As a former enslaved person turned abolitionist, Harriet Tubman went through more than most of us could ever imagine. Tubman worked as a political activist who helped free hundreds of enslaved people and contributed to the early civil rights measures. However, she had to courageously escape and leave her life and loved ones behind before helping others escape to freedom.
Harriet Tubman is most famously known for her role in the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of activists and safe houses leading people to freedom. Aside from risking her life to save others, she also worked as a spy in the Civil War and was the first woman in America to lead a military expedition.
When Harriet Tubman died in 1913, she left behind a legacy of courage and freedom in American history. She never gave up on looking for something bigger, helping others along the way. Tubman pushed on, no matter what obstacles stood in her way, never letting anyone or anything stop her.
You can use Tubman’s quotes to find inspiration and motivation to push for the things that inspire you. These quotes can also serve as a reminder of the importance of civil rights and leadership today. Despite her hard life, Tubman stayed positive and never gave up.
Fifteen Harriet Tubman Quotes You Will Never Forget
1. “I would fight for my liberty so long as my strength lasted, and if the time came for me to go, the Lord would let them take me.”
Tubman made it clear that she would fight for liberty until the end. She never gave up and explained the only way she would quit was if it wasn’t her choice anymore. Her words proved to be true in her real life, as she continually risked her life for liberty and doing the right thing.
2. “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, and my home, after all, was down in Maryland; because my father, my mother, my brothers, and sisters, and friends were there. But I was free, and they should be free.”
When Harriet Tubman crossed the line into the land of freedom, it wasn’t as joyous as we might believe. As she reached the strange land, she had no one to greet her and bring comfort to her. All of Tubman’s friends and family were back home, in the place she escaped from.
While Tubman found freedom, she recognized that everyone else should be free, too. This quote can show that when you feel passionate about something, you can dedicate your life to making it happen. When you know something is wrong, you shouldn’t assume you can’t do anything because there is always a way.
3. “Most of those coming from the mainland are very destitute, almost naked. I am trying to find places for those able to work, and provide for them as best I can, so as to lighten the burden on the Government as much as possible, while at the same time they learn to respect themselves by earning their own living.”
Harriet Tubman helped others in so many ways. She didn’t help them cross the border into freedom and then never see them again. Instead, she helped them find safety, and then did whatever she could to guide them to success.
Tubman recognized the importance of allowing everyone to earn a living and make a life for themselves. When individuals can respect themselves, they can go on to do great things. The next time you encounter someone who needs help, this quote will likely pop into your mind.
4. “The majority of slaves struggled against this tide of indifference to their desires. They engineered love matches and cemented unions with ceremonies.”
This quote explains how human nature prevails no matter what the situation is. As Tubman describes, enslaved people tried to fight the abject lack of interest in their desires. But it was a constant struggle. They formed natural connections to others, fell in love, and started families.
This quote is one you’ll never forget because it shows that everyone has the same desires in life. Even those in unfair situations want to live a happy, fulfilling, and meaningful life.
5. “I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to—liberty or death. If I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man should take me alive.”
Harriet Tubman had to make a tough choice between finding freedom or dying in the process. She recognized that she deserved a better life and decided to go after what she could have.
With that mindset, nothing could hold her back, and she reached her goals. Not only does this quote serve as a reminder of the importance of liberty, but it reminds you never to give up.
6. “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
You can’t achieve great things if you never dream of them first. Permit yourself to dream, and don’t hold back. If you can look within and find strength, patience, and passion, you can change the world and reach your dreams.
7. “If you hear the dogs, keep going, if you see the torches in the woods, keep going, if there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.”
Tubman and those she rescued had to watch out for dogs, torches, and other dangerous situations. She encouraged others to keep going, no matter what, and they didn’t stop for anyone or anything. While your problem will never compare to the horrors she faced, you can still use Tubman’s wisdom and keep going until you get what you want.
8. “I have heard their groans and sighs, and seen their tears, and I would give every drop of blood in my veins to free them.”
Tubman made it to freedom but couldn’t ignore those who were still suffering. She knew what they were going through and saw their pain, so she did everything possible to help them. If you remember this quote, you’ll never hesitate to jump in and help others in their time of need.
9. “Slave parents lived in abject terror of separation from their children. This fear, perhaps more than any other aspect of the institution, revealed the deeply dehumanizing horror of slavery.”
Of all the terrors that enslaved people encountered, constantly fearing separation from their children was one of the most dehumanizing. The joyous moments of having a child and watching them grow became clouded by the worry that separation could occur at any moment. You will never forget this Harriet Tubman quote because it shows the deep heartbreak that they experienced.
10. “I am at peace with God and all mankind.”
After all that she went through and experienced, Tubman found peace with everyone around her. No matter what happened, she didn’t lose faith in humanity.