, or length of time spent, does this document provide evidence of a great achievement? Explain.

Document C Questions—Civil War: The Combahee River Raid

1) When and in what state was the Combahee River raid?

2) What role did Harriet play in the raid?

3) Colonel Montgomery called Harriet “Moses.” Why?

4) Which is the greater achievement, making eight trips into slave country to free 38 slaves over a ten-year period, or leading a spy ring and helping to free 800 slaves on a single night?

Document D Questions—Civil War: Nursing the Massachusetts 54th

1) When and where did Harriet do this Civil War nursing?

2) Who were the soldiers that Harriet nursed?

3) Without army pay, how did Harriet earn money to live?

4) How well were Harriet Tubman’s nursing efforts recognized by the Union army? Evidence?

5) Which is the more important achievement—conducting slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad, scouting a raid to free slaves behind enemy lines, or nursing wounded battle heroes?

Document E Questions—Care-Giving in Upstate NY (photo)

1) After the Civil War, what was the focus of Harriet Tubman’s life?

2) Who did Harriet care for? For about how many years did she do this?

3) In terms of value to society and her country, how does Tubman’s caregiver work in Auburn compare with her other achievements?

Putting it all Together: Outlining Achievements

In the graphic organizer below, list evidence from each of the documents in this DBQ that demonstrates why the events that document talks about were a significant achievement in Harriet Tubman’s life. Then, on the back of this packet, pick the achievement that you think is most significant and write at least five sentences explaining why. Use specific evidence!

Background Essay

Document A: The Underground Railroad (maps)

You may have to make some conclusions about the maps based on your other readings.

Document B: Trip Log

Document C: Civil War: The Combahee River Raid

Document D: Civil War: Nursing the Massachusetts 54th

Document E: Care-Giving in Upstate NY (photo)

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