While working as a cook and nurse for the Union Army, Harriet Tubman was recruited to be an armed scout and spy! Dressed as an elderly woman, she traveled to Confederate camps and retrieved information from enslaved Black soldiers forced to fight for the enemy.
But getting caught wasn’t Tubman’s biggest concern.
The Union wanted her to do this DANGEROUS work but refused to compensate her fairly, only giving her a meager $8/month pension after the war was over. Even back then, that was a small amount of money for her work!
Tubman wasn’t having it.
She wrote out the services she conducted throughout the Civil War. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition. She guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 enslaved people in South Carolina!
Gathering her list, she submitted an affidavit to the Union and used it to negotiate an increase in her pension to $25/month - about $700 today! But her work didn’t stop, even after she got her money. In 1908, she opened a community nursing home for the poor and elderly.
Tubman’s legacy teaches us to demand what we’re worth. We continue to honor her courage and unparalleled contributions to our people – past, present, and future.