Celebrating Harriet Tubman’s Achievements 100 Years Later
Long before people could become famous just for being famous, there lived a woman who earned her fame – through acts so brave and noble, we are still celebrating her achievements nearly 100 years after her birth.
Harriet Tubman was a Union spy during the Civil War, the first American woman to lead a military expedition, and the “conductor” in the Underground Railroad. She made headlines as recently as June of 2021 after a congressman failed to keep her off the $20 bill.
Harriet Tubman made the news again in an HBO special starring Viola Davis. The HBO special is a 10th-anniversary celebration of her statue’s unveiling. It is also a celebration of the establishment of Harriet Tubman National Park. The Harriet Tubman National Park has TWO locations. The first is in Cambridge, Maryland, where she was born. The second location is in Auburn, New York, where she resided for the last 50 years of her life.
A Little History About Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman is the iconic woman who escaped slavery in Maryland in 1849 and organized the network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
Born Araminta Harriet Ross, Tubman would become known as the “Moses of her people” for the 10 years she spent leading hundreds of enslaved people to freedom. She further cemented her courageous reputation during the Civil War when she joined the Union Army as a nurse and cook. Harriet Tubman then became an armed scout and spy for the Union Army. In that role, she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 enslaved people in South Carolina.
Tubman would spend the rest of her life aiding African-Americans and was regarded as a champion and a hero within her lifetime. In fact, a survey at the end of the 20th century named her one of the most famous civilians in American history before the Civil War. She was third only to Betsy Ross and Paul Revere. She continues to inspire today. In what has been called a “sweeping and historically significant” move, the U.S. Treasury will soon replace enslaver Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Harriet Tubman.
There has never been a better time to celebrate Harriet Tubman’s achievements with your students. A lesson on Harriet Tubman’s life is a perfect addition to any thematic units in history or ELA. It would be a natural fit during Women’s or Black History Month. My Harriet Tubman Collaboration Portrait Poster is the perfect complement to any of your lessons.
The poster, a large mosaic that is colored, cut out, and assembled, becomes a visually stunning tribute to the abolitionist leader. It is the perfect Harriet Tubman activity to do with your students. There are 30 pieces to this poster. The final poster is approx. 35″ x 42″ (depending on your printer settings).
This Harriet Tubman activity can serve as an anticipatory set to pique your students’ interests. It can also be an extension at the end of their studies. The symbolism behind working together to create a single image will touch your students. They will take pride in their own piece when they see it on display.
My collaboration portraits usually come with two options.
The first poster works for all age groups, from pre-K to adults. It simply requires you to color the pages according to the instructions. The second variation is excellent for middle school, high school, and all art students. This second option gives the children the chance to draw their part of the poster and work together to create a portrait drawing of Harriet Tubman.
You will find my poster HERE.
Harriet Tubman Activities: FREE Unscramble Activities
If you’ve never created one of my collaboration posters with your students, these free bonus activities are a perfect way to introduce you to the concepts behind the larger poster. I have included several options for you, so this free activity is easy to use with many different grades.
This free Harriet Tubman activity is perfect for younger and older students.
- Unscramble the portrait drawing sheet (grades 3 and above).
- Unscramble the drawing, cut and paste. Two grid variations included: one for older students learning grid coordinates and one for younger students with simple letter/number recognition for correct placement of pieces.
- Line drawing of Tubman that students can color however they want (any age)!
You will find my FREE Harriet Tubman Unscramble Activities HERE.
My Harriet Tubman activities were designed to be easy for teachers and fun for kids. All you need are coloring materials, a pencil, and bulletin board space. After all, if Harriet Tubman is to grace the $20 bill, why not also the walls of your classroom?
Thanks for reading and making art with your kids!