Spirituals, a form of Christian song of African American origin, contained codes that were used to communicate with each other and help give directions. Some believe Sweet Chariot was a direct reference to the Underground Railroad and sung as a signal for a slave to ready themselves for escape.
What did the Underground Railroad do for slaves?
- 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. “Conductors” guided runaway enslaved people from place to place along the routes.
How did slaves communicate through art?
Ultimately the slaves persevered through crucial times by singing and dancing, slaves would later use the arts to express their hopes of freedom. Slaves sang and danced to “Songs of freedom.” Most of these songs were sung throughout the voyage in the underground railroad.
How was communication used in the Underground Railroad?
Supporters of the Underground Railroad used words railroad conductors employed everyday to create their own code as secret language in order to help slaves escape. Underground Railroad code was also used in songs sung by slaves to communicate among each other without their masters being aware.
What were some of the symbols used to communicate along the Underground Railroad?
The hoot of an owl was used to convey messages. Certain Songs were sung as symbols of Underground Railway members. “All Clear” was conveyed in safe houses using a lighted lantern in a certain place as this symbol. Knocks on doors used a coded series of taps as symbols of identity.
How did the Underground Railroad help enslaved African Americans?
How did the Underground Railroad help enslaved African Americans? It provided a network of escape routes toward the North. In his pamphlet Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, on what did David Walker base his arguments against slavery? They feared that the abolition of slavery would destroy their economy.
How did Harriet Tubman communicate?
Harriet Tubman and other slaves used songs as a strategy to communicate with slaves in their struggle for freedom. Coded songs contained words giving directions on how to escape also known as signal songs or where to meet known as map songs.
How did slaves help each other?
Slaves can help each other in many ways. A slave that can write can forge a document so a slave can go visit a family member that lives far away. Slaves can also help other slaves by working on the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman is a run away slave that was helped by the Underground Railroad.
What methods did slaves use to escape?
Freedom seekers used several means to escape slavery. Most often they traveled by land on foot, horse, or wagon under the protection of darkness. Drivers concealed self-liberators in false compartments built into their wagons, or hid them under loads of produce. Sometimes, fleeing slaves traveled by train.
What code words were used in the Underground Railroad?
The code words often used on the Underground Railroad were: “ tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who helped the slaves connect to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in
How did slaves learn how do you speak English?
So when slaves arrived in the U.S., they picked up English words from their masters and then organized those words based on the grammar they already knew.
What is the Tut alphabet?
Tut is a form of English invented in the 18th century by black slaves in the southern states of America. It was used to help them learn to read and write at a time when literacy was banned among slaves, and also as a secret language. Each letter is replaced by a word beginning with the sound of the letter.
Did slaves create their own language?
Slaves were challenged not only to learn the languages of their slave owners but to also create a form of speech uniquely their own. Thus, early in their North American experience, newly arrived slaves began to lay the foundation of a linguistic combination that would eventually be classified as black English.
How did slaves use quilts to communicate?
When slaves made their escape, they used their memory of the quilts as a mnemonic device to guide them safely along their journey, according to McDaniel. The seamstress would then hang a quilt with a wagon wheel pattern. This pattern told slaves to pack their belongings because they were about to go on a long journey.
What does the code word liberty lines mean?
Other code words for slaves included “freight,” “passengers,” “parcels,” and “bundles.” Liberty Lines – The routes followed by slaves to freedom were called “liberty lines” or “freedom trails.” Routes were kept secret and seldom discussed by slaves even after their escape.
What was the Underground Railroad password?
Spin the ring clockwise or counter-clockwise to line up letters along the ring with the red arrow at the top, then press the center button to input a letter. The password for this lock is RAILROAD, which was indicated by the clues on the marked seals along the trail.
Underground Railroad Secret Codes : Harriet Tubman
It was just a year ago that Time magazine referred to Colson Whitehead as “America’s Storyteller” on the cover of the magazine. It was a recognition not only of the extraordinary success of his 2016 novel, The Underground Railroad, which was nominated for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for literature, but also of his wider cultural influence. The Underground Railroad, like Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, is a work of historical fiction that has reverberated powerfully throughout the years, shedding light on the origins of contemporary American discontent.
It solidified Whitehead’s literary status and, last month, earned him his second Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
In addition to William Faulkner and John Updike, he is one of only a few writers to have received this honor.
My question is how he is handling all of the attention and expectation that has been heaped upon him.
- He lives in East Hampton, Long Island, with his wife, Julie Barer, who works as a literary agent, and their two children, a 15-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son, in their second home.
- “In terms of the psychological aspect of it, the first few weeks were the worst.” Then you get used to it to a certain extent and begin to make adjustments to your environment.
- This is still a very insecure situation,” says the author.
- Speaking with a novelist whose most recent narratives explore America’s racist history and the long shadow cast by that history is, I think, an interesting time to be alive at the moment.
- “Well, as I’ve been writing about police brutality for the past couple of years, I’ve also had to deal with these periodic conversations about police brutality in my daily life as well.
- To an extent, this has been my life for the past several decades, but especially over the last few decades.
- It was difficult not to see the police killings as part of a continuum of embedded, and often violently expressed, racial injustice that has defined America more than any other single issue while rereading both of his recent novels.
New York City, 2017.
Getty Images photo taken by Patrick McMullan While visiting his sister’s home in 2011, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a white neighborhood watch member who perceived his presence as suspicious, if not downright threatening.
Ultimately, his killer was found not guilty of second-degree murder due to the fact that he defended himself.
What role does Whitehead see in the protests as a first sign that people have had enough, but also that real change will come as a result of their ferocity?
As someone pointed out on the internet, ‘when was the last time 50 states in the United States agreed on anything?'” This sets a clear precedent, no doubt about it.
Given that we’ve done a pretty good job of screwing up, it’s probably best if you don’t listen to us very much.
The hope is that it will translate into a better outcome in the November elections than we had four years ago.” He appears to be putting forth an effort to be optimistic, in my opinion.
“I have to admit that I’m optimistic.
To keep my sanity and the futures of my children, I have to believe that this will not happen.
The author goes on to say that under Trump, “any kind of decency norm has been ripped to shreds.” Moreover, I believe that many of us are attempting to reclaim our sanity.
Despite the fact that they are no longer in business, Trump is also a lunatic, and who knows what he will attempt next.
According to the same formula as its predecessor, The Nickel Boysis a work of fiction based on fact; in this case, the accounts of survivors of the Dozier School for Boys in Florida, which was established in 1900 and closed down in 2011 amid allegations of long-term abuse, including torture and murder.
It is a narrative, according to Whitehead, “about how strong people get away with hurting the vulnerable and are never held accountable.” Significantly, the tale develops against a backdrop of the southern civil rights demonstrations of the early-to-mid-1960s, which appear almost impossibly remote to the two characters, Elwood and Turner, whose lives have been robbed of freedom and optimism.
“There were abusers in the Dozier School,” Whitehead says, “but there was also a system in which everyone in positions of authority turned a blind eye to what was happening.” The Florida government did not conduct a thorough investigation, and neither the dishonest superintendent nor the corrupt director were fired as a result.
- We have the police killings, and we also have a really silly leader who is entirely shameless.
- With a mismanaged epidemic, a militarized reaction to nonviolent protests, and tremendous corruption taking place behind the scenes, we are in a bad situation.
- He grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the third of four children born to Arch Colson Chipp Whitehead, the second of whom was a somewhat younger brother, and the third of which was a slightly older sister.
- “The primary school we went to required us to wear coats and ties, so we did,” Whitehead writes in his 2009 novel, Sag Harbor, which he subsequently called as “more humble and intimate” than his earlier works.
- After all, why would black people dress in such a manner?
- Le Guin, Stan Lee, and Stephen King.
- In his own words, “My father was a little bit of an alcoholic and was rather temperamental.” “His personality was like the weather in the house,” says the author of the novel.
- While not nearly as intense as his father’s pessimism, Whitehead appears to have inherited some of it.
- Despite his relatively privileged upbringing (private school, vacations in Sag Harbour in the Hamptons), Whitehead has unavoidably witnessed firsthand America’s casually racist police, but he dismisses it as a minor inconvenience that isn’t worth discussing.
- The experience of white law enforcement has been a part of my life since I was a youngster, and it was shared by my parents and grandparents.” Does the prospect of such a scenario cause him to doubt the ability of fiction to effect real change?
According to the law, the individuals who could be touched by a piece of art and then be further persuaded to implement some legislation are not typically the people who read or listen to music.” While art may uplift and nourish and revitalize individuals on a personal level, it has been a long time since the novel has held such a prominent place in American society in terms of law.
My first question is to find out how he got into it in the first place.
So I took it all in, and then when I began going to clubs like CBGB and Irving Plaza, I was seeing bands like Sonic Youth, the Fall, Butthole Surfers, and Big Black.” As of the time of my phone conversation, he was still listening to music from the 1980s, and he said that he had been doing so just before I phoned.
The musician admits that it’s “a little strange,” but adds, “well, perhaps new wave will never go away and people will still be playing awful synth-pop 50 years from now.” “Would be fantastic if you could.” His latest work, a crime fiction set in Harlem, has just been completed, according to Whitehead.
- I do get the impression that writing “eight nice pages over five days” is sufficient.
- “To be honest, I didn’t do any writing for the first six weeks.
- Once this occurred to me, it was really difficult to get back into the swing of things, even for an hour or two a day.
- What if I was struck down by a pandemic or a bolt of lightning, is how I approach the situation.
- In 2011, after publishing four very different books, including his highly praised first, The Intuitionists, Whitehead decided to write a pandemic novel, which he titledZone One, which was released in 2012.
- I wonder whether he would have written a totally different book if he had known what he knows now back then.
“Well, to take a joke that was going around on Twitter a few months ago, I really didn’t realize how much toilet paper would be an issue in the apocalypse until it happened to me.” Consequently, the answer is yes; I would have certainly made it more humdrum and dull than I did.” Another round of laughter follows, followed by a moment of contemplation.
- Another example is the absurdity of coughing in someone’s face to make fun of them since they are wearing a mask but you are not.” He lets out a long, sighing sighing sighing The type of illogical stuff that, as a writer, you couldn’t possibly come up with on your own.
- And that is something we will continue to do forever.” What makes him think he’s right about this?
- ” That is something I don’t believe will alter much in the foreseeable future, unfortunately.
- After everything is said and done, The Nickel Boys is a cautiously redemptive novel, a survivor’s narrative, despite stretches of bleak, almost gothic terror.
With considerable consideration, he responds, “During the last two weeks of writing The Nickel Boys, I was feeling quite fatigued and dejected.” It was a fresh experience for me to learn that.” However, I did not experience the same level of difficulty as others who were involved in the Underground Railroad.
- My notion that put them on their path had come to fruition two years previously, and now it was drawing to a close.” After finishing the book on the 4th of July weekend in 2018, I just shut off Microsoft Word and turned on XCOM, and that was the end of the story.
- Simply put, I was exhausted.
- “The guilty are spared punishment,” the sign stated.
- In spite of this, “the remaining third of the book is actually about everything else that is not in those two lines: what do you do with it?” he writes.
Do you have a plan for dealing with this information? “What is it that makes a life?” you might wonder. Colson Whitehead has emerged as America’s storyteller for these dangerous and volatile times as a result of his efforts to address those concerns.
|Agent||Coordinator, who plotted courses of escape and made contacts.|
|Baggage||Fugitive slaves carried by Underground Railroad workers.|
|Bundles of wood||Fugitives that were expected.|
|Conductor||Person who directly transported slaves|
|Drinking Gourd||Big Dipper and the North Star|
|Flying bondsmen||The number of escaping slaves|
|Forwarding||Taking slaves from station to station|
|Freedom train||The Underground Railroad|
|French leave||Sudden departure|
|Gospel train||The Underground Railroad|
|Stockholder||Those who donated money, food, clothing.|
|Load of potatoes||Escaping slaves hidden under farm produce in a wagon|
|Operator||Person who helped freedom seekers as a conductor or agent|
|Parcel||Fugitives that were expected|
|Patter roller||Bounty hunter hired to capture slaves|
|Preachers||Leaders of and spokespersons for the Underground Railroad|
|River Jordan||Ohio River|
|Shepherds||People who encouraged slaves to escape and escorted them|
|Station||Place of safety and temporary refuge, a safe house|
|Station master||Keeper or owner of a safe house|
When Colson Whitehead was featured on the cover of Time magazine a year ago, the magazine referred to him simply as “America’s Storyteller”. His extraordinary success with his 2016 novel, The Underground Railroad, which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for literature, was recognized, as was his wider cultural impact. The Underground Railroad, like Toni Morrison’s novelBeloved, is a work of historical fiction that has reverberated powerfully throughout the years, shedding light on the origins of contemporary American discontent.
- It solidified Whitehead’s literary status and, last month, earned him his second Pulitzer Prize, despite being leaner and sparser than its predecessor and set in more recent times.
- The description “America’s Storyteller” seems even more appropriate in this context.
- “It’s all very abstract,” he says.
- He lives in East Hampton, Long Island, with his wife, Julie Barer, who works as a literary agent, and their two children, a 15-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son.
- “In terms of the psychological aspect of it, the first few weeks were the most difficult.
- However, here we are, 12 weeks later, and we are still adjusting to our new reality.
- Speaking with a novelist whose most recent narratives explore America’s racist history and the long shadow cast by that history is, I believe, an interesting time.
- It’s still going on, and it will continue for a long time.” He doesn’t appear to be very optimistic about the future.
- I suppose that has been my life for the most part, but especially the last couple of years.
This isn’t just a history lesson, not while we’re still arguing that black lives matter, and not while Elwood and Turner are more likely to remind us of Trayvon Martin than Huckleberry Finn, as Sara Collins writes in her introduction to the British paperback edition of The Nickel Boys, which she wrote before the violent convulsions of the past few months.
- Image courtesy of Patrick McMullan/Getty Images While visiting his sister’s home in 2011, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a white neighborhood watch member who perceived his presence as suspicious, if not downright threatening.
- His assailant was later found not guilty of second-degree murder on the grounds of self-defense.
- Is Whitehead of the opinion that the intensity of the protests may be the first sign that people have had enough, but also that real change is on the way?
- “And, as someone pointed out on the internet, when was the last time 50 states in the United States agreed on something?” As a result, there is undoubtedly a precedent.
- We’ve done a very excellent job of mucking things up, so the less you pay attention to us, the better off you’ll be.
- Hopefully, it will convert into a better outcome in the November election than the one we experienced four years ago.” It appears to me that he is forcing himself to be positive.
- “I have to admit that I am hopeful.
So, for the sake of my own sanity and the futures of my children, I have to believe that it will not happen.
“Any kind of decency-based norm has been ripped to shreds under Trump,” he goes on to say.
Hopefully, we will be able to accomplish this as a group, but the Republicans still have six months left to wreak havoc – or possibly four years and six months.
Also, Trump is a lunatic, and who knows what he will attempt next?
In 2012, a forensic investigation of the site revealed 55 unmarked graves that had previously gone unnoticed.
The narrative unfolds against the backdrop of the southern civil rights protests of the early-to-mid-1960s, which seem almost impossibly distant to the two protagonists, Elwood and Turner, whose lives have been robbed of freedom and hope.
“You had the actual abusers at the Dozier School,” Whitehead continues, “but you also had a system where everyone in positions of power looked the other way.” The Florida government failed to conduct a thorough investigation and failed to dismiss the corrupt superintendent or corrupt director.
- We have the police killings, and we also have a completely absurd leader who is completely shameless.
- Behind the scenes, we have a botched pandemic, a militarized response to peaceful protests, and unheard-of levels of corruption.
- He grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side as the third of four children.
- “The elementary school we went to required us to wear jackets and ties, so we did.,” Whitehead writes in his 2009 novel, Sag Harbor, which he later described as “more modest and personal” than his other books.
- The United Nations is half a mile away.
- Le Guin, Stan Lee, and Stephen King.
- His solitariness was put into starker relief six years later when he spoke to Timemagazine, explaining that he and his brother, who died in 2018, would retreat into comic books, video games, and fantasy fiction to escape their father’s alcohol-fueled mood swings.
“His personality was like the weather in the house,” says the narrator.
While not quite as extreme as his father’s pessimism, Whitehead, it appears, has inherited some of it.
“However, you must maintain hope and believe that things will improve, otherwise what’s the point of continuing?” he says at one point.
Every black person has had the experience of getting picked up by the police, to the point that it’s not even that fascinating to talk about it.
“Politicians don’t read,” he says categorically, despite the fact that President Barack Obama, to his credit, passionately backed The Underground Railroad.
On an interpersonal level, art raises, nourishes, and revitalizes; nevertheless, in terms of law, it has been a long time since the novel has had such a significant place in American society.” Whitehead grew up listening to post-punk and new-wave music.
The Gang of Four and Liquid Liquid were always playing when my sister came home.
So I took it all in and then, when I started going to clubs like CBGB and Irving Plaza, I was seeing bands like Sonic Youth, the Fall, Butthole Surfers, and Big Black.” He claims that he still enjoys listening to music from that era, and that he was doing so right before I phoned him.
The musician admits that it’s “a little strange,” but adds, “well, perhaps new wave will never go away and people will be playing awful synth-pop 50 years from now.” “Would be fantastic.” His latest work, a crime fiction set in Harlem, has just been completed, and Whitehead is excited to share it with readers.
- “Eight solid pages over the course of five days,” he tells me, “is sufficient.” Has being placed under lockdown disrupted his routine, or has it perhaps given him more time to write?
- It was imperative that the children were safe and that everyone was in a healthy mental condition.
- It’s not as if the novels are going to write themselves.
- “I’d rather to complete the book than not to finish it.” In 2011, after publishing four very different books, including his highly praised first, The Intuitionists, Whitehead decided to write a pandemic novel, which he titledZone One, which was released in 2013.
- I wonder whether he would have written a totally different book if he had known then what he knows today.
“Well, to take a joke that was going around on Twitter a few months ago, I really didn’t realize how much toilet paper was going to be an issue in the apocalypse until it happened to me.” So the answer is yes, I would have absolutely made it more ordinary and dull than I did.” He laughs for a second time before becoming thoughtful.
- It is also offensive to cough into someone’s face to make fun of them because they are wearing a mask while you are not.” He lets out a long sigh.
- According to human nature, the powerful tend to tyrannize and harass those who are weak.
- In fact, I believe we will continue to treat one other in the manner portrayed in The Nickel Boys for the rest of time.” Despite this, despite stretches of bleak, almost gothic terror, The Nickel Boys is a cautiously redemptive narrative, a survivor’s story.
- When asked about his feelings during the last two weeks of writing The Nickel Boys, he admits that he was “exhausted and sad.” “That was something I had never heard of before.
- Elwood and Turner were two of my favorite characters.
- I recall that, after finishing the book during the Fourth of July weekend in 2018, I just shut off Microsoft Word and went up XCOM.
- I’ve been vegging out.
- “The guilty are spared punishment,” it said.
- “However,” he continues, “the latter third of the book is actually about all the other material that is not in those two lines: what do you do with it?” How do you deal with the reality of your situation?
And, how do you go about making a life?” Colson Whitehead has emerged as America’s storyteller during these dangerous and chaotic times as a result of his attempts to address those concerns.
Quilts of the Underground Railroad – Wikipedia
Describes a contentious concept that quilts were used to relay information to African slaves about how they may escape to freedom via the Underground Railroad, as described in Quilts of the Underground Railroad. A lot of historians have expressed their disagreement with this claim.
Books that emphasize quilt use
In her book, Stitched from the Soul (1990), Gladys-Marie Fry asserted that quilts were used to communicate safe houses and other information about the Underground Railroad, which was a network of “conductors,” meeting places, and safe houses that ran through the United States and into Canada, facilitating the emancipation of African Americans from slavery and into freedom. Historiologists, on the other hand, are divided on whether quilts and songs were used to spread information about the Underground Railroad.
Ozella McDaniel Williams provided the inspiration for the book, telling Tobin that her family had handed down a narrative for centuries about how quilt designs such as wagon wheels, log homes, and wrenches were used to help slaves travel the Underground Railroad.
It began with a monkey wrench, which signified the need to gather all of the essential goods and equipment, and concluded with a star, which signified the need to travel north.
Tobin noted in a 2007 Time magazine article: “It’s distressing to be attacked while also being denied the opportunity to commemorate this remarkable oral history of one family’s experience.” I have no clue whether or not it is totally valid, but it seems sense given the quantity of research we conducted.” “I believe there has been a tremendous lot of misunderstanding concerning the code,” Dobard stated.
When Jackie and I wrote the book, we set out to suggest that it was a collection of directions.
“In Africa, there is a long-standing history of secret organizations controlling the coding of information.
In order to acquire the deeper meaning of symbols, you must first demonstrate your merit of knowing these higher meanings by not disclosing them to others,” she explained. The foreword of Hidden in Plain View was written by Wahlman.
Giles Wright, a specialist on the Underground Railroad, claims that the book is based on legend that has not been corroborated by any reliable sources. He also stated that there are no quilting codes mentioned in any memoirs, diaries, or Works Progress Administration interviews done in the 1930s with ex-slaves that have been discovered. Quilt historians Kris Driessen, Barbara Brackman, and Kimberly Wulfert do not subscribe to the premise that quilts were used to transmit messages about the Underground Railroad, as claimed by certain historians.
- Well-known historians did not feel that the idea was correct and could not see any relationship between Douglass and this viewpoint.
- Blight “At some time, the true stories of fugitive slave escape, as well as the far bigger story of those slaves who were never able to flee, must take precedence over fiction as a primary focus of educational endeavors.
- Despite this, there are museums, schools, and other organizations who think the narrative is factual.
- Using the quilts as an example, he compares the code to the phrase in ” Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” in which slaves intended fleeing but their owners believed they were going to die.
- Cecelia Pedescleaux is a quilt scholar and quilter who specializes on the Underground Railroad.
- Celeste-Marie Bernier and Hannah Durkin are two of the most talented people in the world (2016). Across the African Diaspora, artists have created artworks that depict slavery. pp. 76–77, published by Oxford University Press. Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard (ISBN 978-1-78138-267-7) are the authors (1999). Quilts and the Underground Railroad have a secret history that has been kept hidden in plain sight. Doubleday Publishing Company, New York, N.Y., ISBN 0-385-49137-9
- Abc Stacie Stukin is a woman who lives in the United States (2007-04-03). “Unraveling the Myth of Quilts and the Underground Railroad” is a book on quilts and the Underground Railroad. TIME. The original version of this article was published on April 29, 2007. Obtainable on January 23, 2013
- Abcdef Noam Cohen is a writer and musician from New York City (January 23, 2007). Douglass Tribute is a work in which Slave Folklore and Fact collide. The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City. ISSN0362-4331. Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman (Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman, eds) (September 5, 2016). Chester, New York, was a stop on the Underground Railroad in the Adirondacks. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-62585-701-9
- Reynolds, Glenn (2007). “quilts.” Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-62585-701-9
- Reynolds, Glenn (2007). “quilts.” According to Junius P. Rodriguez (ed.). The Slave Resistance and Rebellion Encyclopedia is a resource for those interested in the history of slave resistance and rebellion. Pages 407–409 in Greenwood Publishing Group’s book. 978-0-313-33273-9
- ISBN 978-0-313-33273-9 Andrew Bartholomew is a writer and poet (February 1, 2007). “Prof. Douglass debunks the Douglass myth.” The Yale Daily News is a daily newspaper published by Yale University. Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman (Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman, 2017)
- Retrieved on March 19, 2017. (September 5, 2016). Chester, New York, was a stop on the Underground Railroad in the Adirondacks. Publisher: Arcadia Publishing Incorporated, p. 127, ISBN: 978-1-62585-701-9
- ISBN: 978-1-62585-701-9 Barbara Brackman is a writer and editor who lives in New York City (November 5, 2010). FactsFabrications-Unraveling the History of QuiltsSlavery: 8 Projects – 20 Blocks – First-Person AccountsFactsFabrications-Unraveling the History of QuiltsSlavery: 8 Projects – 20 Blocks – First-Person Accounts C T Publishing Inc., p. 7, ISBN 978-1-60705-386-6
- AbFergus M. Bordewich, p. 7, ISBN 978-1-60705-386-6
- (February 2, 2007). “History’s Tangled Threads” (History’s Tangled Threads). The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City. ISSN0362-4331. 30 April 2012
- Retrieved 30 April 2012
- Diane Cole is a woman who works in the fashion industry (2012). “Were Quilts Used as Underground Railroad Maps? – US News and World Report” (Were Quilts Used as Underground Railroad Maps?) usnews.com. 30th of April, 2012
- Brackman, Barbara (1997)Quilts from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Notes, and Diary Entries, ISBN1-57120-033-9
- Burns, Eleanor
- Sue Bouchard (1997)Quilts from the Civil War: Nine Projects, Historic Notes, and Diary Entries, ISBN1-57120-033-9 (2003). The Underground Railroad Sampler is a collection of short stories about the Underground Railroad. Isbn 978-1-891776-13-7
- Cord, Xenia (Quilt in a Day) (March 2006). “The Underground Railroad” is a term that refers to a network of tunnels and passageways that connect cities to the rest of the world. Patchwork is really popular right now.14 (3). Fellner, Leigh (2010) “Betsy Ross redux: The quilt code.”
- Frazier, Harriet C. (2012) “Betsy Ross redux: The quilt code” (1 July 2004). Runaway and freed Missouri slaves, as well as those who assisted them, were documented between 1763 and 1865. McFarland & Company, Inc., p. 168. ISBN 978-0-7864-1829-9. Rice, Kym S., et al., eds., retrieved on April 30, 2012. (2011). 978-0-313-34944-7 (World of a Slave: A-I). ABC-CLIO, p. 390. ISBN 978-0-313-34944-7 (World of a Slave: A-I). Turner, Patricia A., et al., eds., retrieved 30 April 2012. (2009). The book Crafted Lives: Stories and Studies of African American Quilters by Shelley Zegart is available on Amazon (2008) Shelley Zegart debunks the myth of the African American Quilt Scholarship and the technique behind it. Pages 48–56 in Selvedge, (ISSN 1742-254X) Issue 21 (Jan/Feb 2008), published by the University of California Press.
Music and the Underground Railroad
Dyan Branstetter contributed to this article. What role did music play in the Underground Railroad’s history? What methods did slaves use to communicate forbidden emotions and desires like as wrath, resentment, or a wish for liberty? This brief course, which was presented in partnership with the music instructor at my school, focused on answering the most important questions. Our objective was to attempt to include the arts into the ordinary classroom setting, and we came up with the idea for the Underground Railroad after reading a guided reading book about the subject.
Historically significant, the Underground Railroad is a fascinating element of our past, and who would have expected that music played such a significant role in it? I can’t even image trying to teach it without it.
- By having a fast review conversation, you can activate past knowledge about the Underground Railroad. Provide a brief introduction to the words of the song Harriet Tubman by Walter Robinson (Lyrics:)
- Teach the song “Harriet Tubman” to your students. Organize for pupils to perform the song.
Session 2: (During music class)
- Become familiar with the lyrics and melody to four spirituals. Each spiritual must be performed. Pay attention to a genuine example of each spiritual practice.
Session 3: (During Language Arts class)
Display a list of the following terms to your students:
- Station master
- Freedom train
- Gospel train
- Review each spiritual by listening to it again while reading the lyrics
- Ask students to brainstorm to determine what the terms have in common before reading them aloud. The Underground Railroad has nothing to do with railroads, as far as I know. Explain that many of the terms used by slaves in their communication were codes, and that they were utilized in order for the slave owners to not comprehend their strategy for escaping. Slaves were not permitted to speak, but they were permitted to sing, and as a result, they communicated a great deal via music. Dividing the kids into four groups will help. Hand out one recording sheet and the words to one of the spirituals to each of the groups. During group discussions, participants should consider the lyrics and determine which phrases may be coded and what hidden message the music may contain. Collect the lyrics and recording sheets so that they may be discussed at the next session.
Session 4: (During Language Arts class)
- Students should return to the same group they were in during the last session. Distribution of lyrics and recording sheets should be repeated. Have each group go over everything they spoke about at the last session again. Each group should be asked to disclose the code words or secret messages they discovered. The audio of the spiritual should be played for the class. Discuss the music and determine whether or not it was effective in conveying the message. Is there a difference between listening and not listening? This technique should be repeated for the remaining three groups.
Students can produce coded messages and offer an interpretation as an extension of their learning. Aside from that, students might look at original materials that were linked to songs about slavery. An extra unit plan is available here, which was the source of our important question and lesson outline:.
- Walter Robinson () composed the lyrics and recorded the song “Harriet Tubman.” 1 packet of spiritual lyrics per student OR 1 recording sheet per group for the coded message activity
Here is a link to a downloadable lesson plan as well as student recording sheets:
Music and The Underground Railroad
Dyan is a fifth grade teacher at a public school district in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with more than 16 years of experience in the classroom. She holds a Master’s degree in Science Education and has a strong interest in dance and music, and she seeks to include the arts into the classroom whenever feasible. Dr. Dyan has a history in teaching advanced learners, and she is passionate about utilizing project-based learning to assist her students in developing 21st century learning skills and mastering the Pennsylvania State Core Standards.
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Singing in Slavery: Songs of Survival, Songs of Freedom
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: PBS has worked with historians and academics to bring fans the Mercy Street Revealed blog. Click here to read more. Originally from New York City, Kenyatta D. Berry is an experienced genealogist and lawyer with more than 15 years of expertise conducting genealogical research and writing. During law school, she spent time at the State Library of Michigan in Lansing, where she began her genealogy research. Berry, a native of Detroit, received his education at Bates Academy, Cass Technical High School, Michigan State University, and the Thomas M.
- She also co-hosts the PBS program Genealogy Roadshow.
- After escaping slavery, Charlotte Jenkins, a former slave who has become an activist, arrives in Alexandria to assist the city’s burgeoning population of “contrabands” with the transition from slavery to freedom.
- As a result of her collaboration with Samuel Diggs and Mary Phinney, Charlotte is able to create a small pox quarantine tent for ill contraband.
- It all started with the abducted and transported over the Atlantic during the Middle Passage, which was a period of slavery in Africa.
- They were able to track out family, countrymen, and ladies by singing songs about them.
- “They regularly sing, the men and women responding to one another, but they cannot describe what the theme of their songs is.”1 Despite the fact that they were unable to comprehend what the Africans were saying, the crew was able to detect the melancholy tone of their songs.
- Throughout the course of slavery, songs were passed down from generation to generation.
In the Atlantic Monthly, Col.
Higginson of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment acknowledged the phrase “Negro Spiritual,” which he coined (June 1867).
3 Former slaves were able to negotiate the gray area between slavery and freedom through the use of song at contraband camps.
The healing balm of Gilead may restore health to those who have been wounded; it can restore health to those who have been sinfully afflicted.
Harriet Tubman is seated, her hands resting on the back of a chair.
Harriet Tubman was known as the “Moses of her people” and was the conductor of the Underground Railroad.
Tubman, on the other hand, was able to establish a network of stations, whose operators assisted in guiding runaway slaves northward to freedom.
While it has not been proved, it is thought that Harriett Tubman used this traditional Negro Spiritual to warn slaves to jump into the water in order to disguise their smell from the slavecatching dogs on their track during the Underground Railroad.
Children, wade in the water, wade in the water, they say. God is going to cause difficulties in the water if you don’t wade in it— Kenyatta D. Berry
- The following works are recommended: Marcus Rediker, “The Slave Ship: A Human History” (New York: Penquin, 2007), 282
- Sowande M. Mustakeem, “Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Illness in the Middle Passage” (Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2016), 120
- Wesley, Charles H., and Patricia W. Romero, “Negro Americans in the Civil War: From Slavery to Publishers Co. of New York published this book in 1967.
A genealogist and lawyer with over 15 years of expertise in genealogical research and writing, Kenyatta D. Berry is an expert in her field. During law school, she spent time at the State Library of Michigan in Lansing, where she began her genealogy research. Berry, a native of Detroit, received his education at Bates Academy, Cass Technical High School, Michigan State University, and the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, among other institutions. She also co-hosts the PBS program Genealogy Roadshow.
Will the Circle Be Unbroken?: Songs of the Underground Railroad
Music served as the Underground Railroad’s coded communication system. The Underground Railroad, as a means of achieving freedom, was laden with risk. What was the best technique for escaping slaves to figure out which way to go? How could individuals communicate across hundreds of kilometers when the consequences of coming out of hiding may be fatal were unknown. A large part of the solution may be found in music. African slaves incorporated songs into their daily routines. Tradition introduced from Africa by the first slaves, singing was used to encourage and motivate people, as well as communicate their ideals and solidarity with one another, and was performed at festivals and other events.
- While slaves were escaping to freedom in the Northern United States and Canada during the time of the Underground Railroad, spirituals were coded with concealed instructions concerning maps, navigational methods, and the appropriate time to leave.
- Harriet Tubman, affectionately referred to as “Moses,” was well-known for using song to connect with visitors.
- Many others, on the other hand, consider them to be part of the rich oral legacy of African American folk songs that continues to influence contemporary American music.
- It is derived from the Bible that one should travel “down” to Egypt; the Old Testament acknowledges the Nile Valley as being lower than Jerusalem and the Promised Land; as a result, one should go “down” to Egypt, whereas one should go “up” away from Egypt.
- Listen to the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers sing “Go Down Moses” (Go Down Moses).
- There is a reference to the beginning of spring, which was the finest time to set off on the lengthy trek to the North.
- Travelers had a guide in the night sky that led them in the direction of freedom by following the path of the Big Dipper to the north star.
On the surface, the phrase “steal away to Jesus” meant to die and go to paradise, but it may also refer to a song in which the person who is singing it is intending to flee.
The song “Steal Away” represented the possibility of a better life for slaves, whether in freedom or in paradise.
If they were concerned that they were being followed, they might take cover in the water, which would keep bloodhounds off their trail.
Hear the Golden Gate Quartet perform “Wade in the Water” on their YouTube channel.
If a slave in the South heard this song, he or she would know it was time to start preparing for their escape.
Listen to Marion Williams perform “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” on the piano. Investigate the Sacred Music and Musicians of the African Diaspora. Sheet Music Collections are a type of collection of sheet music that is used to create music.
The Underground Railroad communicated in secret through music. A great deal of peril lay ahead for those seeking freedom through the Underground Railroad. Is it possible to find out which way escaped slaves were heading? How could individuals communicate across hundreds of kilometers when the consequences of coming out of hiding may be fatal were uncertain. Music has a role in the solution. African slaves incorporated songs into their daily routine. Inspire and motivate others through singing, a practice carried over from Africa by the first slaves, who also used music to communicate their ideals and solidarity with one another as well as to mark important occasions.
- While slaves were escaping to freedom in the Northern United States and Canada during the time of the Underground Railroad, spirituals were coded with concealed messages concerning maps, navigational methods, and the right moment to leave.
- Harriet Tubman, affectionately referred to as “Moses,” was well-known for using music to communicate with travelers during the Civil War.
- They are regarded as part of the rich oral legacy of African American folk songs, which continues to influence contemporary American music, by many other people.
- It is derived from the Bible that one should travel “down” to Egypt; the Old Testament acknowledges the Nile Valley as being lower than Jerusalem and the Promised Land; as a result, one should go “down” to Egypt, but one should go “up” to leave Egypt.
- Here’s a recording of “Go Down Moses” by the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers.
- There is a reference to the beginning of spring, which was the finest time to set off on the lengthy trek to the north.
- Travelers might find their way to freedom by following the path of the Big Dipper to the north star, which served as a night sky guide.
The phrase “steal away to Jesus” originally meant “die and go to paradise,” but it might also refer to a song in which the person singing it is intending to flee the country.
To slaves, the song “Steal Away” represented the prospect of a better life, whether it be in freedom or in paradise.
The water would disguise them and keep bloodhounds off their trail if they were under suspicion of being pursued by them.
Hear the Golden Gate Quartet perform “Wade in the Water” on their YouTube channel here.
It was clear to any slave in the southern United States who heard this song that it was time to plan his or her escape.
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is performed by Marion Williams. Investigate Sacred Music and Musicians from the African Diaspora. Collection of Sheet Music
Underground Railroad “Stations” Develop in Iowa
Iowa shares a southern border with Missouri, which was a slave state during the American Civil War. The abolitionist movement (those who desired to abolish slavery) built a system of “stations” in the 1840s and 1850s that could transport runaways from the Mississippi River to Illinois on their route to freedom. Activists from two religious movements, the Congregationalists and the Quakers, played crucial roles in the abolitionist movement. They were also involved in the Underground Railroad’s operations in the state of New York.
- According to one source, there are more than 100 Iowans who are participating in the endeavor.
- The Hitchcock House, located in Cass County near Lewis, is another well-known destination on the Underground Railroad in one form or another.
- George Hitchcock escorted “passengers” to the next destination on his route.
- Several of these locations are now public museums that are available to the general public.
- Individual families also reacted when they were approached for assistance.
- When the Civil War broke out and the Fugitive Slave Law could no longer be enforced in the northern states, a large number of slaves fled into the state and eventually settled there permanently.
- It was determined that segregated schools and discrimination in public accommodations were both unconstitutional in Iowa by the Supreme Court.
Iowa: A Free State Willing to Let Slavery Exist
Slavery has been a contentious topic in the United States since its inception, and it continues to be so today. As new states entered the Union, the early fights did not revolve over slavery in the South but rather its expansion. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 created an east-west line along the southern boundary of Missouri, which would remain in place for the rest of time, separating free and slave settlement. States to the south may legalize slavery, whilst states to the north (with the exception of slave state Missouri) were prohibited from doing so.
The majority of Iowans were ready to allow slavery to continue in the South.
They enacted legislation in an attempt to deter black people from settling in the state.
Iowa did have a tiny community of abolitionists who believed that slavery was a moral wrong that should be abolished everywhere.
This increased the likelihood that Nebraska, which borders Iowa on its western border, would become a slave state. The majority of Iowans were opposed to the idea. The Republican Party has evolved as a staunch opponent of any future expansion of slavery into western areas in the United States.
- $200 Reward: Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847 (Document)
- “Effects of the Fugitive-Slave-Law” Print, 1850 (Image)
- Fugitive Slave Law, 1850 (Document)
- Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847 (Document)
- Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847 (Do
How did runaway slaves rely on the help of abolitionists to escape to freedom?
- Article from the Anti-Slavery Bugle titled “William and Ellen Craft,” published on February 23, 1849 (Document)
- Anti-Slavery Bugle Article titled “Underground Railroad,” published on September 16, 1854 (Document)
- “A Presbyterian Clergyman Suspended for Being Connected with the Underground Railroad” Article published on November 8, 1855 (Document)
- William Maxson Home in West Liberty, Iowa, circa 1890 (Image)
How did some runaway slaves create their own opportunities to escape?
- A newspaper article entitled “The ‘Running of Slaves’ – The Extraordinary Escape of Henry Box Brown” published on June 23, 1849 (Document)
- The Henry “Box” Brown Song and the Engraved Box, published in 1850 (Image, Document)
- “The Resurrection of Henry ‘Box’ Brown at Philadelphia” illustration published in 1850 (Image)
- Robert Smalls: “The Steamer ‘Planter’ and Her Captor,” published on June 14, 1862 (Do
$200 Reward: Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847
- After escaping enslavement, many people depended on northern whites to guide them securely to the northern free states and eventually to Canadian territory. For someone who had previously been forced into slavery, life may be quite perilous. There were incentives for capturing them, as well as adverts such as the one seen below for a prize. More information may be found here.
“Effects of the Fugitive-Slave-Law” Illustration, 1850
- Once freed from slavery, many people looked to northern whites to guide them securely to the northern free states and eventually to Canadian territory. Having previously been in slavery was extremely risky. For their capture, there were awards and marketing, such as the poster seen below, to encourage them. More information may be found at:
Fugitive Slave Law, 1850
- As a result of the Fleeing Slave Law of 1850, it became unlawful for anybody in the northern United States to aid fugitive slaves in their quest for freedom. This statute supplemented the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act with additional clauses addressing runaways, and it imposed even harsher sanctions for interfering with their escape. More information may be found here.
Anti-Slavery Bugle Article – “William and Ellen Craft,” February 23, 1849
- In this article from the abolitionist journal, The Anti-Slavery Bugle, the narrative of Ellen and William Craft’s emancipation from slavery is described in detail. Ellen disguised herself as a male in order to pass as the master, while her husband, William, claimed to be her servant as they made their way out of the building. More information may be found here.
Anti-Slavery Bugle Article – “Underground Railroad,” September 16, 1854
- The Anti-Slavery Bugle article indicates the number of runaway slaves in northern cities in 1854, based on a survey conducted by the organization. This group contained nine slaves from Boone County, Kentucky, who were seeking refuge in the United States. Their captors were said to be on the lookout for them in Cincinnati, and they were found. More information may be found here.
“A Presbyterian Clergyman Suspended for Being Connected with the Underground Railroad” Article, November 8, 1855
- This newspaper story was written in Fayettville, Tennessee, in 1855 and is a good example of historical journalism. When Rev. T. B. McCormick, a priest in Indiana, was suspended for his membership in the Underground Railroad, the article details his ordeal in detail. In the narrative, he is accused of supporting escaped slaves on their way to freedom. More information may be found here.
William Maxson Home in West Liberty, Iowa, 1890
- It was published in the Fayetteville, Tennessee, newspaper in 1855, and is a good example of historical journalism. When Rev. T. B. McCormick, a clergyman in Indiana, was suspended for his membership in the Underground Railroad, the article tells what happened. In the narrative, he is accused of supporting fugitive slaves on their way out of the country. More information may be found at:
“Fugitive Slave Case Was Tried” – A Daily Gate City Article, April 13, 1915
- This story, which was published in the Keokuk, Iowa, newspaper The Daily Gate City in 1915, is about a trial that took place in Burlington in 1850. Buel Daggs, the plaintiff, sought $10,000 in damages as recompense for the services of nine slaves who had fled from Missouri and had worked for him as slaves. More information may be found here.
“The ‘Running of Slaves’ – The Extraordinary Escape of Henry ‘Box’ Brown” Article, June 23, 1849
- It was published in the Keokuk, Iowa newspaper The Daily Gate City in 1915 and is about a trial that took place in Burlington, Iowa, in 1850 and was published in The Daily Gate City. Buel Daggs, the plaintiff, sought $10,000 in damages as recompense for the services of nine slaves who had escaped from Missouri and had been working for him. More information may be found at:
Henry “Box” Brown Song and the Engraved Box, 1850
- Image of the engraving on the box that Henry “Box” Brown built and used to send himself to freedom in Virginia. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. There is a label on the box that says “Right side up with care.” During his first appearance out of the box in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the attached song, Henry “Box” Brown sang a song that is included here. More information may be found here.
“The Resurrection of Henry ‘Box’ Brown at Philadelphia” Illustration, 1850
- Henry “Box” Brown, a slave who escaped from Richmond, Virginia, in a box measuring three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two and a half feet broad, is depicted in a somewhat comical but sympathetic manner in this artwork. In the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society’s administrative offices. More information may be found here.
Robert Smalls: “The Steamer ‘Planter’ and Her Captor,” June 14, 1862
- The escape of Robert Smalls and other members of his family and friends from slavery was chronicled in detail in an article published in Harper’s Weekly. Smalls was an enslaved African American who acquired freedom during and after the American Civil War and went on to work as a ship’s pilot on the high seas. More information may be found here.
“A Bold Stroke for Freedom” Illustration, 1872
- The escape of Robert Smalls and other members of his family and associates from slavery was chronicled in detail in an article published in Harper’s Weekly at the time. In the course of and after the American Civil War, Smalls was able to obtain his freedom and work as a ship’s pilot on the high seas. He was born into slavery. More information may be found at:
- Harriet Tubman Day is observed annually on March 31. The statement issued by the State of Delaware on the observance of Harriet Ross Tubman Day on March 10, 2017 may be seen on the website. Governor John Carney and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long both signed the statement. Harriet Tubman – A Guide to Online Resources A wide range of material linked with Harriet Tubman may be found in these digital collections from the Library of Congress, which include manuscripts, pictures, and publications. It is the goal of this guide to consolidate connections to digital materials about Harriet Tubman that are available throughout the Library of Congress website. Scenes from Harriet Tubman’s Life and Times The website, which is accessible through the Digital Public Library of America, contains portions from the novel Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, written by Sarah Bradford in 1869 and published by the American Library Association.
- Maryland’s Pathways to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in the State of Maryland On this page, you can find primary materials pertaining to Maryland and the Underground Railroad. Information from three former slaves, Samuel Green, Phoebe Myers, and others is included in this collection. “The Underground Railroad: A Secret History” by Eric Foner is a book on the history of the Underground Railroad. The author of this piece from The Atlantic discusses the “secret history” of the Underground Railroad, which he believes reveals that the network was not nearly as secretive as many people believe. Emancipation of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery According to “Documenting the American South,” this webpage focuses on how slaves William and Ellen Craft escaped from Georgia and sought asylum and freedom in the United States’ northern states.
Iowa Core Social Studies Standards (8th Grade)
The content anchor requirements for Iowa Core Social Studies that are most accurately reflected in this source collection are listed below. The subject requirements that have been implemented to this set are appropriate for middle school pupils and cover the major areas that make up social studies for eighth grade students in the United States.
- S.8.13.Explain the rights and obligations of people, political parties, and the media in the context of a range of governmental and nonprofit organizations and institutions. (Skills for the twenty-first century)
- SS.8.19.Explain how immigration and migration were influenced by push and pull influences in early American history. SS.8.21.Examine the relationships and linkages between early American historical events and developments in the context of wider historical settings
- In your explanation of how and why prevalent social, cultural, and political viewpoints altered over early American history, please include the following information: SS.8.23.Explain the numerous causes, impacts, and changes that occurred in early American history
- And The Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, Washington’s Farewell Address, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty with France, the Monroe Doctrine, the Indian Removal Act, the Missouri Compromise, Dred Scott v. Sanford, and the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo are examples of primary and secondary sources of information that should be critiqued with consideration for the source of the document, its context, accuracy, and usefulness.
Slavery and the Making of America . The Slave Experience: Education, Arts, & Culture
|During the colonial and Antebellum periods, enslaved blacks pursued the right to express themselves using education, the arts, and craftsmanship against pragmatic, customary, and legal restrictions. From the earliest colonial settlements, folktales and fables circulated within slave communities in the South, reflecting the oral traditions of African societies and incorporating African symbolism and motifs. The rabbit, for example, was borrowed from African stories to represent the “trickster” in tales told by the enslaved. Folktales such as the popular Brer Rabbit adventures not only gave slaves a chance to create alternate realities in which they could experience revenge and other forbidden impulses, but they also imparted practical knowledge and survival and coping strategies to listeners.Folktales were not the only form of cultural expression African slaves brought to America. Archaeological finds dated from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries demonstrate that slaves crafted objects in accordance with African traditions as well. Retention of African traditions were strongest during the early colonial period and in areas of high slave concentration, particularly large plantations in the South. Slaves manufactured drums, banjos, and rattles out of gourds similar to those found in Africa. Enslaved women in South Carolina made baskets using an African coiling method and in Georgia they plaited rugs and mats with African patterns.Like the colorful quilts female slaves sewed for warmth, utilitarian objects such as baskets, rugs, bowls, and pipes were outlets for creative expression that enlivened the sober conditions of slave living quarters. Skilled male slaves brought artistic vision to their crafts as well.Wrought iron gates and grilles, for example, provided a common form in which metal workers would display unique aesthetic sensibilities and sophisticated skill. Runaway advertisements hint at the great number of highly talented black craftsmen and artists, including blacksmiths, woodcutters, pressmen, and musicians of all types. On occasion, material culture could also become a mode of covert communication between slaves. Some scholars believe, for instance, that quilting patterns encoded directions for navigating the Underground Railroad.||During their limited leisure hours, particularly on Sundays and holidays, slaves engaged in singing and dancing. Though slaves used a variety of musical instruments, they also engaged in the practice of “patting juba” or the clapping of hands in a highly complex and rhythmic fashion.For slaves, music and dance held both secular and spiritual meaning, and talented black musicians and singers were praised by whites as well as other blacks. Although some slaveholders appreciated African-American music making and others allowed singing and dancing in the slave quarters for practical reasons, from the early colonial period on many whites were leery of the subversive potential of these activities. In 1739 South Carolina went so far as to prohibit the beating of drums for fear that their rhythms would be used to incite rebellions like the one that occurred in Stono earlier that year.Despite such obstacles, slaves crafted a rich musical tradition that had enormous impact on the development of American music. In Northern and Southern American cities, black communities played a type of music from which ragtime later descended. On Southern plantations, the roots of gospel and blues were introduced in work songs and “field hollers” based on the musical forms and rhythms of Africa. Through singing, call and response, and hollering, slaves coordinated their labor, communicated with one another across adjacent fields, bolstered weary spirits, and commented on the oppressiveness of their masters. Meanwhile, another form of the “shout,” influential in the development of jazz, was practiced within the context of praise and prayer. An African-inspired dance, the “ring shout” consisted of dancers singing, clapping, and moving in a circular fashion until reaching a state of spiritual ecstasy. Both the ring shout and spirituals expressed the joy and hope, pain and sorrow of the enslaved. Both also grew from a fusion of European and African culture. However, whereas the shout made Christianized an African mode of dance and song, spirituals were sometimes modified versions of songs circulating in the white, Christian community.|
6 Strategies Harriet Tubman and Others Used to Escape Along the Underground Railroad
Despite the horrors of slavery, the decision to run was not an easy one. Sometimes escaping meant leaving behind family and embarking on an adventure into the unknown, where harsh weather and a shortage of food may be on the horizon. Then there was the continual fear of being apprehended. On both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, so-called slave catchers and their hounds were on the prowl, apprehending runaways — and occasionally free Black individuals likeSolomon Northup — and taking them back to the plantation where they would be flogged, tortured, branded, or murdered.
In total, close to 100,000 Black individuals were able to flee slavery in the decades leading up to the Civil War.
The majority, on the other hand, chose to go to the Northern free states or Canada.
1: Getting Help
Harriet Tubman, maybe around the 1860s. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information. No matter how brave or brilliant they were, few enslaved individuals were able to free themselves without the assistance of others. Even the smallest amount of assistance, such as hidden instructions on how to get away and who to trust, may make a significant difference. The most fortunate, on the other hand, were those who followed so-called “conductors,” like as Harriet Tubman, who, after escaping slavery in 1849, devoted her life to the Underground Railroad.
Tubman, like her other conductors, built a network of accomplices, including so-called “stationmasters,” who helped her hide her charges in barns and other safe havens along the road.
She was aware of which government officials were receptive to bribery.
Among other things, she would sing particular tunes or impersonate an owl to indicate when it was time to flee or when it was too hazardous to come out of hiding. She also mailed coded letters and dispatched couriers to deliver them.
Tubman developed a number of other methods during the course of her career to keep her pursuers at arm’s length. For starters, she preferred to operate during the winter months when the longer evenings allowed her to cover more land. Also, she wanted to go on Saturday because she knew that no announcements about runaways would appear in the papers until the following Monday (since there was no paper on Sunday.) Tubman carried a handgun, both for safety and to scare people under her care who were contemplating retreating back to civilization.
The railroad engineer would subsequently claim that “I never drove my train off the track” and that he “never lost a passenger.” Tubman frequently disguised herself in order to return to Maryland on a regular basis, appearing as a male, an old lady, or a middle-class free black, depending on the occasion.
- They may, for example, approach a plantation under the guise of a slave in order to apprehend a gang of escaped slaves.
- Some of the sartorial efforts were close to brilliance.
- They traveled openly by rail and boat, surviving numerous near calls along the way and eventually making it to the North.
- After dressing as a sailor and getting aboard the train, he tried to trick the conductor by flashing his sailor’s protection pass, which he had obtained from an accomplice.
- Enslaved women have hidden in attics and crawlspaces for as long as seven years in order to evade their master’s unwelcome sexual approaches.
4: Codes, Secret Pathways
Circa 1887, Harriet Tubman (far left) is shown with her family and neighbors at her home in Auburn, New York. Photograph courtesy of MPI/Getty Images The Underground Railroad was almost non-existent in the Deep South, where only a small number of slaves were able to flee. While there was less pro-slavery attitude in the Border States, individuals who assisted enslaved persons there still faced the continual fear of being ratted out by their neighbors and punished by the law enforcement authorities.
In the case of an approaching fugitive, for example, the stationmaster may get a letter referring to them as “bundles of wood” or “parcels.” The terms “French leave” and “patter roller” denoted a quick departure, whilst “slave hunter” denoted a slave hunter.
It was possible for fugitives to utilize a secret chamber or secret passage on occasion, which would later come to be associated with the Underground Railroad in the popular imagination.
5: Buying Freedom
The Underground Railroad, on the other hand, functioned openly and shamelessly for long of its duration, despite the passing of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which prescribed heavy fines for anybody proven to have helped runaways. Stationmasters in the United States claimed to have sheltered thousands of escaped slaves, and their activities were well documented. A former enslaved man who became a stationmaster in Syracuse, New York, even referred to himself in writing as the “keeper of the Underground Railroad depot” in his hometown of Syracuse, New York.
At times, abolitionists would simply purchase the freedom of an enslaved individual, as they did in the case of Sojourner Truth.
Besides that, they worked to sway public opinion by funding talks by Truth and other former slaves to convey the miseries of bondage to public attention.
The Underground Railroad volunteers would occasionally band together in large crowds to violently rescue fleeing slaves from captivity and terrify slave catchers into going home empty-handed if all else failed. Perhaps unsurprisingly, John Brown was one among those who advocated for the use of brutal force. Abolitionist leader John Brown led a gang of armed abolitionists into Missouri before leading a failed uprising in Harpers Ferry, where they rescued 11 enslaved individuals and murdered an enslaver.
Brown was followed by pro-slavery troops throughout the voyage.
Eastern Illinois University : Teaching with Primary Sources
However, many of the intriguing and lesser known elements of the Underground Railroad are not included in many textbooks, despite the fact that it is an essential part of our nation’s history. It is intended that this booklet will serve as a window into the past by presenting a number of original documents pertaining to the Underground Railroad. Broadsides, prize posters, newspaper clippings, historical records, sheet music, pictures, and memoirs connected to the Underground Railroad are among the primary sources included in this collection.
The Underground Railroad was a covert structure established to assist fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in the United States.
As a result, secret codes were developed to aid in the protection of themselves and their purpose.
Runaway slaves were referred to as cargo, and the free persons who assisted them on their journey to freedom were referred to as conductors.
Stations were the names given to the safe homes that were utilized as hiding places along the routes of the Underground Railroad. These stations would be identified by a lantern that was lighted and hung outside.
A Dangerous Path to Freedom
Traveling through the Underground Railroad to seek their freedom was a lengthy and risky trek for escaped slaves. Runaway slaves were forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, in a short amount of time in order to escape. They accomplished this while surviving on little or no food and with little protection from the slave hunters who were rushing after them in the night. Slave owners were not the only ones who sought for and apprehended fleeing slaves. For the purpose of encouraging people to aid in the capture of these slaves, their owners would post reward posters offering monetary compensation for assisting in the capture of their property.
- Numerous arrested fugitive slaves were beaten, branded, imprisoned, sold back into slavery, or sometimes killed once they were apprehended.
- They would have to fend off creatures that wanted to kill and devour them while trekking for lengthy periods of time in the wilderness, as well as cross dangerous terrain and endure extreme temperatures.
- The Fleeing Slave Law of 1850 permitted and promoted the arrest of fugitive slaves since they were regarded as stolen property rather than mistreated human beings under the law at the time.
- They would not be able to achieve safety and freedom until they crossed the border into Canada.
- Aside from that, there were Underground Railroad routes that ran south, on their way to Mexico and the Caribbean.
- He was kidnapped from his northern abode, arrested, and prosecuted in Boston, Massachusetts, under the provisions of this legislation.
- After the trial, Burns was returned to the harshness of the southern states, from which he had thought he had fled.
American Memory and America’s Library are two names for the Library of Congress’ American Memory and America’s Library collections.
He did not escape via the Underground Railroad, but rather on a regular railroad.
Since he was a fugitive slave who did not have any “free papers,” he had to borrow a seaman’s protection certificate, which indicated that a seaman was a citizen of the United States, in order to prove that he was free.
Unfortunately, not all fugitive slaves were successful in their quest for freedom.
Harriet Tubman, Henry Bibb, Anthony Burns, Addison White, Josiah Henson, and John Parker were just a few of the people who managed to escape slavery using the Underground Railroad system.
He shipped himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a box that measured three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two feet in diameter. When he was finally let out of the crate, he burst out singing.
Fugitive slaves who wanted to escape to freedom had a long and risky trip ahead of them on the Underground Railroad. It was necessary for runaway slaves to travel great distances in a short period of time, sometimes on foot. They did this while surviving on little or no food and with little protection from the slave hunters who were following after them in the streets. The pursuit of fleeing slaves was not limited to slave owners. For the purpose of enticing people to aid in the capture of these slaves, their owners would post reward posters promising cash to anybody who assisted in the capture of their property.
- Numerous apprehended fugitive slaves were beaten, branded, imprisoned, sold back into slavery, or sometimes killed once they were captured.
- In order to live lengthy amounts of time in the wilderness, people would have to battle off creatures that wanted to kill and devour them, navigate dangerous terrain, and contend with extreme temperatures.
- The Fleeing Slave Law of 1850 permitted and promoted the apprehension of fugitive slaves since they were viewed as stolen property rather than mistreated human beings under the terms of the legislation.
- Only after crossing into Canadian territory would they find safety and liberty.
- Aside from that, there were Underground Railroad routes that ran south from the United States to Mexico and the Caribbean.
- The man was apprehended at his northern residence, arrested, and prosecuted in Boston, Massachusetts, under the provisions of this law.
- Then, following the trial, Burns was returned to the harshness of the South, from which he had believed himself to have fled.
Both the American Memory and America’s Library divisions of the Libray of Congress are located in Washington, DC.
Frederick Douglass was yet another fugitive slave who managed to flee from his master’s grasp.
He pretended to be a sailor, but it was not enough to fool the authorities into believing he was one.
Fortunately, the train conductor did not pay careful attention to Douglass’ documents, and he was able to board the train and travel to his final destination of liberty.
Although some were successful in escaping slavery, many of those who did were inspired to share their experiences with those who were still enslaved and to assist other slaves who were not yet free.
Another escaping slave, Henry “Box” Brown, managed to get away in a different fashion.
He shipped himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a box that measured three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two feet wide, and weighed two pounds. His singing was heard as soon as he was freed from the box.
Efforts of Abolitionists Telling Their Story:Fugitive Slave Narratives
Henry Bibb was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner. After several failed efforts to emancipate himself from slavery, he maintained the strength and persistence to continue his struggle for freedom despite being captured and imprisoned numerous times. His determination paid off when he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then on to Canada with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, which had been highly anticipated. The following is an excerpt from his tale, in which he detailed one of his numerous escapes and the difficulties he faced as a result of his efforts.
- I began making preparations for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the shackles that tied me as a slave as soon as the clock struck twelve.
- On the twenty-fifth of December, 1837, the long-awaited day had finally arrived when I would put into effect my previous determination, which was to flee for Liberty or accept death as a slave, as I had previously stated.
- It took every ounce of moral strength I have to keep my emotions under control as I said goodbye to my small family.
- Despite the fact that every incentive was extended to me in order to flee if I want to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free, oh, man!
- I was up against a slew of hurdles that had gathered around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded soul, which was still imprisoned in the dark prison of mental degeneration.
- Furthermore, the danger of being killed or arrested and deported to the far South, where I would be forced to spend the rest of my days in hopeless bondage on a cotton or sugar plantation, all conspired to discourage me.
- The moment has come for me to follow through on my commitment.
- This marked the beginning of the construction of what was known as the underground rail route to Canada.
For nearly forty-eight hours, I pushed myself to complete my journey without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: “not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not a single house in which I could enter to protect me from the storm.” This is merely one of several accounts penned by runaway slaves who were on the run from their masters.
Sojourner Truth was another former slave who became well-known for her work to bring slavery to an end.
Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal experiences.
Perhaps a large number of escaped slaves opted to write down their experiences in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or perhaps they did so in order to help folks learn from the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future for themselves.