According to some estimates, between 1810 and 1850, the Underground Railroad helped to guide one hundred thousand enslaved people to freedom. As the network grew, the railroad metaphor stuck.
How many conductors were in the Underground Railroad?
These eight abolitionists helped enslaved people escape to freedom.
How many slaves are estimated to have escaped on the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad and freed slaves [estimated 100,000 escaped ] Not literally a railroad, but secret tunnels of routes and safe houses for southern slaves to escape to Canda for their freedom before the Civil War ended in 1865.
What was the Underground Railroad who were the passengers and the conductors?
Using the terminology of the railroad, those who went south to find enslaved people seeking freedom were called “pilots.” Those who guided enslaved people to safety and freedom were “conductors.” The enslaved people were “passengers.” People’s homes or businesses, where fugitive passengers and conductors could safely
Who was the first conductor of the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman: Conductor of the Underground Railroad – Meet Amazing Americans | America’s Library – Library of Congress. After Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery, she returned to slave-holding states many times to help other slaves escape. She led them safely to the northern free states and to Canada.
Who was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad?
Our Headlines and Heroes blog takes a look at Harriet Tubman as the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman and those she helped escape from slavery headed north to freedom, sometimes across the border to Canada.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
Does the Underground Railroad still exist?
It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman. Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.
How many slaves did Harriet Tubman help free via the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”
How far did the Underground Railroad stretch?
The length of the route to freedom varied but was often 500 to 600 miles. Those who were strong—and lucky—might make it to freedom in as little as two months. For others, the journey could last more than a year. Harriet Tubman was one of the most famous conductors along the Underground Railroad.
How far did the Underground Railroad go?
Because it was dangerous to be in free states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, or even Massachusetts after 1850, most people hoping to escape traveled all the way to Canada. So, you could say that the Underground Railroad went from the American south to Canada.
What’s Harriet Tubman’s real name?
The person we know as “Harriet Tubman” endured decades in bondage before becoming Harriet Tubman. Tubman was born under the name Araminta Ross sometime around 1820 (the exact date is unknown); her mother nicknamed her Minty.
Was Harriet Tubman an abolitionist?
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom in the North along the route of the Underground Railroad.
How old would Harriet Tubman be today?
Harriet Tubman’s exact age would be 201 years 10 months 28 days old if alive. Total 73,747 days. Harriet Tubman was a social life and political activist known for her difficult life and plenty of work directed on promoting the ideas of slavery abolishment.
The Underground Railroad
At the time of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in their attempts to flee to freedom in the northern states. Subjects History of the United States, Social StudiesImage
Home of Levi Coffin
A network of routes, locations, and individuals existed during the time of slavery in the United States to assist enslaved persons in the American South in their attempts to go north. Subjects Social Studies, History of the United States of America
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The Underground Railroad
|The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals – many whites but predominently black – who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year – according to one estimate,the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850. An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a “society of Quakers, formed for such purposes.” The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed “The Underground Railroad,” after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called “stations” and “depots” and were run by “stationmasters,” those who contributed money or goods were “stockholders,” and the “conductor” was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next.For the slave, running away to the North was anything but easy. The first step was to escape from the slaveholder. For many slaves, this meant relying on his or her own resources. Sometimes a “conductor,” posing as a slave, would enter a plantation and then guide the runaways northward. The fugitives would move at night. They would generally travel between 10 and 20 miles to the next station, where they would rest and eat, hiding in barns and other out-of-the-way places. While they waited, a message would be sent to the next station to alert its stationmaster.The fugitives would also travel by train and boat – conveyances that sometimes had to be paid for. Money was also needed to improve the appearance of the runaways – a black man, woman, or child in tattered clothes would invariably attract suspicious eyes. This money was donated by individuals and also raised by various groups, including vigilance committees.Vigilance committees sprang up in the larger towns and cities of the North, most prominently in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. In addition to soliciting money, the organizations provided food, lodging and money, and helped the fugitives settle into a community by helping them find jobs and providing letters of recommendation.The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.|
8 Key Contributors to the Underground Railroad
Isaac Hopper, an abolitionist, is shown in this image from the Kean Collection/Getty Images. As early as 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with a “organization of Quakers, founded for such reasons,” which had sought to free a neighbor’s slave. Quakers were instrumental in the establishment of the Underground Railroad. Slavery was opposed in especially in Philadelphia, where Isaac Hopper, a Quaker who converted to Christianity, created what has been described as “the first working cell of the abolitionist underground.” Hopper not only protected escaped slave hunters in his own house, but he also constructed a network of safe havens and recruited a web of spies in order to get insight into their plans.
Hopper, a friend of Joseph Bonaparte, the exiled brother of the former French emperor, went to New York City in 1829 and established himself as a successful businessman.
He remained in the city, continuing to assist fugitive slaves and, at one point, battling off an anti-abolitionist crowd that had formed outside his Quaker bookstore. READ MORE: The Underground Railroad and Its Operation
2. John Brown
John Brown, an abolitionist, about 1846 GraphicaArtis/Getty Images courtesy of Similar to his father, John Brown actively participated in the Underground Railroad by hosting runaways at his home and warehouse and organizing an anti-slave catcher militia following the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, which he inherited from his father. The next year, he joined several of his sons in the so-called “Bleeding Kansas” war, leading one attack that resulted in the deaths of five pro-slavery settlers in 1856.
Brown’s radicalization continued to grow, and his ultimate act occurred in October 1859, when he and 21 supporters seized the government arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in an effort to incite a large-scale slave uprising.
3. Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she experienced repeated violent beatings, one of which involving a two-pound lead weight, which left her with seizures and migraines for the rest of her life. Tubman fled bondage in 1849, following the North Star on a 100-mile walk into Pennsylvania, fearing she would be sold and separated from her family. She died in the process. She went on to become the most well-known “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, participating in around 13 rescue missions back into Maryland and rescuing at least 70 enslaved individuals, including several of her siblings.
As a scout, spy, and healer for the Union Army, Tubman maintained her anti-slavery activities during the Civil War, and is believed to have been the first woman in the United States to lead troops into battle.
When Harriet Tubman Led a Civil War Raid, You Should Pay Attention
4. Thomas Garrett
‘Thomas Garrett’ is a fictional character created by author Thomas Garrett. The New York Public Library is a public library in New York City. The Quaker “stationmaster” Thomas Garrett, who claimed to have assisted over 2,750 escaped slaves before the commencement of the Civil War, lived in Wilmington, Delaware, and Tubman frequently stopped there on her route up north. Garret not only gave his guests with a place to stay but also with money, clothing & food. He even personally led them to a more secure area on occasion, arm in arm.
Despite this, he persisted in his efforts.
He also stated that “if any of you know of any poor slave who needs assistance, please send him to me, as I now publicly pledge myself to double my diligence and never miss an opportunity to assist a slave to obtain freedom.”
5. William Still
Mister Garrett is a fictitious character created by author Thomas Garrett. The New York Public Library is a public library located in New York City. The Quaker “stationmaster” Thomas Garrett, who claimed to have assisted over 2,750 escaped slaves before the commencement of the Civil War, lived in Wilmington, Delaware, and Tubman frequently stopped there on her trip north. As well as a place to stay, Garrett offered his guests with money, clothing, and food, and he occasionally physically led them arm-in-arm to a more secure area.
However, he was unafraid to continue.
6. Levi Coffin
Charles T. Webber’s painting The Underground Railroad depicts fleeing slaves Levi Coffin, his wife Catherine, and Hannah Haydock providing assistance to the group of fugitive slaves. Getty Images/Bettina Archive/Getty Images Levi Coffin, often known as the “president of the Underground Railroad,” is said to have been an abolitionist when he was seven years old after witnessing a column of chained slaves people being taken to an auction house. Following a humble beginning delivering food to fugitives holed up on his family’s North Carolina plantation, he rose through the ranks to become a successful trader and prolific “stationmaster,” first in Newport (now Fountain City), Indiana, and subsequently in Cincinnati, Kentucky.
In addition to hosting anti-slavery lectures and abolitionist sewing club meetings, Coffin, like his fellow Quaker Thomas Garrett, stood steadfast when hauled before a court of law.
7. Elijah Anderson
The Ohio River, which formed the border between slave and free states, was referred to as the River Jordan in abolitionist circles because it represented the border between slave and free states. Madison, Indiana, was an especially appealing crossing point for enslaved persons on the run, because to an Underground Railroad cell established there by blacksmith Elijah Anderson and several other members of the town’s Black middle class in the 1850s. With his fair skin, Anderson might have passed for a white slave owner on his repeated travels into Kentucky, where would purportedly pick up 20 to 30 enslaved persons at a time and whisk them away to freedom, sometimes accompanying them as far as the Coffins’ mansion in Newport.
An anti-slavery mob devastated Madison in 1846, almost drowning an agent of the Underground Railroad, prompting Anderson to flee upriver to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he eventually settled.
While carrying on his operations, he aided around 800 other fugitives before being arrested and imprisoned in Kentucky for “enticing slaves to flee.” Anderson was found dead in his cell on what some accounts claim was the exact day of his parole in 1861, raising suspicions about his death.
8. Thaddeus Stevens
Mr. Thaddeus Stevens is an American lawyer and senator. Bettmann Archive courtesy of Getty Images; Matthew Brady/Bettmann Archive Thaddeus Stevens, a representative from Pennsylvania, was outspoken in his opposition to slavery. The 14th and 15th amendments, which guaranteed African-American citizens equal protection under the law and the right to vote, respectively, were among his many accomplishments, and he also advocated for a radical reconstruction of the South, which included the redistribution of land from white plantation owners to former enslaved people.
Despite this, it wasn’t until 2002 that his Underground Railroad activities were brought to light, when archeologists uncovered a hidden hiding hole in the courtyard of his Lancaster house.
Seward, also served as Underground Railroad “stationmasters” during the era.
Underground Railroad Sites: Wayne County
Wayne County, in Eastern Indiana, is named after Revolutionary War General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. It is located near the Ohio border and was established in 1819. In 1810, the county was established, and Salisbury was chosen as the county seat since Richmond was seen to be too far away from the county center. Wayne County was a thriving farming community, and its commercial success expanded significantly with the completion of the Whitewater Canal project, which connected Lawrenceburg to the National Road in the north by 1845, and the establishment of the National Road in the south.
Levi Coffin was a conductor for the Underground Railroad, and it is believed that he assisted nearly 3,000 slaves in their escape to freedom in the north.
Perry-Castaeda Map Collection – UT Library Online is a digital collection of maps created by UT librarians.
Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by author Levi Coffin. Catharine Coffin is a woman who lives in the United Kingdom. Levi Coffin, arguably the most well-known of the UGRR’s conductors, dedicated his life to assisting fugitives on their journey to freedom. In the 1820s, he and his wife Catharine relocated to Wayne County, Pennsylvania. The brick residence, which is in the Federal style, was constructed in 1839. A National Historic Landmark, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
When the Coffins first arrived in Wayne County, there was already an active Underground Railroad enterprise in action at the time.
The Coffins were able to capitalize on this momentum and continue their work. During their 20-year residence in Newport, the Coffins were responsible for assisting more than 2,000 slaves to find safety. More information on the Coffins may be found by clicking here.
The Escape of Peter
Samuel Todd of Kentucky filed a lawsuit against William Bulla and Andrew Hoover, both of whom lived in Wayne County, Indiana, seeking $500.00 in damages for property loss. Todd accused the guys of assisting his slave Peter in his escape from the plantation. In August of 1821, Peter departed Kentucky and made his way to Indiana. While Peter had departed in 1821, it is unclear how long he had been residing in Wayne County at the time of his departure. The name George Stellow had been altered by the time he was apprehended just north of Richmond, where he was discovered.
- Millekin then went to the Justice of the Peace and asked him to authorise Peter’s deportation back to Kentucky, which the justice granted.
- Peter was no longer there after the breakout.
- The only certainty is that Todd was victorious in both instances, despite the fact that no witness testimony or evidence has survived.
- Peter, the protagonist of this narrative, is a character who is somewhat unknown.
- While the majority of Peter’s tale will remain unknown, we do get a small glimpse into his life as a result of the trial.
- With confused feelings about slavery and the right of African Americans to dwell in Indiana, Peter found himself in a situation where he might receive both assistance and treachery from the people around him.
Tour the Underground Railroad in Bucks County
A new life was symbolized by the Underground Railroad for thousands of escaped slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries, and it continues to do so today. Runaways depended on abolitionists and generous towns to assist them on their trek northward through this covert network of hidden, secure sites. From bars and churches to privately held farms, Bucks County was home to a slew of notable train stations, many of which are still open to the public today. Follow the steps on this list to follow the path that many people travelled in their quest for freedom.
1870 Wedgwood Inn
A new life was represented by the Underground Railroad for thousands of escaped slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries. Runaways depended on abolitionists and generous towns to assist them on their trek northward through this covert network of hidden, safe sites during the Civil War. Bucks County was the site of several notable train stations, ranging from pubs and churches to privately held farms, many of which may still be visited to this day.
You may trace the route taken by numerous people in their quest for freedom by following this list. To get to the stations in Upper and Central Bucks County, follow these driving directions: Driving directions for a tour of Lower Bucks County are included below.
African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME Church) is the oldest African American church in Bensalem and a former Underground Railroad safe post, having been built over 200 years ago. Hundreds of slaves were rowed up the Delaware River by Robert Purvis, an abolitionist and one of the founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, from Philadelphia to the church and their farm in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. It is estimated that he assisted around 9,000 fugitives in fleeing, making him one of the most influential men in Bucks County who was linked with abolitionism at the time.
Leroy Allen, an escaped slave from Roanoke, Virginia, sought refuge here before joining the Union Army to fight for his freedom in the war against slavery.
The Archambault House
It is the oldest African American church in Bensalem and a former Underground Railroad safe post, having been in existence for over 200 years. To seek safety at the church and their property in Bensalem, abolitionist Robert Purvis, who was one of the founding members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, rowed slaves up the Delaware River from Philadelphia. The number of fugitives he helped escape is thought to have been about 9,000, making him one of the most significant figures in Bucks County who was engaged with abolitionism.
During the American Civil War, Leroy Allen, an escaped slave from Roanoke, Virginia, sought refuge here before joining the Union Army to fight for his freedom.
Bristol was one of many stations on the route to liberation, and it served as a haven for fugitive slaves on their path to freedom. The citizens of Bristol even went so far as to purchase the freedom of fugitive Dick Shad, who had sought safety in Bristol after being a slave in Virginia for twenty years. Bristol now has a plethora of ancient buildings and destinations that are just waiting to be explored by visitors.
Buckingham Friends Meeting House
In 1776, members of the Buckingham Meeting House (also known as the Solebury Friends Meeting House) voted to abolish the practice of slave ownership. Following the kidnapping of Benjamin “Big Ben” Jones, a local slave and well-known personality, abolitionists presented a series of anti-slavery lectures in this area and in Lambertville, Pennsylvania. Today, the meetinghouse serves as a venue for community gatherings.
Additionally, the Continental Tavern (which served as the Continental Hotel in its heyday), the Yardley Grist Mill (a former mill that supplied sorghum and meal to Union soldiers), and Lakeside (one of the area’s earliest homes) were believed to have been stops on the Railroad that were connected by an underground tunnel system. Today, the Continental Tavernis well-known for its happy hour and delectable supper menus.
You should try one of their signature dishes, such as the Continental Bacon Burger or the Striped Bass, which goes nicely with one of their bottled craft beers. Visit Bucks County’s exclusive video tour of the subterranean may be viewed by clicking here.
In addition to the Continental Tavern (which was once known as the Continental Hotel in the 1800s), the Yardley Grist Mill (a former mill that supplied sorghum and meal to Union soldiers) and Lakeside (one of the earliest homes in the area) were believed to have been stops on the Railroad that were linked by an underground tunnel system. Today, the Continental Tavernis well-known for its happy hour and delectable meals. You should try one of their signature dishes, such as the Continental Bacon Burger or the Striped Bass, which goes well with one of their bottled craft beers.
Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue
While strolling down the shoreline, be sure to stop at the Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue, which is one of the most important Underground Railroad landmarks in Bucks County. Tubman devoted her life to the cause of liberation and is considered to be one of the most well-known conductors on the Underground Railroad, according to historians. Before the Civil War, she put her life in danger a number of times in order to assist approximately 70 slaves northward.
Do not miss The Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue, which is one of the most important Underground Railroad landmarks in Bucks County, while you stroll down the coastline! Tubman devoted her life to the cause of liberation and is considered to be one of the most well-known conductors on the Underground Railroad, according to some sources. Several times before the Civil War, she risked her life in order to escort over 70 slaves north.
Mount Gilead Church
The Harriet Tubman Memorial Statue, a must-see among Bucks County’s Underground Railroad landmarks, should not be missed when strolling along the shoreline. Tubman committed her life to the cause of liberation, and she is considered to be one of the most well-known conductors on the Underground Railroad, according to some sources. She put her life in danger several times before the Civil War in order to escort over 70 slaves north.
In the early 1850s, the Newtown Theatre, which is the world’s oldest continuously functioning movie theater, was known as Newtown Hall. It is currently known as the Newtown Theatre. It was a favorite gathering place for town meetings and anti-slavery demonstrations. Several notable abolitionists, including Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglass, are recorded as having spoken at this event.
The town of New Hope served as the terminus of the Underground Railroad in the county of Bucks. In this location, slaves would cross the Delaware River into New Jersey, where they would continue their trek north. Are you a history buff who enjoys learning new things? While in town, pay a visit to the Parry Mansion Museum for a guided tour of the building’s history. The home, which was built in 1784 by one of New Hope’s founders, Benjamin Parry, contains furniture in 11 rooms that illustrate the estate’s 125-year history of décor.
Begin your journey back in time at the Bucks County Visitor Center in Quakertown, which is conveniently located. The Visitor Center, which is located just off Rt. 309 in the historic downtown district, shares space with the Quakertown Historical Society and the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce in a beautiful 19th century barn.
In addition, the building contains a glass-enclosed exhibit showcasing historic objects that illustrate the 150-year history of manufacturing and trade in the Upper Bucks County area.
Richard Moore House
The distance between stops, which might be up to 10 miles, led to Richard Moore’s stone home being one of the most significant sites on the Underground Railroad for slaves going through Bucks County during the abolitionist movement. Moore, a potter from the area, became well-known for his friendliness, and many people were sent to his house. Henry Franklin, a former slave, was the driver of the wagon that delivered pottery, coal, and the secret slaves hidden beneath the goods for Moore. Robert L.
Moore’s generosity is now available for purchase.
Several locations in Yardley, including a white-columned mansion on South Main Street, a shop on Afton Avenue, a house on South Canal Street, the Old Library, the borough Baptist and American Methodist Episcopal churches, and a stone house on River Road, were likely hiding places for fugitive slaves. For those who are interested in the genuine narrative of fugitive slave Big Ben seeking freedom from Maryland in Bucks County, we recommend seeing the film The North Star, which was shot in Bucks County and depicts the true story of runaway slave Big Ben seeking freedom from Maryland.
Visit the African American Museum of Bucks County’s events calendar for more information!
Explore Bucks County’s TownsMain Streets
Smuggled fugitives through the Underground Railroad during the winter seasonThe Underground Railroad was constructed to help enslaved persons in their escape to freedom. The railroad network was made up of dozens of hidden routes and safe houses that began in slaveholding states and extended all the way to the Canadian border, which was the only place where fugitives could be certain of their freedom. From Florida to Cuba, or from Texas to Mexico, there were shorter routes that took you south.
The Underground Railroad’s success was dependent on the collaboration of previous runaway slaves, free-born blacks, Native Americans, and white and black abolitionists who assisted in guiding runaway slaves along the routes and providing their houses as safe havens for the fugitive slave population.
- The Underground Railroad in the Nineteenth Century New York Public Library’s Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, part of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, provided this photograph.
- The railroad employed conductors, among them William Still of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was likely the most well-known of the group.
- Slave-hiding spots were called stations, and stationmasters were individuals who hid slaves in their houses.
- The Underground Railroad functioned as a number of interconnected networks.
- Those responsible for leading the fugitive slaves north did so in stages.
- The “freight” would be transferred on to the next conductor once it reached another stop, and so on until the full journey had been completed.
- When the Underground Railroad was successful, it engendered a great deal of hostility among slaveholders and their friends.
The law was misused to a tremendous extent.
Due to the fact that African Americans were not permitted to testify or have a jury present during a trial, they were frequently unable to defend themselves.
Ironically, the Fugitive Slave Act fueled Northern opposition to slavery and contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War.
A large number of those who escaped became human witnesses to the slave system, with many of them traveling on the lecture circuit to explain to Northerners what life was like as a slave in the slave system.
It was the success of the Underground Railroad in both situations that contributed to the abolition of slavery.
Blaine Hudson, Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2006); David W.
Instructions for Citing This Article (in APA Format): Waggoner, C., and Waggoner, C. (n.d.). The Underground Railroad was in operation from 1820 until 1861). Project on the History of Social Welfare. It was retrieved from
Gateway to Freedom International Memorial to the Underground Railroad
Historians believe that as many as 45,000 fugitive slaves traveled through Detroit on their journey to freedom in Canada during the American Civil War. However, despite the fact that Michigan was a free state, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 allowed slave catchers (or any white person) to assert that an African American was a runaway slave pending the decision of a special court that required only the testimony of one white witness to find that the African American was a slave. The Fugitive Slave Law also prohibited the accused from defending themselves, a scenario that led many free African Americans to flee their country of birth and seek asylum in Canada under the provisions of the law.
- The Gateway to Liberation International Memorial to the Underground Railroad, which was sculpted by Ed Dwight and dedicated on October 20, 2001, pays respect to the city’s involvement to the Underground Railroad as well as the hundreds of railroad conductors who made freedom possible.
- Following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, a large number of runaways relocated to Canada.
- This memorial pays honor to Americans who stood up for freedom during the era of slavery, including individuals such as Peter Denison, who returned to Detroit to command a black militia, and Thornton and Ruth Blackburn.
- Looking into Canada from the Gateway to Freedom Memorial Windsor, Canada, is home to the Tower of Freedom memorial.
Detroit’s Role in the Underground Railroad
Throughout the informal underground railroad’s history, with pubs, residences, and barns serving as “stations,” assistants serving as “conductors,” and escaped slaves serving as “passengers” or “baggage,” Detroit has consistently been at the forefront of the movement. The city has even been dubbed the “Doorway to Freedom” because of its location. The physical position of Detroit, along with the presence of a group of radicalized African Americans and abolitionist supporters, served as an important transit route into Canada beginning in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Thanks to the efforts of Seymour Finney, the hotel’s owner and feminist writer Elizabeth Chandler, the city gave rise to an anti-slavery association that expanded throughout the country.
Baptiste employed boats to ferry persons over the Detroit River in complete secrecy.
1 The abolitionist society and resources for assisting the Underground Railroad were abundant in Detroit, and it is estimated that more than 45,000 fugitive slaves went through the city.
The Gateway to Freedom Memorial
Sculptor Ed Dwight had a significant impact on modern African American society before he became known for his work on the Gateway to Freedom Memorial. In 1962, following a recommendation from President John F. Kennedy, Ed Dwight Jr. became the first African-American to be accepted into the United States astronaut training program. Ed Dwight Jr. was the son of Ed Dwight, Sr., a second baseman for the Kansas City Monarchs of the segregated Negro League. But he was forced to withdraw from the program in 1966 and rediscovered his love of painting until a decade later, in 1974.
Following the completion of many large projects targeted at recognizing the frequently overlooked accomplishments of African Americans, Dwight was awarded a design competition by Detroit 300, a non-profit organization that was planning the city’s tricentennial celebrations.
George de Baptiste is positioned in the center, with his finger pointing toward Canada.
Inscription on ‘The Gateway to Freedom’ Marker
Until Emancipation, Detroit and the Detroit River neighborhood served as a doorway to freedom for thousands of African American people who were fleeing servitude in the American South. Detroit was one of the busiest stops on the Underground Railroad, a network of abolitionists who assisted enslaved persons on their journey to liberty. Midnight was the code name for the Underground Railroad in Detroit. Initially, Michigan was a popular destination for freedom seekers, but once slavery was abolished in Canada in 1834, the country became a more secure haven.
Some of them returned after Emancipation in 1863.
Detroit and its history are inextricably intertwined with this tradition of freedom.
2.) Dominique King’s article “Ed Dwight and the International Underground Railroad Memorial in Detroit,” published in Midwest Guest on February 07, 2012, page 2.
(3) The Gateway to Freedom (accessed on October 17, 2015, 3.) hmdb.org is the website for the Historical Marker Database. On October 17, 2015, I was able to access