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Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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Lawmakers Would Like A Statue of Harriet Tubman at the U.S. Capitol (In the News/Possible Interactive Notebook Activity)

Using the News in the Classroom

This week, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and co-sponsor Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) have introduced a bill to have a statue of Harriet Tubman placed in a "prominent location" in the U.S. Capitol. In 2012, a commission was set up to raise money to pay for a statue of Harriet Tubman. In order for such a statue to be in the Capitol, lawmakers must accept the money collected and agree to the statue being displayed in the Capitol. Although Tubman spent much of her life in New York, she was born on a plantation in the state of Maryland where she spent much of her life until she escaped to freedom.

Did You Know?

  1. In 2016, the Treasury Secretary announced that with the face of Harriet Tubman will appear on the $20 bill. The current face on the $20 bill is President Andrew Jackson.
  2. Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in 1849. She continued to return about 13 different times bringing slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Her last trip was in 1860. It is believed that Tubman helped over 300 slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
  3. Probably the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad, a bounty of $40,000 was offered for Tubman's capture! In today's world, that would have been approximately $600,000! Other conductors on the Underground Railroad included John Fairfield, Frederick Douglass, and Levi Coffin.
  4. Harriet Tubman's nickname of "Moses" was given to her by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.
  5. During the Civil War, Harriet Tubman worked as a nurse, spy, and soldier!
  6. Harriet Tubman worked with James Montgomery and helped lead an armed expedition during the Civil War. The Combahee River Raid helped free hundreds of slaves in South Carolina.
  7. After the Civil War, Harriet Tubman worked for women's rights. She also worked to establish African Americans' rights and set up a home for elderly African Americans.
  8. Having been a soldier during the Civil War, it took 34 years for Harriet Tubman to receive a small veteran's pension.
  9. Did you know that there is an asteroid named in Harriet Tubman's honor?
  10. The SS Harriet Tubman was launched in 1944 by the United States Maritime Commission. It was the first liberty ship named for an African American woman!
  11. In 1978, the United States Postal Service honored Harriet Tubman with a stamp.

Your Turn:

  1. Do you think Harriet Tubman should have a statue in the Capitol Building? Write a paragraph explaining your position.
  2. Illustrate one of the facts about Harriet Tubman.
  3. Write 3 facts you know about the Underground Railroad.

Check out my Reader's Theater Script on Harriet Tubman. The fun and informative play imagines Harriet Tubman being a guest on Ms. Bie Ografee's talk show and the studio audience asks questions about her life and contributions. There are comprehension questions and extension activities.


Photograph from