Home Education Harriet Tubman and Mary McLeod Bethune Courage, Perseverance and Success

Harriet Tubman and Mary McLeod Bethune Courage, Perseverance and Success

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Thesis Statement

Black women contributed a lot in forming American History and gave it a new meaning of women’s status as human beings and leaders. Their deeds and services explored new sociopolitical avenues and paved the way for absolute freedom in all senses for women; as a slavery abolitionist, torchbearers of equal education and Fight for the same civil rights, amid the challenges that they face in their lives. In this scenario, Harriet Tubman and Mary McLeod Bethune are two exceptional examples of courage, perseverance, and success for all nations’ women.

Harriet Tubman and Mary McLeod Bethune Courage, Perseverance and Success

Harriet Tubman

Due to her determination to change her environment, Harriet Tubman never let her goals die. To allow her aspirations to fall victim to life’s hardships was a solution that many slaves accepted, but Harriet Tubman would have been a costly sacrifice. Through perseverance, drive, and passion, she rose above difficulties, and her long term goal to be free served as a light at the end of a seemingly never-ending tunnel. After releasing herself from the curse of slavery, Harriet Tubman sensed being grateful to assist others in seeing their illumination at the ending of their tunnel.

Until the Civil War, she used all her money and resources to return to the south in secret. There were about nineteen trips like this, in which she brought more than three hundred slaves out of bondage. Then again, in the summer of 1863, she led a significant raid into enemy territory during the war, resulting in the freeing of more slaves and the destruction of supplies that could aid the enemy. She also served at several hospitals were she nursed and healed both blacks and whites. After the war, Harriet Tubman was an advocate for women’s suffrage; until she died in 1913, she worked for the poor, the disadvantaged, and the elderly. Harriet Tubman was one who was dedicated to helping others know the satisfaction Of achieving their goals. No matter what their condition could be, if there were a knock on her door, she’d answer as she could.

Harriet Tubman has suffered for what she believed throughout her life. She chose the least traveled route by numerous slaves who had made all the difference in her life. She had not wanted anything to stand in her way of independence. She wasn’t allowed to work indoors while in her teens because the masters felt she would perform best in the fields. She married in 1844. The stunning parts of her life started when the Borders Plantation owner died. Her fears became known in 1849 when Broda’s plantation owner died, and several slaves were sold. When she learned her fate, she wanted to flee that night because she knew her husband would snitch on her, the only person she had told was her sister. She was very considerate of members of her family. She went back to Maryland to save the family of her father and was successful. Then they went back north to move her children. She came to her husband later, but he remarried and did not pursue her. She eventually returned for her in 1857, and settled in Auburn, New York, with her parents.

She was nicknamed the “Moses of her people,” because she helped so many blacks escape slavery. (Taylor, 66) In all, Harriet made 19 trips on the Underground Railroad and freed more than 300 slaves. Harriet became a agent for the union army with the start of the Civil War. She later worked in Washington, D.C as a government nurse. At the end of the war, Harriet returned to her parents in Auburn. On 10 March 1913, Harriet died of pneumonia. She was 93 years old. Harriet Tubman saved 300 slaves in 19 trips. She got married twice. She lived a very long life. She made a big difference in many people’s lives. And I think she will always be a hero.

Harriet herself fled to Pennsylvania with help from the Underground Railroad. She faced many problems on her way to freedom, especially encounters with bounty hunters because of the $12 000 rewards for her capture, dead or alive. One such experience occurred on a train while she was seated across from two bounty hunters. The two bounty hunters were accused of being the slave they were searching for but she tricked them by taking a book out of their pocket and starting to act like she was reading the book, as her description said she could not read or write. Harriet could not read, but by chance, held the book right side up. While not resembling an underground railroad at all, it was merely a group of people who helped black slaves reach freedom during slavery. They used railroad terms as a code when talking about it. The slaves being freed were known as the passengers, the people who took the slaves in were called station masters and station mistresses, these places were referred to as station, and the people who led the slaves to these stations were called conductors.

Once Harriet escaped, she wanted to join the Underground Railroad to help other slaves reach freedom, but she was told she could not because she was a woman. She said to them that all her life she had done the same jobs as any other man had and that there was no reason why she would not be able to be a conductor, which convinced them to let her become a conductor. Now, as a conductor, Harriet would help black slaves escape from their masters. She would later go back to free her parents and four of her brothers. She would use disguises and forged documents to help fool some of the bounty hunters after her and her passengers.

She would not allow any fires, no matter how cold they got, as they did not need to attract themselves. When food supplies were low, and there was only enough for her passengers, she would not eat and share them. If a slave were to start the journey to freedom with her, they would have to go all the way or die. (Taylor, 112) Harriet would kill anyone who would try to turn back because this would jeopardize the whole Underground Railroad operation. If a slave were caught, they would indeed be tortured and forced to divulge information on the Underground Railroad. Luckily not one slave tried to turn back with Harriet, so none were killed. The other slaves often called her the “black Moses,” referring to the biblical figure Moses who led the slaves to freedom. Soon the law made itself even the Free states, and laws were passed to help prevent slaves from being successful in escaping.

Laws were passed that said you were not allowed to teach a slave to read or write, and also one that said it was illegal to harbor a fugitive slave. Bounty hunters were also given access to the Free states to find fugitive slaves. This forced the slaves to have no other haven but Canada. Harriet received a silver shawl and a silver diamond jubilee medal form the queen for her actions. Even with old age Harriet still contributed her time by doing things such as black fundraising schools and telling women they had the right to vote, which would later bring a way to the protest of women’s rights. Harriet lived until the ripe old age of ninety-three, giving until the end. She was an important figure for the black community during slavery and will never be forgotten for her actions.

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune was among 17 siblings at number 15. She was born in Maysville, South Carolina, on 10 July 1875. Her parents were slaves who were freed during the Civil War. She started working in the fields at the age of 10 and spent eight to ten hours, picking cotton a day. Mary had no schooling until 1885 when Trinity Presbyterian Mission School opened. (Rackham, 266) As you might claim, she was a woman of faith; she received a scholarship to the Scotia Seminary in North Carolina dedicated to educating African-American women. She hopped on a train to Concord, North Carolina, in 1887 and left for a seminary in Scotia. She graduated in July 1894 and was influenced by the teaching of Miss Emma she decided she wanted a teaching career and started working on a black girls school.

She taught in North Carolina for six years, and at the Bible Institute for Home Foreign Mission in Chicago, she was trained to grow into an African missionary. She was later, sadly, rejected by the Presbyterian Mission Board because they did not want African-Americans to do that kind of work. She returned to teaching and found work at the Haines Institute in Augusta, Georgia, and then worked at the Kendall Institute in Sumner, South Carolina, where she met and married Albert McLeod. A year later, they had a son together. They moved to Palatka, Florida, while Albert served as a Porter; on 3 October 1904, she opened her academy, The Daytona Literary, and Industrial for Training Negro Girls used to be the city dump. The bad thing is that only five girls appeared; they were around 8 to 12 years old. When the Ku Klux Klan turned up in 1920 and threatened her, it quickly became a huge success. Mary would turn out the lights and sing worship songs.

Mary was president of the college until she retired in 1942, then returned as president in 1946 to fill the space left by James Colston. Richard V. Moore took over in 1947. During those days, Mary Bethune could have been the most famous and successful woman in the entire world, because she changed many lives and saved some. She did what she wanted to do, and she dedicated her entire life to it. Mary was a perfect person at heart and in mind. She thought that she required white people’s help and assistance to move people advance formed biracial consultative boards at the college. She provoked white beachside residents to assemble and sit wherever they desired when they arrived for meetings.

She is also recognized for being strong and brave, no matter what. One time, she refused to leave the whites-only railroad car and told the conductor, “I’m happy to be here … so we’re going to have a good time. We’ll be riding this way as long as I want to. Thank you so much.” There was a time when light-skinned blacks often were favored by whites, then the dark-skinned. Bethune was known as an artful adviser who was bold enough to show up unannounced at white philanthropists’ homes and ask for money. That was how she got donations from James Gamble of Procter and Gamble.

As she said in her most famous speech, Mary left a legacy of love, hope, and thirst for knowledge. She was proud of whom she was; she didn’t care what she looked like or what people thought of her, but she somehow always got their attention, and she was greatly respected because of that. You can do anything that you put your mind to if you fail to keep trying there is no such thing as the impossible everything is possible if you think about it. Mary McLeod Bethune was an educator, a political activist and an organizer. She made a number of contributions to the American Society of Africa.

Mary moved to Daytona Beach in 1904 and set up a small cabin school on top of an old landfill. The school began with five girls students and 50 cents tuition per week. Her one-room school was for Negro Girls in the Daytona Normal and Industrial Area. Her school then merged with the Cookham Institute and became known as Bethune-Cookman College, still in use today. It was incredible how wonderful she made her school, with over 1,000 enrolled students and a physical plant valuation of one million dollars at the time of her death, when she had just $1.50 to her name at the start. (McCluskey, point 409)

In her life, Mary Bethune had achieved so much. She is among the country’s most prominent African-American women. She had been a prominent pioneer in the fight for civil rights. She had been a leader of many different organizations. From 1923 to 1942 and 1946 to 1947, she was president of her academy, president of the National Association of Colored Women from 1924, organizer and president of the National Council of Negro Women from 1935 to 1949, president of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History from 1936 to 1951, and also vice-president of the NAACP from 1940 to 1955. She helped create the Federal Fair Work Practices Committee to help eliminate discrimination. She was also named to a role with the National Youth Administration, in which she will promote fair pay for black NYA employees. She encouraged the Democratic Party to include black women in public positions, advised the minority party on issues, and encouraged African Americans to vote Democratic.


In conclusion, when tackling inequality and injustices, race and gender go hand in hand. Bias and bias are inherently human traits. Slavery is a punishment, especially for female males. In America, both males and females have battled this bad. For other powerful women like Mary Mcleod Bethune and Harriet Tubman set an example. Race and gender sometimes get in each other’s way. Like the battle for women’s emancipation, the race has made it that much harder to take care of discrimination. The various races, black and white, tried to address such different problems to make it very difficult for women to unify into one group. Overall, due to the conflicting motivations of the various races, the fight for equal rights for women was much more nuanced. The women’s movement grew during the slave and segregation era, and black women contributed to it to the most significant possible degree. Mary Mcleod Bethune’s and Harriet Tubman’s lives are examples of resistance and the development of self-assertion.

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