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[graphic] Harriett Tubman Home for the Aged, Residence, and Thompson AME Zion Church
[photos]
Images of the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, Harriet Tubman
National Historic Landmarks photographs

Harriet Tubman (1820/21?--1913), a renowned leader in the Underground Railroad movement, established the Home for the Aged in 1908. Born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman gained her freedom in 1849 when she escaped to Philadelphia. Working as a domestic, she saved money until she had the resources and contacts to rescue several of her family members in 1850. This marked the first of 19 trips back into Maryland where Tubman guided approximately 300 people to freedom as far north as Canada. Maryland planters offered a $40,000 reward for Tubman's capture at one point during her time as an Underground Railroad conductor. Active during the Civil War, Tubman aided the Union Army as a spy, nurse, cook, and guide. From Port Royal, South Carolina, in June of 1863, she directed a detachment of 150 African Americans in a raid up the Combahee River, destroying Confederate mines, storehouses and crops, and liberating about 800 slaves.

Dedicating her life after the Civil War to helping former slaves, especially children and the elderly, Tubman also became active in the women's rights movement and the AME Zion Church. In 1859 Tubman contracted for seven acres of land and a house from Governor William H. Seward in Auburn, New York, for which she had lenient terms of repayment. It was to this property that she brought her parents after their intial stay in Canada, and where they stayed while she was assisting Union troops during the Civil War. After the war she returned to her home in Auburn and began what was to be her life-long work of caring for aged and indigent African Americans. She was an dedicated member of the AME Church and actively supported the construction of the Thompson AME Church in 1891. In 1896, Harriet purchased 25 adjoining acres to her home on which stood the building now known as the Home for Aged. Here she struggled to care for her charges, and in 1903 deeded the property to the AME Zion Church with the understanding that the church would continue to run the Home. Tubman continued to live at her home, until her own health deterioted and she was cared for at the Home for the Aged. She died there in 1913 at the age of 92 or 93 and was laid in state at the Thompson AME Church. Though not directly associated with Tubman's activities with the Underground Railroad, these properties, designated a National Historic Landmark, are a tangible link to this brave and remarkable woman who is known as "the Moses of her people."

The Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged is located at 180 South St., her home is located at 182 South St., and the church is located at 33 Parker St. in Auburn, New York. The Home for the Aged and Tubman's home are owned by the AME Zion Church, the Home for the Aged is open to the public by appointment (visit www.nyhistory.com/harriettubman for more information). The Thompson AME Zion Church is currently closed and undergoing a historic structure study and report.
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