Most of the enslaved people helped by the Underground Railroad escaped border states such as Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland. In the deep South, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made capturing escaped enslaved people a lucrative business, and there were fewer hiding places for them.
Did the Fugitive Slave Act stop the Underground Railroad?
Under the original Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, officials from free states were required to assist slaveholders or their agents who recaptured fugitives, but some state legislatures prohibited this, and citizens of many free states ignored the law, and the Underground Railroad thrived.
How was the Underground Railroad related to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?
It was developed by abolitionists and slaves as a means of escaping the harsh conditions in which African Americans were forced to live, and ultimately to assist them in gaining their freedom.
How did the Fugitive Slave Act alter the Underground Railroad final destination?
After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act as part of the Compromise of 1850 the Underground Railroad was rerouted to Canada as its final destination. The Act made it illegal for a person to help a run away, and citizens were obliged under the law to help slave catchers arrest fugitive slaves.
What role did the Underground Railroad play in the resistance to slavery?
The Underground Railroad—the resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, through the end of the Civil War—refers to the efforts of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom by escaping bondage. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape.
Was there really a railroad in the Underground Railroad?
Nope! Despite its name, the Underground Railroad wasn’t a railroad in the way Amtrak or commuter rail is. It wasn’t even a real railroad. The Underground Railroad of history was simply a loose network of safe houses and top secret routes to states where slavery was banned.
How many slaves escaped to freedom using the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad and freed slaves [ estimated 100,000 escaped ] Not literally a railroad, but secret tunnels of routes and safe houses for southern slaves to escape to Canda for their freedom before the Civil War ended in 1865.
What impact did the Underground Railroad have on Canada?
They helped African Americans escape from enslavement in the American South to free Northern states or to Canada. The Underground Railroad was the largest anti-slavery freedom movement in North America. It brought between 30,000 and 40,000 fugitives to British North America (now Canada).
How did Harriet Tubman affect the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”
How did the Underground Railroad affect the Civil War?
The Underground Railroad physically resisted the repressive laws that held slaves in bondage. By provoking fear and anger in the South, and prompting the enactment of harsh legislation that eroded the rights of white Americans, the Underground Railroad was a direct contributing cause of the Civil War.
What happened to the Underground Railroad?
End of the Line The Underground Railroad ceased operations about 1863, during the Civil War. In reality, its work moved aboveground as part of the Union effort against the Confederacy.
How important was the Underground Railroad?
The underground railroad, where it existed, offered local service to runaway slaves, assisting them from one point to another. The primary importance of the underground railroad was that it gave ample evidence of African American capabilities and gave expression to African American philosophy.
Fugitive Slave Acts
When a man with a pistol knocks on the door, you can see how afraid the housekeeper is. Operation Underground Railroad/YouTube screen capture The creator of Operation Underground Railroad, Tim Ballard, contacted me out of nowhere one summer day in 2014. I’d never heard of the organization before then. He was a former Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security and informed me that OUR had an undercover operation planned in the Dominican Republic, and he asked me to accompany him to record it.
Governments at all levels were either overburdened or involved.
Ballard said that he knew how to save these children from their situation.
Mormonism is something Ballard and I share.
- A few cards with the blog’s contact information were retained in my father’s wallet since he admired my work.
- Perhaps this is how Ballard discovered that I was a writer.
- That he believed it was acceptable for me, the author of a mother blog, to document anti-trafficking efforts was beyond my comprehension.
- After my father, my best friend, passed away not long earlier, I felt lonely and depressed.
- It’s possible that in my anguish and yearning for meaning, I wished for him to be called by God, in hopes that it would imply that, at long last, I would be called as well.
- I exchanged a few emails with Operation Underground Railroad before to my departure, including instructions on what to pack, my plane ticket information, and the name of the person who would meet me at the airport.
- At the time, it wasn’t precisely preparation for a military-style sting operation, but I wasn’t really concerned about that.
(In response to specific queries for this piece, a spokeswoman for Operation Underground Railroad stated: “Slate is repeating old accusations from over seven years ago, during Operation Underground Railroad’s first year of operations.
Because Ballard appeared to be pitching a TV series on his anti-trafficking activities, a camera team was on hand to capture everything.
Though situated in Utah, the production business apparently had Hollywood aristocracy interested, including Gerald Molen, the Academy Award-winning producer of films such as Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List, as a shareholder.
It was a vast beige house with a befuddled local housekeeper, and we remained there for three nights.
I jotted down some thoughts and observations.
This activity was organized with local authorities who were either too overloaded or ill-equipped to handle it on their own, I was informed.
The location and time of the party were disclosed to the authorities.
When the OUR team obtained undercover evidence of a trafficker receiving upfront cash in exchange for sex with the children, the police decided to wait outside until that footage was obtained.
They’d be armed, of course!
My concerns were allayed by Ballard.
I’d be safe in my own company.
After the conference, the housekeeper prepared dinner for all of the participants.
She’d be okay, right?
Members of the jump team were doing CrossFit alongside the pool, and the sound of their workouts helped me fall asleep.
The total number was 26.
Balloons had been requested in order to create a festive atmosphere in the house.
When I met them outside by the pool, I gave them sodas to drink.
In order to create a festive environment in the house, I was instructed to blow up balloons.
Meg, Tim wants you inside,” said a security guard as he unlocked the rear door and called to me.
In a conversation with one of the traffickers, I found myself cracking up at his jokes.
Ballard was putting money on the coffee table, and I stood there watching him do it.
As soon as the raid began, I dashed to the back door, where I was greeted by a local police officer wielding a revolver.
Filming for the much-anticipated television program had begun.
Shouting could be heard coming from all directions – from the cops, from the OUR covert squad, from the traffickers.
While I was still present, the kids, who were still dripping wet from the pool, were herded through the room and out the door.
During the process of being brought away, they walked between us on the ground, pouring water as they went.
While I was speaking, the camera team was shooting me to get my opinions on things.
I really wanted to think that what had just transpired was significant—and I desperately wanted to get back to my apartment.
I turned on my cellphone as soon as the plane touched down.
If I ever got around to writing a blurb for my book, he indicated he’d be pleased to do it for me.
The endorsement of a guy who claimed to have been summoned by God.
In the van with our two children strapped into car seats in the rear, my husband picked me up from the airport and I informed him about the guns and the kids.
” His response was, “It was inappropriate for you to be inside.” I recall thinking he was being overprotective at the time.
I was in attendance at the premiere of OUR’s first documentary, which aired in 2011.
Then I got up and walked away from the table.
Ballard’s assertive certainty, on the other hand, quickly became a source of concern for me.
She was labeled a “bitch” by Ballard, who forwarded me the article.
In response to specific queries regarding his remarks, Ballard did not answer.
What gave him the impression that I did it, exactly?
While on planning calls with our team, I was also working on other projects.
They, too, believed in Ballard’s vision of salvation, and they were doing everything they could to help him realize it.
All of us wanted to “rescue the children,” but no one had any actual knowledge of what was going on with these young people.
They never addressed the serious issues that children need to be protected from.
Afraid as well as the other individual In its fundraising efforts, OUR prioritized Black and Latino children, but it did not heed calls from Black activists to rename the group after them.
Ballard, his wife, and other white people are shown as they transport rescued Black and brown children from human trafficking down a genuine train, painted by McNaughton, who is most known for painting Barack Obama burning the Constitution in 2012.
With my expectations dashed and my mind jumbled, I set out to gain a better grasp of the group’s position within the anti-trafficking community Experts on human trafficking were contacted.
This has harmed them greatly.
When Ballard invited me into his home, he put me in danger in order for me to write a narrative about him.
Do you mean to say that Ballard should be condemned?
That being said, it is also an indictment of my own character.
On the backs of exploited children, I attempted to find purpose in my own life.
I began to accept responsibility for my actions.
A significant portion of their proceeds is donated to charity.
With the assistance of OUR, a wealthy individual may change their living room into a personal situation room for the day.
Many contributors are moved by the drama, as well as a genuine desire to save children, regardless of whether or not the information provided is correct or not.
Unfortunately, the show was never picked up by a television network.
I continued and uploaded it on the channel’s YouTube page as a result.
In the video, you can see the scared maid as she opens the door to an armed guy, me laying on the floor while police officers pacify the area around me, and Ballard winks at the camera.
During the raid, the author was found unconscious on the floor.
Two of the youngsters had been trafficked for the first time that day, according to the information I was given at the time.
As a result of the sting, I inquired with members of a nearby jump team about the whereabouts of the 26 children.
According to what I was informed, aftercare was not their primary emphasis, but they associated with organizations who were excellent at providing care.
Within a week, they were out on the streets.
Others were lost in the local organization’s jumble.
It is not a punch-and-pow war between good and evil when it comes to anti-trafficking efforts.
In other words, it means actively working to create a society in which children are trafficked less and less frequently – the ongoing labor of prevention.
Anti-trafficking efforts are aimed at offering assistance to homosexual and trans children who have been driven out of their homes and are consequently at increased risk of being targeted for exploitation.
It is the act of developing and voting for policies that offer a safety net and economic predictability for all citizens.
It progresses at a leisurely pace.
Although it has been seven years since my assignment with them, Operation Underground Railroad has remained true to its narrative.
“The real heroes are you, our supporters, those of you who have allowed us to shine your light into the darkest corners of the world.
His novel, Slave Stealers, is being turned into a television program, which will air later this year.
Ballard is played by Jim Caviezel, while his wife Mira Sorvino appears in the film as Ballard.
An image of a brightly lit Ballard house comes across the screen, offering a stark contrast to the gloomy Colombian interiors.
On the screen, Caviezel sobs righteous tears, as scared boys and girls’ faces, frequently covered in mud, take center stage. The screen Ballard is addressed in Spanish by a tearful small kid who requests, “Mister Timoteo.” In such case, “You are a child rescuer, correct?”
What Were the Fugitive Slave Acts?
Slave laws were implemented in some of the thirteen original colonies as early as 1643 and the New England Confederation, and slave laws were afterwards enacted in a number of the thirteen original colonies. Runaways were prevented from going to Canada by a 1705 statute established by New York, while Virginia and Maryland developed laws giving rewards for the apprehension and return of fugitive enslaved individuals in the United States and Canada, among other things. As at the time of the Constitutional Convention (in 1787), numerous northern states had abolished slavery.
Southern officials were afraid that these new free states might serve as safe havens for fugitive slaves and were relieved to discover that the Constitution had a “Fugitive Slave Clause.” According to this clause (Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3) in the case that a person confined to service or labor fled to a free state, he or she would not be liberated from their bondage obligations.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1793
Slave laws were implemented in some of the thirteen original colonies as early as 1643 and the New England Confederation, and slave laws were afterwards enacted in several of the thirteen original colonies. Runaways were prevented from traveling to Canada by a 1705 statute issued by New York, while Virginia and Maryland developed laws giving rewards for the apprehension and return of fugitive enslaved individuals in the years following the Revolutionary War. Several northern states, notably Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachussetts and Connecticut, had already abolished slavery by the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
Prigg v. Pennsylvania
Refugee slave legislation existed in America as early as 1643 and the New England Confederation, and slave legislation was later implemented in several of the thirteen original provinces. Runaways were prevented from going to Canada by a 1705 statute established by New York, and Virginia and Maryland developed laws giving rewards for the apprehension and return of fugitive enslaved persons. By the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, many northern states had abolished slavery, including Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
Refugee slave legislation existed in America as early as 1643 and the New England Confederation, and slave legislation was later implemented in several of the original thirteen colonies. Among other things, New York approved a 1705 statute to prevent runaways from going to Canada, while Virginia and Maryland devised legislation giving rewards for the arrest and return of fugitive enslaved persons. By the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, numerous northern states, including Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, had abolished slavery.
Repeal of the Fugitive Slave Acts
Widespread resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 resulted in the statute becoming essentially unenforceable in several Northern states by 1860, with only around 330 enslaved persons successfully returned to their Southern masters. Despite the fact that Republican and Free Soil members periodically filed measures and resolutions relating to the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, the statute remained in effect until after the outbreak of the Civil War. It wasn’t until a joint resolution of Congress passed on June 28, 1864, that both of the Fugitive Slave Acts were abolished.
Fugitive Slave Acts
Historically, the Fugitive Slave Acts were two pieces of legislation established by Congress in 1793 and 1850 (and repealed in 1864) that allowed for the capture and return of fugitive slaves who escaped from one state into another or into a federally administered region. The 1793 legislation carried out Article IV, Section 2 of the United States Constitution by permitting any federal district judge or circuit court judge, as well as any state magistrate, to determine the legal status of an accused fugitive slave without the need for a trial by jury.
- These laws established that fugitives who challenged an initial ruling against them were entitled to a jury trial.
- The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes.
- Weber (c.1893).
- LC-USZ62-28860) Quiz on the Encyclopedia Britannica This quiz will examine the history of slavery and resistance.
- Who was the leader of the mutiny of 53 enslaved individuals on the Spanish slave ship Amistad that occurred in 1839?
- Take the quiz to find out.
Under this rule, fugitives were not permitted to testify in their own defense, nor were they given the opportunity to stand trial before a jury.
In addition, under the 1850 statute, special commissioners were to have concurrent jurisdiction with the United States courts in the enforcement of the law.
There was a rise in the number of abolitionists, the Underground Railroad activities grew more efficient, and new personal-liberty legislation were established in several Northern states during this period.
The attempts to put the legislation of 1850 into action sparked a great deal of animosity and were very certainly responsible for stoking sectional antagonism as much as the debate over slavery in the territory.
The Library of Congress’s Printed Ephemera Collection is located in Washington, D.C.
Portfolio 22, Folder 12b) A period of time during the American Civil War was regarded to be a period of time during which the Fugitive Slave Acts were still in effect in the instance of Blacks fleeing from masters in border states that were loyal to the Union authority.
It wasn’t until June 28, 1864, that the acts were finally overturned by the legislature. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Adam Augustyn was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.
1850 Fugitive Slave Act · The Underground Railroad · The Underground Railroad in the Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana Borderland
Slave catchers should be on the lookout for African Americans residing in Boston. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the number of slave escapes skyrocketed. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which was intended to prevent slave escapes, had the opposite effect. After 1850, the number of people who escaped from Kentucky climbed by 53 percent. The Fugitive Law, according to one Underground Railroad agent, “has boosted the stock on some of our Western routes, by at least 50 to 75 percent,” according to a statement made in 1855.
- According to news sources, the flight of slaves resembled a stampede.
- Similar legislation passed in 1793 gave slaveholders the ability to retrieve slaves while also requiring states to aid them in their efforts.
- According to the court’s decision, state officials were banned from intervening with fugitive slaves.
- The 1793 Fugitive Slave Law was declared illegal by the Supreme Court, and only federal officers were authorized to execute it.
- According to the 1850 Runaway Slave Act, federal officials were authorized to abduct any African American suspected of being a fugitive.
- Anyone of African descent might be accused of being a slave by agents.
- The word of a slaveholder was regarded adequate evidence that the individual in issue was the runaway in question.
The legal consequences for anyone who help fugitives or impede the law in any way were more severe, with a $1000 fine per fugitive and six months in jail being the most severe penalties.
The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 not only increased the number of escapes in the South, but it also caused many fugitives residing in the Ohio Valley Borderland to travel even further north.
As hundreds of formerly enslaved people dreaded being recaptured, black populations in Indiana and Ohio declined.
According to theLouisville Courier, “.the Fugitive Slave Law cannot be implemented in Ohio and is unlikely to be enacted in the future.” After 1850, slave catchers appointed by the federal government patrolled the Ohio River on a regular basis in search of fugitives.
Agents utilized harsh tactics to abduct and imprison every African-American they came into touch with while acting under federal authority.
Three agents from Washington County, Ohio, were abducted and carried to Virginia, where they were imprisoned for assisting fugitives in 1845.
A word of caution to runaway slaves.
Hudson, Fugitive Slaves, Fugitive Slaves, See p. 83 for information on slaveholder gatherings. According to the Louisville Couriernews, page 5064. The Frontline, pages 107-108. Griffler, Frontline. Hudson’s Fugitive Slaves, Volume 85. Griffler,Frontline,82-83.
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.
- 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.
Train conductors on the Underground Railroad were free persons who provided assistance to escaped slaves moving via the Underground Railroad system. Runaway slaves were assisted by conductors, who provided them with safe transportation to and from train stations. They were able to accomplish this under the cover of darkness, with slave hunters on their tails. Many of these stations would be in the comfort of their own homes or places of work, which was convenient. They were in severe danger as a result of their actions in hiding fleeing slaves; nonetheless, they continued because they believed in a cause bigger than themselves, which was the liberation thousands of oppressed human beings.
- They represented a diverse range of ethnicities, vocations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Due to the widespread belief that slaves were considered property, the freeing of slaves was perceived as a theft of slave owners’ personal belongings.
- Captain Jonathan Walker was apprehended off the coast of Florida while attempting to convey slaves from the United States to freedom in the Bahamas.
- With the following words from one of his songs, abolitionist poet John Whittier paid respect to Walker’s valiant actions: “Take a step forward with your muscular right hand, brave ploughman of the sea!
- She never lost sight of any of them during the journey.
- He went on to write a novel.
- John Parker is yet another former slave who escaped and returned to slave states in order to aid in the emancipation of others.
Rankin’s neighbor and fellow conductor, Reverend John Rankin, was a collaborator in the Underground Railroad project.
The Underground Railroad’s conductors were unquestionably anti-slavery, and they were not alone in their views.
Individuals such as William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur and Lewis Tappan founded the American Anti-Slavery Society, which marked the beginning of the abolitionist movement.
The group published an annual almanac that featured poetry, paintings, essays, and other abolitionist material.
Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who rose to prominence as an abolitionist after escaping from slavery.
His other abolitionist publications included the Frederick Douglass Paper, which he produced in addition to delivering public addresses on themes that were important to abolitionists.
Anthony was another well-known abolitionist who advocated for the abolition of slavery via her speeches and writings.
For the most part, she based her novel on the adventures of escaped slave Josiah Henson.
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.
One of American History’s Worst Laws Was Passed 165 Years Ago
He was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner named Henry Bibb. 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 multiple times. It was only through his determination that he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then to Canada with the help of the Underground Railroad, a feat that had been highly anticipated.
- For my own personal liberty, I made a decision somewhere during the autumn or winter of 1837 that I would try to flee to Canada if at all feasible.” Immediately after, I began preparing for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the chains that kept me a prisoner in my own home.
- I also purchased a suit that I had never worn or been seen in before, in order to escape discovery.
- It was the twenty-fifth of December, 1837.
- My moral bravery was tested to the limit when I left my small family and tried to keep my emotions under wraps at all times.
- No matter how many opportunities were presented to me to flee if I wanted to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free!
- A thousand barriers had formed around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded spirit, which was still imprisoned in the dark dungeon of mental degradation.
- It was difficult to break free from my deep bonds to friends and relatives, as well as the love of home and birthplace that is so natural among the human family, which were entwined around my heart and made it difficult to go forward.
- But I’d calculated the cost and was completely prepared to make the sacrifice before I started the process.
If I don’t want to be a slave, I’ll have to abandon friends and neighbors, along with my wife and child.” I was given something to eat by these gracious folks, who then set me on my way to Canada on the advise of a buddy who had met me along the road.” This marked the beginning of the construction of what was referred to be the underground rail track from the United States to the Canadian continent.
In the morning, I walked with bold courage, trusting in the arm of Omnipotence; by night, I was guided by the unchangeable North Star, and inspired by the elevated thought that I was fleeing from a land of slavery and oppression, waving goodbye to handcuffs, whips, thumb-screws, and chains, and that I was on my way to freedom.
I continued my journey vigorously for nearly forty-eight hours 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, being pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not being able to find a house in which to take shelter from the storm.” Among the countless accounts recorded by escaped slaves is this one, which is only one example.
Sojourner Truth, a former slave who became well-known for her efforts to bring slavery to an end, was another person who came from a slave background.
Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal journeys.
The writing down of one’s experiences by so many escaped slaves may have been done in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or it may have been done in order to help individuals learn from their mistakes in the aim of building a brighter future.
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The Underground Railroad
WGBHA For a number of reasons, African-Americans fled slavery in the South to the north. Many slaves were driven to risk their lives in order to escape plantation life because of brutal physical punishment, psychological torture, and countless hours of hard labor without remuneration. When a master passed away, it was customary for slaves to be sold as part of the estate and for familial links to be severed. However, while some slaves journeyed with families or friends, the vast majority traveled alone, relying on the charity of fellow African Americans or abolitionist whites they met along the road for help.
- African American men and women of all ages escaped from the plantation and travelled north in search of liberty and opportunity.
- Escape from the deep South and make it north to New York, Massachusetts, or Canada required a trek of hundreds of miles, much of which was done on foot, to get there.
- Runaway slave advertising in local newspapers were routinely issued by plantation owners whose slaves had gotten away.
- Not all fugitive slaves made their way to the North.
- Some runaways created freedmen’s encampments in harsh rural places where they could remain concealed from slave catchers and local law enforcement agencies, while others chose urban settings.
- The trip to freedom for slaves who resided in border states such as Maryland, Kentucky, and Virginia may be short and less terrifying if they lived in one of these states.
- Slaves who resided in areas where they had access to freshwater and saltwater ports were frequently stowed away or employed as crew members on Northbound boats.
After the enactment of the second Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, escaping from bondage became more difficult than it had ever been.
Federal marshals who failed to enforce the law against fugitive slaves, as well as anybody who assisted them, were subjected to harsh punishment.
Hicksite Quakers and other abolitionists in the North were among those who supplied some of the most organized assistance for the Underground Railroad.
The vast majority of the thousands of slaves who attempted to flee the farms each year were unsuccessful.
Others were escorted back to their homes in chains after being apprehended by law enforcement or professional slave catchers.
In 1791, a statute was established in Upper Canada, which is now Ontario, to progressively phase out slavery over a period of time.
The Underground Railroad thrived in communities such as Rochester and Buffalo, which were close to the boundaries of Upper Canada and were hotbeds of activity. Canada represented the Promised Land for those who had braved the long voyage and all of its difficulties.
Escapees from slavery travelled north in order to reclaim their freedom and escape harsh living conditions in their home countries. They required daring and cunning in order to elude law enforcement agents and professional slave catchers, who were paid handsomely for returning them to their masters’ possession. Southerners were extremely resentful of people in the North who helped the slaves in their plight. They invented the name “Underground Railroad” to refer to a well-organized network dedicated to keeping slaves away from their masters, which occasionally extended as far as crossing the Canadian border.
In 1850, Congress created the Fugitive Slave Law, which imposed severe fines on anybody found guilty of assisting slaves in their attempts to flee.
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.
Iowa became the first state to offer black males the right to vote in 1868. 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 Republican Party has evolved as a staunch opponent of any future expansion of slavery into western areas in the United States.
- Slavery has been a source of contention in the United States since its founding. As new states entered the Union, the early fights did not revolve over slavery in the South but rather its spread. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 created an east-west line along the southern border of Missouri, dividing the state’s free and slave settlements for the rest of time. Southern states could legalize slavery, whereas northern states (apart from Missouri, which was a slave state at the time) could not. Iowa would be a free state, as the settlers anticipated. Despite the fact that slavery continued to exist in the South, the majority of Iowans were not against it. They held the belief in the supremacy of the white race, as did the majority of white Americans at the time, and were opposed to allowing African Americans equal rights and opportunity. They enacted legislation in an attempt to deter black people from settling in the state, which failed. Most importantly, they wished to find compromises that would allow the Union to remain together on a national level, An abolitionist movement existed in Iowa, but it was a tiny group of people who wished to see slavery abolished worldwide as a moral wrong. Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 granted the right to settler communities in new territories to determine whether or not to legalize slavery in their territories. Iowa’s western border state of Nebraska might potentially become a slave state as a result of this decision. The vast majority of Iowans were opposed to the idea of a nuclear power plant in their state. A significant opposition to any further expansion of slavery into western lands has evolved among members of the Republican Party.
How did runaway slaves rely on the help of abolitionists to escape to freedom?
- Slavery has been a contentious topic in the United States since its founding. As additional states entered the Union, the early battles did not revolve over slavery in the South but rather its expansion throughout the country. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 created an east-west line along the southern border of Missouri, dividing the state’s free and slave settlements for all time. Southern states could legalize slavery, but northern states (with the exception of slave state Missouri) could not. Settlers were well aware that Iowa would be a free state when they arrived. The majority of Iowans were content to allow slavery to continue in the South. They held the belief in the supremacy of the white race, as did the majority of white Americans at the time, and were opposed to allowing African Americans equal rights or opportunity. They passed legislation in an attempt to deter black people from settling in the state. On a national level, they were mainly concerned with finding compromises that would allow the Union to remain together. Iowa did have a tiny community of abolitionists who believed that slavery was a moral wrong and should be abolished throughout the world. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, approved by Congress in 1854, granted the right to settlement communities in new territories to determine whether or not to legalize slavery in their territories. Iowa’s western border state of Nebraska might potentially become a slave state as a result of this development. The majority of Iowans were opposed to this idea. The Republican Party has evolved as a staunch opponent of any future expansion of slavery into western lands.
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
Written in strong opposition to the Runaway Slave Act, which was approved by Congress in September 1850 and expanded federal and free-state duty for the return of fugitive slaves, this letter is full of anger. The bill called for the appointment of federal commissioners who would have the authority to enact regulations. More information may be found here.
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
This story, which appeared in The Daily Gate Citynewspaper of Keokuk, Iowa, in 1915, was about a trial that took place in Burlington, Iowa, in the year 1850. Buel Daggs, the plaintiff, sought $10,000 in damages as recompense for the services of nine slaves who had fled from Missouri. Read on for more information.
“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. This includes information from three former slaves, Samuel Green, Phoebe Myers, and their descendants today. “The Underground Railroad: A Secret History” by Eric Foner is a book on the history of the Underground Railroad. Among the topics covered in this piece from The Atlantic is the Underground Railroad’s “secret history,” which includes the reality that the network was not nearly as covert as many people believed.
Iowa Core Social Studies Standards (8th Grade)
Maryland’s Pathways to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in the state of Maryland On this website, you may 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 that delves into the history of the Underground Railroad. Among the topics covered in this piece from The Atlantic is the Underground Railroad’s “secret history,” which includes the reality that the network was not nearly as secretive as many people believed.
- Maryland’s Pathways to Freedom: The Underground Railroad and the State of Maryland This website contains primary source papers pertaining to Maryland and the Underground Railroad. This includes testimony from three former slaves, Samuel Green, Phoebe Myers, and others. “The Underground Railroad: A Secret History” by Eric Foner is a book on the Underground Railroad. This article from The Atlantic focuses on the “secret history” of the Underground Railroad, particularly the reality that the network was not nearly as secretive as many people believed. William and Ellen Craft are able to elude slavery. The focus of this webpage from the “Documenting the American South” project is on the escape of slaves William and Ellen Craft from Georgia in order to seek sanctuary and freedom in the North.