Tubman Receives Gift from Queen Victoria

– After reading Tubman’s biography, Queen Victoria, in the year of her Diamond Jubilee, gifts Tubman a silver medal and a silk lace and linen shawl to honor her for her abolitionist work in Canada.  – Tubman spends several months in Boston visiting friends and relatives, giving lectures and interviews, and attending women’s rights meetings. In August, Tubman is interviewed by historian Wilbur Siebert (1866-1961), who publishes her story in the book The Underground Railroad in Slavery and Freedom.

Tubman Supports Civil and Women’s Rights

– Tubman purchases twenty-five acres of land adjacent to her house to establish an infirmary and home for aged and indigent Black people. Another edition of her second biography by Bradford helps to fund this purchase. – On May 18, the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision legalizes racial segregation. – In July, Tubman speaks and sings at the founding convention of the National Association of Colored Women in Washington, D.C. – In November, Tubman speaks at a women’s suffrage convention in Rochester, New York, led onstage by Susan B. Anthony.

Tubman is Eligible for Pension

The Dependent and Disability Pension Act is signed into law, which makes Tubman eligible for a pension as the widow of a veteran.

Tubman is Widowed a Second Time

On October 14, Tubman becomes a widow after Davis, who was often sickly, dies of tuberculosis. Earlier in the year, on March 13, Brazil becomes the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery.

Tubman’s Second Biography is Published

– Bradford publishes a second biography, Harriet Tubman: The Moses of Her People, to help raise funds for the construction of Tubman’s new house and other financial needs. – On October 7, Cuba abolishes slavery.

Tubman’s House is Destroyed by Fire

A fire destroys Tubman’s wood-framed house. This misfortune is added to the loss of her mother, who died either this year or the year before. With the help of their community, Tubman and Davis build a brick house to replace their home, which still stands today.

Tubman Adopts Baby Girl

Tubman adopts a baby girl and names her Gertie (1874-ca.1900). She and her husband Davis support their household of extended family by selling farm products and starting a brick company. She also grows an impressive apple orchard on her property.

Post-Emancipation Struggles

– On March 22, the Spanish National Assembly abolishes slavery in Puerto Rico. – In October, an account is given of Tubman succumbing to a gold swindle, in which she is injured as the con men abscond with her money. Tubman’s pressing financial needs, and her willingness to open her home to formerly enslaved African Americans and anyone else in need, make her especially vulnerable to such scams.

William Still Preserves History

William Still publishes his records on freedom seekers in a book titled The Underground Railroad. These records include the extensive years and stories that Still wrote down when interviewing freedom seekers, including the histories of famed conductors like Tubman and other anti-slavery agents. Tubman’s father Ben Ross, an active participant on the Underground Railroad, died the year before in November 1871.