at age 91. Tubman was an African-American abolitionist
, and Union
spy during the U.S. Civil War
. After escaping from slavery
, into which she was born, she made thirteen missions to rescue over seventy slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad
. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid on the Combahee River
, which liberated more than seven hundred slaves. Tubman, widely known and well-respected while she was alive, became an American icon in the years after her death. She inspired generations of African Americans struggling for equality and civil rights
; she was praised by leaders across the political spectrum.