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A painting of Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman, Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist with Epilepsy, Inspires Generations

A portrait of Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman is known as one of the most influential leaders of our nation. She was a former slave turned abolitionist who bravely risked her life to free both slaves and her own family members through the underground railroad.

Tubman was a Maryland native. She was born around 1820 in Dorchester, County, Md. Her mission was getting as many men, women and children out of bondage into freedom.

When Tubman was a teenager, she acquired a traumatic brain injury when a slave owner struck her in the head. This resulted in her developing epileptic seizures and hypersomnia. Unfortunately, Tubman’s experience of violence occurred on a daily basis which made her brain injury worse.

“I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land,” she often is quoted as saying.

It is through determination, courage and strength that Tubman was able to free many slaves. She did not let her disability keep her or those around her enslaved. Tubman is a prominent figure and was not afraid to be a leader as an African American, a woman and a person with a disability. She is truly a hero to all.

In 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the 20 dollar bill. While that has not yet happened, it would be a great way to honor Tubman and her achievements that impacted America in many ways.

People with disabilities of all backgrounds can be amongst the highest achievers on earth. Actress Halle Berry lives with diabetes, business leader and Shark Tank superstar Daymond John is dyslexic and Stevie Wonder is blind. Each of them, like Tubman, is a positive role model for success.

All throughout Black History Month, we will post pieces about African American role models with disabilities. Read more today:

Meet the Author

Tameir Yeheyes
Tameir Yeheyes

Tameir Yeheyes is passionate about serving the community, making a difference in the world and working hard on behalf of people with disabilities. Upon graduation, she hopes to go into either nonprofit work or government agency employment.

2 comments… add one
  • Avatar Dainnese Jackson May 27, 2019, 6:15 pm

    My name is Author Dainnese Jackson who is a writer and book author who suffered from complex partial seizure then had brain surgery.

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