In the 1850s and 1860s, British North America became a popular refuge for slaves fleeing the horrors of plantation life in the American South. In all 30,000 slaves fled to Canada, many with the help of the underground railroad – a secret network of free blacks and white sympathizers who helped runaways.
How many slaves came to Canada from the Underground Railroad?
An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 freedom seekers entered Canada during the last decades of enslavement in the US. Between 1850 and 1860 alone, 15,000 to 20,000 fugitives reached the Province of Canada.
How many slaves escaped to Canada?
Up to thirty thousand slaves fled to Canada and, as in the northern U.S., many free blacks joined together to provide aid and advice.
How many slaves are in Canada today?
Prevalence. The Global Slavery Index estimates that on any given day in 2016 there were 17,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Canada, a prevalence of 0.5 victims for every thousand people in the country.
Where did the slaves go in Canada?
Fearing for their safety in the United States after the passage of the first Fugitive Slave Law in 1793, over 30,000 slaves came to Canada via the Underground Railroad until the end of the American Civil War in 1865. They settled mostly in southern Ontario, but some also settled in Quebec and Nova Scotia.
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.”
Did Harriet Tubman end up in Canada?
According to the act, all refugee slaves in free Northern states could be returned to enslavement in the South once captured. Tubman therefore changed her escape route so that it ended in Canada. She then began and ended her rescues in St. Catharines, Canada West (Ontario), where she moved in 1851.
How many slaves did Harriet Tubman save?
Fact: According to Tubman’s own words, and extensive documentation on her rescue missions, we know that she rescued about 70 people —family and friends—during approximately 13 trips to Maryland.
How many people in Canada are human trafficked?
Between 2009 and 2018, police services in Canada have reported 1,708 incidents of human trafficking. In this period, Nova Scotia and Ontario recorded average annual rates higher than the national average.
Does Canada have a modern slavery act?
Canada has not yet adopted targeted modern slavery legislation. However, on October 29, 2020, Bill S-216, An Act to enact the Modern Slavery Act and to amend the Customs Tariff (the “Bill”), was introduced in the Senate.
Who is considered black in Canada?
Black Canadians, or African Canadians, are people of African or Caribbean ancestry who live in Canada. According to the 2016 Canadian census, 1.2 million Canadians (3.5 per cent of the population) identified as being Black.
Abolitionist Movement primary sources; Underground Railroad primary sources; Underground Railroad sites may be found on the Iowa Culture mobile app; John Brown Freedom Trail 1859; Abolitionist Movement primary sources; Underground Railroad primary sources; Abolitionist Movement primary sources
To Canada and Back Again: Immigration from the United States on the Underground Railroad (1840-1860)
The MA Public History Program at Western University students created this video.
Fugitive or Free?
Prior to 1850, runaway slaves who managed to make their way from the southern United States to the northern states were regarded to have gained their freedom. However, with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the northern states were no longer considered a safe haven for fugitive slaves. Slavecatchers may be able to apprehend and return escaped slaves to their respective masters. In addition, anyone who had escaped slavery by emigrating to a free state years previously may be deported back to servitude under certain circumstances.
The same threat existed for all free blacks, regardless of race.
Once they had crossed into Upper Canada, all men, women, and children were free to go wherever they wanted.
LC-USZC4-4550 is the Library of Congress’s catalog number for this item.
The Underground Railroad
In the United States, the Underground Railroad was a network of safe houses operated by abolitionists in both free and slave states, as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. Slavery was abolished because of the efforts of those who assisted slaves on their way to freedom – free blacks, Quakers, and other campaigners – who risked their lives fighting against it. Despite the fact that there was never a true railroad, safehouses were referred to as stations, and those who lived in them were referred to as stationmasters.
New Land, New Life
In the United States, the Underground Railroad was a network of safe houses operated by abolitionists in both free and slave states, as well as in Canada and other countries. Many of those who assisted runaway slaves in their escape – free blacks, Quakers, and other anti-slavery campaigners – paid with their lives in the struggle against slavery. Safehouses were named stations, and those who lived in them were known as stationmasters, while those who guided escaped slaves to freedom were referred to as conductors, despite the fact that there was never an actual railroad.
Did You Know?
The province of Upper Canada was renamed Canada West in 1841, and now it is a component of the modern-day Canadian province of Ontario.
When escaped slaves first arrived in Canada West, the vast majority of them chose to live near the United States border. Because of this, they were able to remain closer to family relatives who were distributed around the United States. During this time period, white folks acted in a largely neutral manner toward them. When fugitive slaves began to arrive in greater numbers in the United States around 1840, white residents began to feel threatened. Some people were concerned that these escaped slaves would be unable to work and would be forced to rely on government help instead.
The petition was eventually signed by over 100,000 people.
Black immigrants settled in a variety of towns and communities, including Hamilton, St. Catharine’s, Windsor, and Toronto, as well as other locations. The Chatham-Kent region of Canada West has the highest population of black immigrants and refugees, according to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. In the 1820s, a handful of all-black towns were formed in the United States. William Wilberforce, a former slave who created Wilberforce, was the world’s first community of this type. The Dawn Settlement was established in 1834 by escaped slave Josiah Henson.
- Later, the towns of Wilberforce and the Dawn Settlement were either abandoned or incorporated into other cities.
- The Buxton Mission is still in operation today in the town of North Buxton, Ontario.
- Some claimed it was the most effective means of protecting oneself, while others were concerned that it was contributing to the continuation of inequality.
- Elgin Settlement, located in what is now Chatham, Ontario, was established in 1849.
- The Elgin Settlement as seen on a map from 1860.
Josiah Henson was born a slave in Maryland in 1789, and he and his family finally escaped to Canada in 1830, where they settled. Dawn Township, which later became known as the Dawn Colony, was built by him as an all-Black settlement. Henson made a name for himself as a Methodist preacher in the area, and he believed strongly in the significance of providing work and educational opportunities for black immigrants. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was first published in 1852, was based on the life of Uncle Tom.
A neighborhood leader and “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, Josiah Henson was well-respected in his day. In 1983, Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp honoring his life and services, which was designed by Library and Archives Canada in collaboration with the Canada Post Corporation.
Making Their Mark
Wherever they landed across Canada, black immigrants who arrived to the country via the Underground Railroad made significant contributions to the well-being of their respective communities. Many of them went on to become farmers, raising crops such as wheat, peas, tobacco, and hemp. Others were experienced tradespeople who worked as blacksmiths, shoemakers, and wagon makers, among other things. The majority of black women, like their white counterparts, did not have jobs outside the house. They cared for their children or earned a living as seamstresses and washerwomen in the factories.
Wherever they landed in Canada, black immigrants who arrived to the country via the Underground Railroad made significant contributions to their respective communities. Many went on to become farmers, raising crops such as wheat, peas, tobacco, and hemp, among other things. Those who were skillful artisans, such as blacksmiths, shoemakers, and wagon makers, were among those that survived. The majority of black women, like their white counterparts, did not have outside jobs. Sewing and washing for a living or raising their children were two of their options.
Did You Know?
After meeting certain requirements, black men were granted the right to vote upon their arrival in Canada. Women in Canada were not granted the right to vote in federal elections until 1919, and Aboriginal people were not granted the right to vote until 1960.
In Canada, black men were granted the right to vote after meeting certain criteria upon arrival. Until 1919, women in Canada were denied the right to vote in federal elections, and Aboriginal peoples were denied the right to vote until 1960.
Upper Canada’s John Graves Simcoe signs the Act Against Slavery into law in the year 1793. The British Emancipation Act of 1834 formally abolishes the system of slavery across the British Empire, with the exception of the colonies. The Dawn Settlement is established near Dresden, Canada West, in the year 1842. The Elgin Settlement, Canada West, is established in 1849. The Fugitive Slave Act is passed in the United States of America in 1850. Sandwich, Canada West, is the site of the inaugural publication of The Voice of the Fugitive newspaper in 1851.
The American Civil War began in 1861.
The American Civil War comes to a conclusion in 1865. Josiah Henson passes away in Dresden, Ontario, in the year 1883. – In Washington, D.C., Mary Ann Shadd Cary succumbs to her injuries. What If I Told You?
Settlements in Canada
Written by Dr. Bryan Walls After the War of 1812, American officers stationed at Fort Malden (now Amherstburg, Ontario) brought back tales of a land where fugitive slaves were welcomed, which they shared with their fellow citizens in the United States. The outcome was that large numbers of enslaved freedom seekers were able to make their way to Amhersburg. During a trip of Upper Canada in 1844, the renowned abolitionist Levi Coffin characterized Amherstburg as “the chief terminal place in Canada of the Underground Railroad.” Between 1817 and 1822, the township of Ferry, which would eventually be known as Windsor and Sandwich Township, served as the initial refuge for many of the first significant wave of fugitives to enter Upper Canada.
The Matthew Settlement, Edgar, Mt.
Pleasant, Rochester and Harrow.
This town represented a ray of hope for a better life, a yearning shared by Underground Railroad migrants in colonies across Canada at the time of its founding.
The Refugee Home Society Settlement
My ancestors acquired land from the Refugee Home Society at the Puce River colony, which was then known as the Puce River Settlement. In the middle of the nineteenth century, there was woods and trees on every side. The Refugee Home Society Settlement land proposal was suggested by Henry Bibb, the founder of the “Voice of the Fugitive” newspaper, with assistance from the American Missionary Association, and was eventually approved. Lots were acquired and then resold to refugees at a low price on favorable circumstances.
- John and Jane Walls were worried about their personal safety as well as the protection of their children.
- When it came down to it, the truth was weirder than fiction.
- He is a Baptist, and his life narrative is a little strange.
- After his previous master passed away, his mistress relocated to Canada with her children, bringing this man with her.
- He owns a little farm and has paid off his debts.
- Wheeler, a former Oberlin student, now teaches at Little River Elementary School, which is a model of excellence.
- Because many policies and judgments were incorrect, the Refugee Home Society was unable to achieve the aims set out by its founding members.
A more accurate measure of its effectiveness, however, is the fact that many families have continued to live there today in harmony with their neighbors, and some of these families have roads named after them, such as “Walls Road.”
Underground Railroad Settlements were located throughout Ontario, Canada
During the nineteenth century, small Black communities were firmly established in six areas of Canada West: along the Detroit frontier, that is at Windsor, Sandwich, and Amherstburg and their environs; in Chatham and its surrounding area, where the all-Black settlements of Dawn and Elgin were established; in what was then the central section of the province, particularly London and the Queen’s Bush; and in the Black settlement of Elgin, which was established in the late nineteenth century.” Beyond these concentrations of Black people, tiny groups of Blacks and individual Black Families were established across Canada’s western regions,” says the author.
The Elgin Settlement / The Buxton Mission
Buxton, Ontario, is home to one of the most successful Canadian communities. The Presbyterian minister Reverend William King created the Elgin Settlement, which contains the Buxton Mission. Following the death of his father-in-law, King acquired 14 slaves, to which he later added another before traveling north and freeing them all in the state of Ohio. King was resolved to establish a shelter for African-Americans who were entering Canada. On November 28, 1849, over the opposition of Edwin Larwill, a White radical, and other allies, King established the Elgin Settlement with the help of 15 slaves from the state of Ohio.
- The 360,000 acres of property in Raleigh Township were divided into 2,000 acre lots, which were acquired by new immigrants.
- A church and school building, as well as a post office, were constructed in the year 1850.
- Educating their children was extremely important to the settlers in Elgin, and their Buxton Mission School was significantly superior to the government-run schools.
- All were drawn to the university because of the high level of education provided.
- During the course of the settlement’s growth and development, the settlers overcame the antagonism and prejudice of their White neighbors.
Education, hard effort, and imagination were all important factors in achieving liberation from slavery, just as they are today. Modern-day enslavers such as drugs, hostility, low self-esteem, and violence are just a few of the threats that may rob people of their freedom in today’s modern world.
The story of slavery in Canadian history
The role that Canada played as a safe haven for Americans escaping captivity by way of the Underground Railroad is something that Canadians take great pleasure in when they talk about slavery in the mid-1800s. It’s important to note that this is only part of the tale. Similarly to the United States, this nation has a long history of slavery, which we should never forget – and which we should never forget about. When did slavery first occur in the territory that is today known as Canada? Even before the advent of Europeans, slavery in what is now Canada existed, with certain Indigenous peoples enslaving prisoners of war captured during battle.
- The Europeans, in contrast to Indigenous people, saw enslaved people less as human beings and more as property that could be purchased and sold.
- Around 1732, a man was captured and enslaved by the Fox Indians, also known as the Népissingué.
- Photo courtesy of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s Department of Stamps and Photographs (EST OF-4).
- He will be put to death if he commits a third offense.
- The Code Noir appears to have been utilized as customary law in New France, despite the fact that there is no evidence that it was legally declared in the region.
- Slavery was a regular practice in the region at the time of the invasion.
- 2 The great majority of them were indigenous (often referred to as Panis 3), but Black enslaved people were also there as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, which brought them to the region.
- A significant part of the transatlantic slave trade’s influence on the prevalence and function of slavery in Canadian history may be traced back to this trade.
- European merchants would set sail from Europe for Africa, transporting their wares aboard ships filled with cargo.
- The remaining enslaved people in the Americas would be sold, and the products created by slave labor would be transported back to Europe for resale.
Millions of African men and women were denied their fundamental human rights as a result of this thinking on the part of slavers. 4
A map depicting the route of the transatlantic slave trade. It was through this path that many millions of enslaved individuals were transported to the Americas, and some of those people were subsequently enslaved in Canada. Illustration of the deck plans of a late 18th-century British ship that was used to transport enslaved people from Africa to the Americas, courtesy of the CMHRIllustration of the deck plans of a late 18th-century British ship that was used to transport enslaved people from Africa to the Americas, courtesy of the CMHRI Photo courtesy of the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.
Slavery in the British North American colonies After the British capture of New France in 1763, slavery remained in place throughout the country. The region was later called British North America, and Black enslaved people took the place of Indigenous enslaved people in the process of replacement. When compared to the United States, enslaved persons made up a far smaller share of the population in British North America than they did in the United States. Because of this, some of the more heinous characteristics of slavery in America, such as the hiring of overseers and the horrifying practice of forcibly reproducing enslaved individuals, did not exist in what is now Canada.
- Because of the nature of slavery, its victims were deprived of their fundamental human rights and were subjected to exploitation.
- 5 Enslaved persons who were defiant or difficult were frequently subjected to harsh punishment.
- If I had the desire to hire troops, which is not the case, they would fail me, and Canadians will work for no one but themselves if they are given the opportunity.
- A letter from General James Murray, the British governor of Quebec, in 1763, seeking the employment of enslaved persons as labor.
- A copy of it was published in the Quebec Gazette in May 1785.
- Photo courtesy of the Quebec Gazette Enslaved individuals frequently expressed their opposition to the institution of slavery.
- According to historical records, in 1777, many enslaved persons managed to flee from British North America into the state of Vermont, which had abolished slavery the previous year.
A large number of enslaved persons attempted similar attempts to break free from their bonds.
This is something that has to be recognized in Canada.
Here we’re speaking of enslaved Africans.who were subjected to a variety of physical and psychological abuse while living in these Canadian colonies.
Indentured slavery has a long history in Canadian history.
Individuals who agreed to perform unpaid labor for a specified number of years in exchange for transportation, lodging, and food were considered to be indentured servants under the system of indentured servitude.
Indentured servants were allowed to leave at the conclusion of their contracts, and they were occasionally compensated with land and commodities.
The offspring of enslaved individuals were also considered property, resulting in slavery being passed down through generations.
When an enslaved man called Dimbo Suckles was liberated from slavery on Prince Edward Island in 1796, he did so only on the condition that he serve for his former master as an indentured servant for seven years, from 1796 to 1803.
9 The abolition of slavery in British North America began in the late 1700s.
It was on March 25, 1807, that the slave trade was banned throughout the British Empire, which included British North America, making it illegal to buy or sell human beings and effectively putting an end to much of the transatlantic slave trade.
By that time, certain Canadian provinces had already taken steps to prohibit or eliminate slavery.
In addition to making it unlawful to import enslaved individuals into Upper Canada, the legislation specified that children born to enslaved people would be released when they reached the age of 25.
7On Prince Edward Island, the Assembly declared the total abolition of slavery in 1825, nine years before the Imperial abolition of slavery in 1834.
A great chapter in Canadian history, the narrative of the Underground Railroad ought to be remembered and commemorated.
The fact that slavery existed in our country for more than two hundred years should not be forgotten, either. This narrative was produced based on research performed by Mallory Richard, a former researcher and project coordinator at the Centre for Medical Humanities and Research (CMHR).
- 2Robin Winks, The Blacks in Canada: A History, second edition (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-University Queen’s Press, 1997), 9
- 3Refers to the “Pawnee,” an Indigenous nation that inhabited the basin of the Missouri River. 1Charles G. Roland, “Slavery” in the Oxford Companion to Canadian History, 585
- The Canadian Museum of History’s Virtual Museum of New France has sections on population and slavery (accessed on August 22nd, 2018)
- 4James A. Rawley, The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History (Dexter, MI: Thomson-Shore Inc., 2005), 7
- 5Winks, The Blacks in Canada, 53
- 6Ken Alexander and Avis Glaze, Towards Freedom: The African-Canadian Experience (Toronto: Umbrella Press, 1996), 29
- 7 Slavery is prohibited from being introduced into the country further, and the duration of servitude contracts is limited. Upper Canada’s Statutes, number 33. The Archives of Ontario have a copy of George III, Cap. 7, 1793. Jim Hornby, Black Islanders: Prince Edward Island’s Historical Black Community (Charlottetown: Institute of Island Studies, 1991), p. 8. Jim Hornby, Black Islanders: Prince Edward Island’s Historical Black Community (Charlottetown: Institute of Island Studies, 1991), p. 8.
Explore Black Canadian history
Written by Matthew McRae In the unlikely event that you have never heard of Africville, you are not alone; the terrible narrative of this little Black town in Nova Scotia is not as well known as it ought to be.
Black sleeping car porters
In a movie theater, Viola Desmond refused to give up her seat, and in doing so, she contributed to the civil rights struggle in Canada. She is now shown on the $10 note.
Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the southern United States by providing them with refuge and assistance. It came forth as a result of the convergence of numerous separate covert initiatives. Although the exact dates of its inception are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Civil War ended.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) is often regarded as the first organized group to actively assist escaped enslaved persons. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with Quakers for attempting to “liberate” one of his enslaved servants. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were on the run from slavery. Abolitionist organisations founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitive slaves during the same time period.
What Was the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was first mentioned in 1831, when an enslaved man named Tice Davids managed to escape from Kentucky into Ohio and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his liberation. When a fugitive slave called Jim was apprehended in 1839 in Washington, the press said that the guy confessed his plan to travel north along a “underground railroad to Boston” while under torture. The Vigilance Committees, which were established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard escaped enslaved persons from bounty hunters, rapidly expanded their duties to include guiding enslaved individuals on the run.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman and her fellow fugitives used the following strategies to escape through the Underground Railroad:
How the Underground Railroad Worked
The majority of enslaved persons aided by the Underground Railroad were able to flee to neighboring states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made catching fugitive enslaved persons a lucrative industry in the deep South, and there were fewer hiding places for them as a result of the Act. The majority of fugitive enslaved people were on their own until they reached specific places farther north. The escaping enslaved people were escorted by individuals known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were also used as hiding places throughout the war.
The personnel in charge of running them were referred to as “stationmasters.” There were several well-traveled roads that ran west through Ohio and into Indiana and Iowa.
While some traveled north via Pennsylvania and into New England, or through Detroit on their route to Canada, others chose to travel south. More information may be found at The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.
Fugitive Slave Acts
Those enslaved persons who were assisted by the Underground Railroad were primarily from border states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland (see map below). Fugitive slave capture became a lucrative industry in the deep South after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, and there were fewer hiding places for escaped slaves as a result. Refugee enslaved persons usually had to fend for themselves until they reached specified northern locations. In the runaway enslaved people’s journey, they were escorted by people known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were among the hiding spots.
Stationmasters were the individuals in charge of running them.
Others traveled north via Pennsylvania and into New England, while others passed through Detroit on their route to the Canadian border.
Harriet Tubman was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad during its heyday. When she and two of her brothers fled from a farm in Maryland in 1849, she was given the name Harriet (her married name was Tubman). She was born Araminta Ross, and she was raised as Harriet Tubman. They returned a couple of weeks later, but Tubman fled on her own again shortly after, this time making her way to the state of Pennsylvania. In following years, Tubman returned to the plantation on a number of occasions to rescue family members and other individuals.
Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other fugitive slaves to the Maryland state capital.
In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives who were assisting 400 escapees in their journey to freedom in Canada. Reverend Jermain Loguen, a former fugitive who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees on their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was established in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a trader. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary skills to find work.
Agent,” according to the document.
John Parker was a free Black man living in Ohio who worked as a foundry owner and who used his rowboat to ferry fugitives over the Ohio River.
William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born in New Jersey to runaway slaves parents who fled to Philadelphia as children.
Who Ran the Underground Railroad?
In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives and assisted 400 escapees in their journey to Canada. In addition to helping 1,500 escapees make their way north, former fugitive Reverend Jermain Loguen, who lived near Syracuse, was instrumental in facilitating their escape. The Vigilance Committee was founded in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a businessman. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary labor skills to support themselves.
Agent,” according to the document.
A free Black man in Ohio, John Parker was a foundry owner who used his rowboat to transport fugitives over the Ohio River.
William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born to runaway enslaved parents in New Jersey and raised as a free man in the city of Philadelphia.
Abolitionist John Brown worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and it was at this time that he founded the League of Gileadites, which was dedicated to assisting fleeing enslaved individuals in their journey to Canada. Abolitionist John Brown would go on to play a variety of roles during his life. His most well-known duty was conducting an assault on Harper’s Ferry in order to raise an armed army that would march into the deep south and free enslaved people at gunpoint. Ultimately, Brown’s forces were beaten, and he was executed for treason in 1859.
- The year 1844, he formed a partnership with Vermont schoolteacher Delia Webster, and the two were jailed for assisting an escaped enslaved lady and her young daughter.
- Charles Torrey was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland for assisting an enslaved family in their attempt to flee through Virginia.
- After being apprehended in 1844 while transporting a boatload of freed slaves from the Caribbean to the United States, Massachusetts sea captain Jonathan Walker was sentenced to prison for life.
- John Fairfield of Virginia turned down the opportunity to assist in the rescue of enslaved individuals who had been left behind by their families as they made their way north.
Fairfield’s strategy was to go around the southern United States appearing as a slave broker. He managed to elude capture twice. He died in 1860 in Tennessee, during the American Reconstruction Era.
End of the Line
Operation of the Underground Railroad came to an end in 1863, during the American Civil War. In actuality, its work was shifted aboveground as part of the Union’s overall campaign against the Confederate States of America. Once again, Harriet Tubman made a crucial contribution by organizing intelligence operations and serving as a commanding officer in Union Army efforts to rescue the liberated enslaved people who had been freed. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman led a daring Civil War raid after the Underground Railroad was shut down.
Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad is a book about the Underground Railroad. Fergus Bordewich is a Scottish actor. A Biography of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom Catherine Clinton is the first lady of the United States. Who Exactly Was in Charge of the Underground Railroad? ‘Henry Louis Gates’ is a pseudonym for Henry Louis Gates. The Underground Railroad’s History in New York is a little known fact. The Smithsonian Institution’s magazine. The Underground Railroad’s Dangerous Allure is well documented.
Fugitive Slaves in Canada, African American Community during Slavery, African American Identity: Vol. I, 1500-1865, Primary Resources in U.S. History and Literature, Toolbox Library, National Humanities Center
|8.||CanadaWhen Great Britain abolished slavery in its empire in 1834,thus making all its possessions free territory, thousands of African Americans escaped to the refuge of Canada. The migration was further spurred in 1850 with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act that permitted the capture and return of escaped slaves anywhere in the U.S.—thus the North was no longer a safe haven for escaped slaves. Up to thirty thousand slaves fled to Canada and, as in the northern U.S., many free blacks joined together to provide aid and advice. Henry Bibb and Josiah Henson, themselves escaped slaves (whose narratives are excerpted in this Toolbox), formed the Refugees’ Home Colony in Canada in 1851, and Bibb established the first black newspaper in Canada, theVoice of the Fugitive. In an anti-slavery meeting (ca. 1850), Bibb delivered a welcome statement to fugitive slaves arriving in Canada. Interwoven in his brief statement are the themes of self-determination, self-respect, and, at last, self-ownership.Fugitive settlements in Canada grew steadily, primarily in western Ontario. In 1855 the white abolitionist Benjamin Drew travelled through “Canada West” to interview fugitive slaves who had settled there, publishing theirnarratives inA North-Side View of Slavery: The Refugee(the narratives of John Little and his wife are included in Theme I: ENSLAVEMENT: Runaways). In these selections we read from Drew’s descriptions of seven fugitive communities—from large planned settlements developed by anti-slavery activists, to groups of African Americans in large Ontario cities, to isolated backcountry groups of black farmers—and of the “True Bands” which he describes as “colored persons of both sexes, associated for their own improvement.” Brief excerpts from fifteen of the fugitives’ narratives are included. How did newly free African Americans create communities for themselves in the safe haven of Canada? (8 pages.)Discussion questions|
- What strategies did escaped slaves use to establish communities for themselves in Canada’s safe haven? What kind of assistance did they receive from others (both black and white)? What was the difference between their experiences and those of fugitive slaves who remained in the northern United States
- Was the sense of community among runaway slaves impacted by their slave past, their escape experience, and the dangers to their security, even if they were operating in free territory? Compare and contrast the “True Bands” in Canada with other groups formed by African Americans for the benefit of both communities (see5: Mutual Benefit.) What needs and goals were identified as being of the utmost importance by these groups
- What was the motivation for Benjamin Drew’s publication of The Refugee, and who was the intended audience? To eliminate what rumors, “doubt, and bewilderment” was he attempting to achieve
- What both hampered and aided the attempts of antebellum African Americans to unite their communities
- Comparisons may be made between the migration experiences of these African Americans and those who moved to the northern United States in the early twentieth century (see The Making of African American Identity, Vol. III, Theme II: MIGRATIONS).
|Supplemental SitesCanada: The Promised Land, in In Motion: The African American Migration Experience, from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library)The Black Canadian Experience in Ontario, 1834-1914: Flight, Freedom, Foundation, from Archives of OntarioThe Underground Railroad: Niagara’s Freedom Trail, from the City of St. Catharines, Ontario, CanadaA North-Side View of Slavery: The Refugee, 1856, by Benjamin Drew, full text in Documenting the American South, from the University of North Carolina LibraryInterviews with five fugitive slaves in Canada, in Drew,A North-side View of Slavery, 1856, in From Revolution to Reconstruction, University of Groningen, The NetherlandsAccount of escape to Canadathrough Wisconsin, from the Wisconsin Historical SocietyHistory of Buxton, early African American community in Ontario, Canada, from the Buxton National Historic Site and MuseumOn fugitives in Mexico:Rebellion: John Horse and the Black Seminoles, from J. B. Bird and the Southwest Alternate Media ProjectGeneral Resourcesin African American HistoryLiterature, 1500-1865|
International Underground Railroad Month Story Map (U.S. National Park Service)
Routes taken by freedom seekers are showing certain trends. It is important to note that many persons sought freedom in other countries, such as Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Photo courtesy of the National Park ServiceWhen many people hear about the Underground Railroad, they frequently learn about a highly organized effort that took place between 1830 and 1860. They discover that white abolitionist sympathizers escorted freedom seekers from one site to another until they arrived in freedom in Canada, where they were welcomed with open arms.
- If it hadn’t been for the brave men and women who chose to exercise their autonomy, escape from their enslavers, and claim their freedom, the Underground Railroad would not have been.
- Throughout history, as long as people enslaved others, those seeking freedom escaped to construct a better life for themselves and, if they were able, for their families.
- Rather than simply Quakers and rich white abolitionists, a coalition of free Black communities and certain indigenous tribes banded together to help freedom seekers in their quest for independence.
- In other places where individuals of African heritage were enslaved, some of them made the decision to free themselves.
- Because of repressive regulations that permitted enslavers to apprehend and re-enslave them, some freedom seekers decided to leave the United States when fleeing slavery.
- This is reflected in the Fugitive Slave Clause of the United States Constitution, as well as the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793.
- Furthermore, Federal Marshals have the authority to apprehend freedom seekers in any state, regardless of local laws.
After years of international legal disputes, countries such as Canada enacted legislation that made it illegal for the United States to repatriate freedom seekers who had crossed the international border into their country.
In countries other than the United States, those seeking freedom have faced several obstacles.
Others had to grieve for family members who had been sold away or who had chosen not to flee the country.
Individuals all throughout the world are inspired by the courage and determination of those who managed to flee slavery, just as they were in the United States.
At the time of writing (September 2021), there are no foreign listings on the Network to Freedom’s website.
This narrative map is used in connection with a mapping effort to search out and highlight areas associated with freedom seeking outside of the United States, which is now underway.
The maps that are included in the narrative map are interactive as is the rest of the map. Use the buttons “View full screen” at the bottom of the story map or “Explore Map” on the right side of the map itself to interact with the maps.
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
Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist. This was a station on the Underground Railroad, a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North during the Civil War. Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography. “> During the age of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the North, according to the Underground Railroad Museum.
Although it was not a real railroad, it fulfilled the same function as one: it carried passengers across large distances.
The people who worked for the Underground Railroad were driven by a passion for justice and a desire to see slavery abolished—a drive that was so strong that they risked their lives and jeopardized their own freedom in order to assist enslaved people in escaping from bondage and staying safe while traveling the Underground Railroad.
- As the network expanded, the railroad metaphor became more prevalent.
- In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as part of a larger organization.
- According to historical tales of the railroad, conductors frequently pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways out of plantation prisons and train stations.
- Often, the conductors and passengers traveled 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance in this day and age.
- Patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were usually on their tails, chasing them down.
- Historians who study the railroad, on the other hand, find it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.
- Eric Foner is one of the historians that belongs to this group.
- Despite this, the Underground Railroad was at the center of the abolitionist struggle during the nineteenth century.
- Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist.
- Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography.
- Person who is owned by another person or group of people is referred to as an enslaved person.
Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude). Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to flee to free states.
Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and an abolitionist. As a halt on the Underground Railroad, his home served as an important link in the emancipation of slaves from the South to the United States’ northern climes. Cincinnati Museum Center took the photographs. “> While slavery was in effect, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the northern hemisphere during that time period.
However, even though it was not a genuine railroad, it fulfilled a similar function: it moved people across large distances.
Many of the people who worked on the Underground Railroad were motivated by a desire for justice and a desire to see slavery put out of business—a motivation that was so strong that they were willing to risk their lives and their own freedom in order to aid enslaved individuals in their escape from bondage and to keep them safe along their journey.
- The train metaphor became more and more prevalent as the network increased in size and complexity.
- It was known to as “stations” where the runaways were housed, while “station masters” were those who were in charge of concealing the captives.
- In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as members of a larger organization.
- It has been said that conductors regularly pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways off of plantations during the early days of the railroad.
- Often, the conductors and passengers went 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance for them.
- On a regular basis, patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were hard on their tails.
- Truth and fiction are difficult to distinguish in the minds of historians who study the railroad.
Instead, they argue that much of the action took place openly and in broad daylight.
He went back into the history of the railroad and discovered that, while a massive network existed that kept its actions hidden, the network grew so powerful that it was able to push the myth’s boundaries even farther.
It was the railroad that intensified racial tensions between northern and southern states and hence helped to precipitate the Civil War.
As a halt on the Underground Railroad, his home served as an important link in the emancipation of slaves from the South to the United States’ northern climes.
Civil WarNoun(1860-1865) An American struggle between the Union (north) and the Confederacy (south).
Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to escape to free territories.
Tyson Brown is a member of the National Geographic Society.
The National Geographic Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration of the world’s natural wonders.
Gina Borgia is a member of the National Geographic Society. Jeanna Sullivan is a member of the National Geographic Society.
According to National Geographic Society’s Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society photographer.
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