Winning Essay by Dylan G. from Illinois
One of the most inspiring African-American people to me is Harriet Tubman. Harriet Tubman was an armed scout, spy, and American Abolitionist during the American Civil War. She inspired me personally because she was extremely strong and courageous. Had she lacked either of these traits, her work would not have been possible.
 Harriet Tubman was extremely strong. No person that lacked strength both physically and mentally, could have been a conductor in the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman once said, “I never run my train off the track and I never lost a passenger” ( This means that Tubman, even though boasting, was the most successful conductor. Tubman freed thousands of slaves during her lifespan. She led groups on 650-mile journeys from Maryland to Ontario, Canada. Harriet Tubman was so strong, that she even returned to where she was enslaved to free other slaves, risking her life to liberate others held in the bonds of slavery. I find this so inspiring because if I were in this position, I could not return to where I was enslaved. Harriet Tubman was not satisfied with her own freedom. She wanted to ensure freedom for those left behind.
 In addition to being incredibly strong, Tubman was very courageous. Tubman was not only a conductor of the Underground Railroad, but she was also a scout and spy for the Civil War. Being a conductor and scout takes a tremendous amount of courage. If she would have been caught, Tubman would have been executed. Not only did Tubman free other slaves, but she did not wait on anyone to free her from the bondage of her own physical slavery. She did not wait for a leader, she was the leader. Harriet Tubman knew what she was facing, but did not care about the consequences of her actions. This is why Harriet Tubman, in my opinion, is one of the most courageous African-American women of all time.  My favorite quote by Tubman is when she states “...children, if you are tired, keep going, if you are scared, keep going if you are hungry, keep going, if you taste freedom, keep going” ( This quote motivates and reminds me that the little things I am scared of can be overcome.
 Harriet Tubman continues to be a source of inspiration for me every day. From finding the strength to accomplish my goals, to having the courage to do the right thing. Harriet Tubman taught us that humans are entitled to freedom and no one should be able to take that away. And that when we reach for our dreams and believe in what we do, there is not anything that cannot be accomplished.

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