Baylor College Medical School

Aslan, History On Slavery 1850s

Harriet Tubaman was born a slave around 1815. She escaped bondage in 1849, but returned to the South at least 19 times to help others escape slavery. Tubman's statement on slavery appeared in an 1856 abolitionist text. Abolitionists published accounts by or about escaped slaves in an attempt to generate political support for the abolition of slavery.

I grew up like a neglected weed---ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it. Then I was not happy or contented: every time I saw a white man I was afraid of being carried away. I had two sisters carried away in a chain-gang,-one of them left two children. We were always uneasy. Now I've been free, I know what a dreadful condition slavery is. I have seen hundreds of escaped slaves, but I never saw one who was willing to go back and he a slave. I have no opportunity to see my friends in my native land. We would rather stay in our native land, if we could be as free there as we are here. I think slavery is the next thing to hell. If a person would send another into bondage, he would,it appears to me, be bad enough to send him into hell, if he could.

2. What would you thin if you were from the South?

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Slavery was a way of life for both blacks and whites in the South. Although some whites in the South opposed it, the majority felt that slavery was God's will and that blacks needed to be controlled and "cared for" in this way. I could not imagine the depths of misery that blacks from the South felt.