The Call of Freedom
In the mid-19th century, 8,000 African Americans lived in Dorchester County. Roughly half were slaves; most of the rest worked as free laborers. Enslaved blacks, free blacks, and abolitionist whites worked together to operate the Underground Railroad, a secret network of "stations" and "conductors" that led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom and became a powerful national symbol of resistance to slavery.
A Childhood in Slavery
The Bucktown area has changed little since Harriet Tubman's childhood. Born Araminta "Minty" Ross in the early 1820s, Tubman grew up to become a daring and successful Underground Railroad conductor. After escaping bondage herself in 1849, she made 13 trips back to the Eastern Shore and led over 70 people from slavery to freedom
With strong family ties in this area, Tubman often returned to rescue he own cherished relatives and friends. Tubman, her mother and siblings were ownded by Edward Brodess and lived on his farm. As early as age six or seven, Tubman was hired out to nearby farms and endured extended separations from her family.
The Birthplace Question
Some written accounts and local oral history identify the Brodess farm as Tubman's birthplace although historians have not been able to verify the actual birth site. Such uncertainty is common because few slaves' births were officially documented. Other records suggest that Edward Brodess moved Tubman's mother, "Rit" Green, here from the Madison/Woolford area just after Tubman's birth.