Harriet Tubman has long been associated with her extraordinary work with abolitionist causes and as the Underground Railroad's most famous conductor. Her heroic efforts in personally leading more than 300 persons out of slavery to freedom in the North defined her as the "Moses of her People." She continued her humanitarian activities to aid the poor and aged, and to establish schools for the freed blacks in the South. The two and one-half story, clapboard structure that became the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged was the culmination of a life dedicated to uplifting the plight of those once condemned to servitude. Tubman used her Auburn farm to shelter the needy for decades before the Tubman Home was built in 1908. The institution often faced financial hardship and imminent foreclosure. Beginning in the late 1860s, Tubman sought compensation from the federal government for her work during the Civil War as a nurse, cook and scout. Her application was supported by many prominent Americans, including Secretary of State William Seward, but her case was ultimately rejected because it did not fall under any recognized law. Finally in 1897, Congress enacted a private bill authorizing a small pension for life. When word of her struggle spread, former anti-slavery allies and citizens from Auburn funded the construction of the Harriet Tubman Home, a project Tubman called "her last work." Tubman deeded the property to the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who preserved the Home in the years following Tubman's own death there in 1913. Today the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged is maintained as a museum dedicated to preserving the humanitarian vision of its founder.
The Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 180-182 South St. in Auburn, NY. The property is open to the public by appointment. Call 315-252-2081 or click here for more information.