The story of Harriet Tubman, an American hero

CHURCH CREEK, Md. -- Harriet Tubman's legendary life is on vivid display at the new Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, CBS News' Chip Reid reports.

"What impresses you most about Harriet Tubman?" Reid asked Angelica Crenshaw, who works at the center.


Angelica Crenshaw

CBS News

"Her resilience. She got knocked down so many times but she kept standing up," Crenshaw said.

Born into slavery, as a young girl Tubman worked in the backwoods in brutal conditions.

"She had to know outdoor survival," Crenshaw said.

That became a life-saver when she escaped slavery at age 27 and made the arduous journey to Pennsylvania -- and freedom.

Over the next decade, she repeatedly risked her life, returning to Maryland about a dozen times to rescue more than 70 family members and friends. She guided them north along the Underground Railroad, a secret network of trails, waterways and safe houses. 

Tina Wyatt, a direct descendant of Tubman, brought her grandchildren to the center to teach them about their heroic relative.


Maddison Lewis, left, and Mackenzi Jackson, descendants of Harriet Tubman

CBS News

"What's it like to be a direct descendant of Harriet Tubman?" Reid asked them.

"It's really exciting," said Mackenzi Jackson.

"It's awesome!" replied Maddison Lewis.

Wyatt took Reid to the nearby Bucktown Village Store where as a child Tubman was hit in the head by a heavy weight thrown by a slave owner.

"Almost killed her," said Jay Meredith, who has turned the store into a Tubman museum. His ancestors owned slaves in the area.


Tina Wyatt, left, and Jay Meredith

CBS News

"Enslaved, about 5 foot tall, and hunted," Meredith said. "When you think about Tubman and the adversities she overcame -- that's phenomenal."

"Love, faith, family…  human rights. That's her legacy," Wyatt said.

A descendant of slaves and a descendant of slave owners -- both working to honor an American hero.