How Did The Underground Railroad Operate? (TOP 5 Tips)

The Underground Railroad was a secret system developed to aid fugitive slaves on their escape to freedom. The free individuals who helped runaway slaves travel toward freedom were called conductors, and the fugitive slaves were referred to as cargo.

  • How did the Underground Railroad operate? Underground Railroad conductors were free individuals who helped fugitive slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad. Conductors helped runaway slaves by providing them with safe passage to and from stations. They did this under the cover of darkness with slave catchers hot on their heels.

Where did the Underground Railroad operate?

There were many well-used routes stretching west through Ohio to Indiana and Iowa. Others headed north through Pennsylvania and into New England or through Detroit on their way to Canada.

How did the Underground Railroad work quizlet?

How did the Underground Railroad work? Escaped slaves were lead by conductors. They stopped during the day and traveled at night. They worried freed slaves would take their jobs and they needed cotton that the slaves picked for factories.

How was the Underground Railroad organized?

The Underground Railroad was a secret network organized by people who helped men, women, and children escape from slavery to freedom. The Underground Railroad provided hiding places, food, and often transportation for the fugitives who were trying to escape slavery.

How successful was the Underground Railroad?

Ironically the Fugitive Slave Act increased Northern opposition to slavery and helped hasten the Civil War. The Underground Railroad gave freedom to thousands of enslaved women and men and hope to tens of thousands more. In both cases the success of the Underground Railroad hastened the destruction of slavery.

Does the Underground Railroad still exist?

It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman. Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.

Did the Underground Railroad use trains?

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. It was a metaphoric one, where “conductors,” that is basically escaped slaves and intrepid abolitionists, would lead runaway slaves from one “station,” or save house to the next.

How many slaves escaped on the Underground Railroad?

The total number of runaways who used the Underground Railroad to escape to freedom is not known, but some estimates exceed 100,000 freed slaves during the antebellum period.

How did the Underground Railroad lead to the Civil War quizlet?

How did the Underground Railroad cause the Civil War? *The Underground Railroad was a escape route for fugitive slaves in America. *Slaves would be helped by Northerners or “Quakers” who help slaves escape to Canada. *John Brown believed that this would bring an end to slavery.

How did Underground Railroad lead to 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.

Why was the Underground Railroad illegal?

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.

How does Underground Railroad end?

In the end, Royal is killed and a grief-stricken Cora is caught again by Ridgeway. Ridgeway forces Cora to take him to an Underground Railroad station, but as they climb down the entrance’s rope ladder she pulls Ridgeway off and they fall to the ground.

How long did it take to get through the Underground Railroad?

The journey would take him 800 miles and six weeks, on a route winding through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, tracing the byways that fugitive slaves took to Canada and freedom.

How many slaves did Harriet Tubman save?

Fact: According to Tubman’s own words, and extensive documentation on her rescue missions, we know that she rescued about 70 people —family and friends—during approximately 13 trips to Maryland.

Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the southern United States by providing them with refuge and assistance. It came forth as a result of the convergence of numerous separate covert initiatives. Although the exact dates of its inception are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Civil War ended.

Quaker Abolitionists

Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the South by providing them with refuge and assistance. A number of separate covert operations came together to form the organization. Although the exact dates of its creation are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Union was defeated.

What Was the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad was first mentioned in 1831, when an enslaved man named Tice Davids managed to escape from Kentucky into Ohio and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his liberation. When a fugitive slave called Jim was apprehended in 1839 in Washington, the press said that the guy confessed his plan to travel north along a “underground railroad to Boston” while under torture. The Vigilance Committees, which were established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard escaped enslaved persons from bounty hunters, rapidly expanded their duties to include guiding enslaved individuals on the run.

MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman and her fellow fugitives used the following strategies to escape through the Underground Railroad:

How the Underground Railroad Worked

Enslaved man Tice Davids fled from Kentucky into Ohio in 1831, and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his release. This was the first time the Underground Railroad was mentioned in print. In 1839, a Washington newspaper stated that an escaped enslaved man called Jim had divulged, after being tortured, his intention to go north through a “underground railroad to Boston” in order to avoid capture. After being established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard fugitive enslaved individuals from bounty hunters, Vigilance Committees quickly expanded its duties to include guiding runaway slaves.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ THESE STATEMENTS.

Fugitive Slave Acts

The Fugitive Slave Acts were a major cause for many fugitive slaves to flee to Canada. This legislation, which was passed in 1793, authorized local governments to catch and extradite fugitive enslaved individuals from inside the borders of free states back to their places of origin, as well as to penalize anybody who assisted the fleeing enslaved people. Personal Liberty Laws were introduced in certain northern states to fight this, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1842. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was intended to reinforce the preceding legislation, which was perceived by southern states to be insufficiently enforced at the time of passage.

The northern states were still considered a danger zone for fugitives who had managed to flee.

Some Underground Railroad operators chose to station themselves in Canada and sought to assist fugitives who were arriving to settle in the country.

Harriet Tubman

In many cases, Fugitive Slave Acts were the driving force behind their departure. This legislation, which was passed in 1793, authorized local governments to catch and extradite fugitive enslaved persons from inside the borders of free states back to their places of origin, as well as to penalize anybody who assisted the runaway slaves. Personal Liberty Laws were introduced in several northern states to oppose this, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1842. Aiming to improve on the previous legislation, which southern states believed was being enforced insufficiently, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed.

It was still considered a risk for an escaped individual to travel to the northern states.

In Canada, some Underground Railroad operators established bases of operations and sought to assist fugitives in settling into their new home country.

Frederick Douglass

In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives who were assisting 400 escapees in their journey to freedom in Canada. Reverend Jermain Loguen, a former fugitive who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees on their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was established in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a trader. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary skills to find work.

Agent,” according to the document.

John Parker was a free Black man living in Ohio who worked as a foundry owner and who used his rowboat to ferry fugitives over the Ohio River.

William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born in New Jersey to runaway slaves parents who fled to Philadelphia as children.

Who Ran the Underground Railroad?

The vast majority of Underground Railroad operators were regular individuals, including farmers and business owners, as well as preachers and religious leaders. Some affluent individuals were active, including Gerrit Smith, a billionaire who stood for president on two separate occasions. Smith acquired a full family of enslaved people from Kentucky in 1841 and freed them from their captivity. Levi Coffin, a Quaker from North Carolina, is credited with being one of the first recorded individuals to assist escaped enslaved persons.

Coffin stated that he had discovered their hiding spots and had sought them out in order to assist them in moving forward.

Finally, they were able to make their way closer to him. Coffin eventually relocated to Indiana and then Ohio, where he continued to assist fugitive enslaved individuals no matter where he was.

John Brown

Abolitionist John Brown worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and it was at this time that he founded the League of Gileadites, which was dedicated to assisting fleeing enslaved individuals in their journey to Canada. Abolitionist John Brown would go on to play a variety of roles during his life. His most well-known duty was conducting an assault on Harper’s Ferry in order to raise an armed army that would march into the deep south and free enslaved people at gunpoint. Ultimately, Brown’s forces were beaten, and he was executed for treason in 1859.

  1. The year 1844, he formed a partnership with Vermont schoolteacher Delia Webster, and the two were jailed for assisting an escaped enslaved lady and her young daughter.
  2. Charles Torrey was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland for assisting an enslaved family in their attempt to flee through Virginia.
  3. After being apprehended in 1844 while transporting a boatload of freed slaves from the Caribbean to the United States, Massachusetts sea captain Jonathan Walker was sentenced to prison for life.
  4. John Fairfield of Virginia turned down the opportunity to assist in the rescue of enslaved individuals who had been left behind by their families as they made their way north.
  5. He managed to elude capture twice.

End of the Line

Operation of the Underground Railroad came to an end in 1863, during the American Civil War. In actuality, its work was shifted aboveground as part of the Union’s overall campaign against the Confederate States of America. Once again, Harriet Tubman made a crucial contribution by organizing intelligence operations and serving as a commanding officer in Union Army efforts to rescue the liberated enslaved people who had been freed. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman led a daring Civil War raid after the Underground Railroad was shut down.

Sources

Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad is a book about the Underground Railroad. Fergus Bordewich is a Scottish actor. A Biography of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom Catherine Clinton is the first lady of the United States. Who Exactly Was in Charge of the Underground Railroad?

‘Henry Louis Gates’ is a pseudonym for Henry Louis Gates. The Underground Railroad’s History in New York is a little known fact. The Smithsonian Institution’s magazine. The Underground Railroad’s Dangerous Allure is well documented. The New Yorker is a publication dedicated to journalism.

What is the Underground Railroad? – Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)

Harvey Lindsley captured a shot of Harriet Tubman. THE CONGRESSIONAL LIBRARY

I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say—I neverran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.

When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we’re talking about the attempts of enslaved African Americans to obtain their freedom by escaping bondage. The Underground Railroad was a method of resisting slavery by escape and flight from 1850 until the end of the Civil War. Escape attempts were made in every location where slavery was practiced. In the beginning, to maroon villages in distant or rough terrain on the outside of inhabited regions, and later, across state and international borders.

  1. The majority of freedom seekers began their journey unaided and the majority of them completed their self-emancipation without assistance.
  2. It’s possible that the choice to aid a freedom seeking was taken on the spur of the moment.
  3. People of various ethnicities, social classes, and genders took part in this massive act of civil disobedience, despite the fact that what they were doing was unlawful.
  4. A map of the United States depicting the many paths that freedom seekers might follow in order to attain freedom.
  5. All thirteen original colonies, as well as Spanish California, Louisiana and Florida; Central and South America; and all of the Caribbean islands were slave states until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and British abolition of slavery brought an end to the practice in 1804.
  6. The Underground Railroad had its beginnings at the site of enslavement in the United States.
  7. The proximity to ports, free territories, and international borders caused a large number of escape attempts.
  8. Freedom seekers used their inventiveness to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and brains in the process.
  9. The assistance came from a varied range of groups, including enslaved and free blacks, American Indians, and people from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.
  10. Because of their links to the whaling business, the Pacific West Coast and potentially Alaska became popular tourist destinations.

During the American Civil War, many freedom seekers sought refuge and liberty by fleeing to the Union army’s lines of communication.

The Underground Railroad

When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we’re talking about the attempts of enslaved African Americans to obtain their freedom by escaping bondage. The Underground Railroad was a method of resisting slavery by escape and flight that existed until the conclusion of the Civil War. Escape attempts were made in every location where slavery existed. In the beginning, to maroon villages in distant or rough terrain on the outside of inhabited regions, and later, across national and international borders.

  1. Many freedom seekers began their trip unaided, and many more finished their self-emancipation without assistance.
  2. Maybe it was a spur of the moment decision to support a freedom seeking.
  3. People of various colors, social classes, and genders took part in this massive act of civil disobedience, despite the fact that what they were doing was against the law.
  4. a map of the United States depicting the many pathways that freedom seekers might travel in order to achieve their goals In every area where enslaved African Americans existed, there were those wanting to flee.
  5. At the point of servitude, the Underground Railroad got its beginnings.
  6. A large number of escapes took place in areas near ports, free territories, and international borders.
  7. Freedom seekers used their ingenuity to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and intelligence to do so.
  8. Help came from a wide range of individuals, including enslaved and free blacks, American Indians, and people from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds and groupings.
  9. Because of their links to the whaling business, the Pacific West Coast and potentially Alaska became popular locations.

Military duty was an option for African Americans, and thousands of them enlisted from the Colonial Era through the Civil War in order to secure their independence. Numerous freedom seekers sought refuge and liberty by fleeing to the lines of the Union army during the American Civil War.

Home of Levi Coffin

Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist. This was a station on the Underground Railroad, a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North during the Civil War. Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography. “> During the age of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the North, according to the Underground Railroad Museum.

See also:  How Long Is A Underground Railroad In Miles? (Best solution)

Although it was not a real railroad, it fulfilled the same function as one: it carried passengers across large distances.

The people who worked for the Underground Railroad were driven by a passion for justice and a desire to see slavery abolished—a drive that was so strong that they risked their lives and jeopardized their own freedom in order to assist enslaved people in escaping from bondage and staying safe while traveling the Underground Railroad.

  • As the network expanded, the railroad metaphor became more prevalent.
  • In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as part of a larger organization.
  • According to historical tales of the railroad, conductors frequently pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways out of plantation prisons and train stations.
  • Often, the conductors and passengers traveled 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance in this day and age.
  • Patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were usually on their tails, chasing them down.
  • Historians who study the railroad, on the other hand, find it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.
  • Eric Foner is one of the historians that belongs to this group.
  • Despite this, the Underground Railroad was at the center of the abolitionist struggle during the nineteenth century.
  • Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist.
  • Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography.
  • Person who is owned by another person or group of people is referred to as an enslaved person.

Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude). Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to flee to free states.

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The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals – many whites but predominently black – who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year – according to one estimate,the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850. An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a “society of Quakers, formed for such purposes.” The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed “The Underground Railroad,” after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called “stations” and “depots” and were run by “stationmasters,” those who contributed money or goods were “stockholders,” and the “conductor” was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next.For the slave, running away to the North was anything but easy. The first step was to escape from the slaveholder. For many slaves, this meant relying on his or her own resources. Sometimes a “conductor,” posing as a slave, would enter a plantation and then guide the runaways northward. The fugitives would move at night. They would generally travel between 10 and 20 miles to the next station, where they would rest and eat, hiding in barns and other out-of-the-way places. While they waited, a message would be sent to the next station to alert its stationmaster.The fugitives would also travel by train and boat – conveyances that sometimes had to be paid for. Money was also needed to improve the appearance of the runaways – a black man, woman, or child in tattered clothes would invariably attract suspicious eyes. This money was donated by individuals and also raised by various groups, including vigilance committees.Vigilance committees sprang up in the larger towns and cities of the North, most prominently in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. In addition to soliciting money, the organizations provided food, lodging and money, and helped the fugitives settle into a community by helping them find jobs and providing letters of recommendation.The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.

Underground Railroad

See how abolitionists in the United States, like as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Thomas Garrett, assisted enslaved people in their attempts to escape to freedom. Learn about the abolitionist movement in the United States, as well as the importance of the Underground Railroad in this historical period. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a publishing company that publishes encyclopedias. View all of the videos related to this topic. When escaped slaves from the South were secretly assisted by sympathetic Northerners, in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Acts, to reach safe havens in the North or Canada, this was referred to as the Underground Railroad in the United States.

Even though it was neither underground nor a railroad, it was given this name because its actions had to be carried out in secret, either via the use of darkness or disguise, and because railroad words were employed in relation to the system’s operation.

In all directions, the network of channels stretched over 14 northern states and into “the promised land” of Canada, where fugitive-slave hunters were unable to track them down or capture them.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, obtained firsthand experience of escaped slaves via her association with the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lived for a time during the Civil War.

The existence of the Underground Railroad, despite the fact that it was only a small minority of Northerners who took part in it, did much to arouse Northern sympathy for the plight of slaves during the antebellum period, while also convincing many Southerners that the North as a whole would never peacefully allow the institution of slavery to remain unchallenged.

When was the first time a sitting president of the United States appeared on television? Return to the past for the really American responses. Amy Tikkanen has made the most current revisions and updates to this page.

Underground Railroad

See how abolitionists in the United States, like as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Thomas Garrett, assisted enslaved people in their attempts to escape to independence. Learn about the abolitionist movement in the United States, as well as the importance of the Underground Railroad in this campaign. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a publishing company that specializes in encyclopedias. This page contains a number of videos. It is a term used to refer to the Underground Railroad, which was a system that existed in the Northern states prior to the Civil War by which escaped slaves from the South were secretly assisted by sympathetic Northerners, in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Acts, to reach safe havens in the North or Canada.

It was known as lines, halting sites were known as stations, people who assisted along the way were called conductors, and their charges known as packages or freight were known as packages or freight were known as freight In all directions, the network of channels stretched over 14 northern states and into “the promised land” of Canada, where fugitive-slave hunters were unable to track them down and capture them.

Members of the free black community (including former slaves such as Harriet Tubman), Northern abolitionists, benefactors, and church leaders such as Quaker Thomas Garrett were among those who most actively enabled slaves to escape by use of the “railroad.” During her time working with the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati, Ohio, Harriet Beecher Stowe, best known for her novelUncle Tom’s Cabin, got firsthand experience of escaped slaves.

  • From 40,000 to 100,000 black individuals, according to various estimates, were released during the American Civil War.
  • Test your knowledge of the Britannica.
  • The first time a president of the United States appeared on television was in the year 1960.
  • In the most recent revision and update, Amy Tikkanen provided further information.

Facts, information and articles about the Underground Railroad

Aproximate year of birth: 1780

Ended

The beginnings of the American Civil War occurred around the year 1862.

Slaves Freed

Estimates range between 6,000 and 10,000.

Prominent Figures

Harriet Tubman is a historical figure.

William Still is a well-known author and poet. Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by author Levi Coffin. John Fairfield is a well-known author.

Related Reading:

The Story of How Canada Became the Final Station on the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman’s Legacy as a Freedom Fighter and a Spion is well documented.

The Beginnings Of the Underground Railroad

Even before the nineteenth century, it appears that a mechanism to assist runaways existed. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with the assistance provided to one of his escaped slaves by “a organization of Quakers, founded for such purposes.” The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are more officially known, were among the first abolitionist organizations to emerge. Their influence may have played a role in Pennsylvania becoming the first state to abolish slavery, which was home to a large number of Quakers.

In recognition of his contributions, Levi is often referred to as the “president of the Underground Railroad.” In Fountain City, Ohio, on Ohio’s western border, the eight-room Indiana home they bought and used as a “station” before they came to Cincinnati has been preserved and is now a National Historic Landmark.

The Underground Railroad Gets Its Name

Owen Brown, the father of radical abolitionist John Brown, was a member of the Underground Railroad in the state of New York during the Civil War. An unconfirmed narrative suggests that “Mammy Sally” designated the house where Abraham Lincoln’s future wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, grew up and served as a safe house where fugitives could receive food, but the account is doubtful. Routes of the Underground Railroad It was not until the early 1830s that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was first used.

Fugitives going by water or on genuine trains were occasionally provided with clothing so that they wouldn’t give themselves away by wearing their worn-out job attire.

Many of them continued on to Canada, where they could not be lawfully reclaimed by their rightful owners.

The slave or slaves were forced to flee from their masters, which was frequently done at night. It was imperative that the runaways maintain their eyes on the North Star at all times; only by keeping that star in front of them could they be certain that they were on their trip north.

Conductors On The Railroad

A “conductor,” who pretended to be a slave, would sometimes accompany fugitives to a plantation in order to lead them on their journey. Harriet Tubman, a former slave who traveled to slave states 19 times and liberated more than 300 people, is one of the most well-known “conductors.” She used her shotgun to threaten death to any captives who lost heart and sought to return to slavery. The Underground Railroad’s operators faced their own set of risks as well. If someone living in the North was convicted of assisting fugitives in their escape, he or she could face fines of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which was a significant sum at the time; however, in areas where abolitionism was strong, the “secret” railroad was openly operated, and no one was arrested.

His position as the most significant commander of the Underground Railroad in and around Albany grew as time went on.

However, in previous times of American history, the phrase “vigilance committee” generally refers to citizen organizations that took the law into their own hands, prosecuting and hanging those suspected of crimes when there was no local government or when they considered the local authority was corrupt or weak.

White males who were found assisting slaves in their escape were subjected to heavier punishments than white women, but both were likely to face at the very least incarceration.

The Civil War On The Horizon

Events such as the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott decision compelled more anti-slavery activists to take an active part in the effort to liberate slaves in the United States. After Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Southern states began to secede in December 1860, putting an end to the Union’s hopes of achieving independence from the United States. Abolitionist newspapers and even some loud abolitionists warned against giving the remaining Southern states an excuse to separate. Lucia Bagbe (later known as Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson) is considered to be the final slave who was returned to bondage as a result of the Fugitive Slave Law.

Her owner hunted her down and arrested her in December 1860.

Even the Cleveland Leader, a Republican weekly that was traditionally anti-slavery and pro-the Fugitive Slave Legislation, warned its readers that allowing the law to run its course “may be oil thrown upon the seas of our nation’s difficulties,” according to the newspaper.

Following her capture, Lucy was carried back to Ohio County, Virginia, and punished, but she was released at some time when Union soldiers took control of the region. In her honor, a Grand Jubilee was celebrated on May 6, 1863, in the city of Cleveland.

The Reverse Underground Railroad

A “reverse Underground Railroad” arose in the northern states surrounding the Ohio River during the Civil War. The black men and women of those states, whether or not they had previously been slaves, were occasionally kidnapped and concealed in homes, barns, and other structures until they could be transported to the South and sold as slaves.

See also:  Why Did Most Workers On The Underground Railroad Operate In Secrecy? (The answer is found)

The Underground Railroad [ushistory.org]

The National Park Service (NPS) Through the Underground Railroad, Lewis Hayden was able to elude enslavement and later found work as a “conductor” from his home in Massachusetts. Speakers and organizers are required for any cause. Any mass movement requires the presence of visionary men and women. However, simply spreading knowledge and mobilizing people is not enough. It takes people who take action to bring about revolutionary change – individuals who chip away at the things that stand in the way, little by little, until they are victorious.

  1. Instead of sitting around and waiting for laws to change or slavery to come crashing down around them, railroad advocates assisted individual fleeing slaves in finding the light of freedom.
  2. Slaves were relocated from one “station” to another by abolitionists during the Civil War.
  3. In order to escape being apprehended, whites would frequently pose as the fugitives’ masters.
  4. In one particularly dramatic instance, Henry “Box” Brown arranged for a buddy to lock him up in a wooden box with only a few cookies and a bottle of water for company.
  5. This map of the eastern United States depicts some of the paths that slaves took on their way to freedom.
  6. The majority of the time, slaves traveled northward on their own, searching for the signal that indicated the location of the next safe haven.
  7. The railroad employed almost 3,200 individuals between the years 1830 and the conclusion of the Civil War, according to historical records.

Harriet Tubman was perhaps the most notable “conductor” of the Underground Railroad during her lifetime.

Tubman traveled into slave territory on a total of 19 distinct occasions throughout the 1850s.

Any slave who had second thoughts, she threatened to kill with the gun she kept on her hip at the risk of his life.

When the Civil War broke out, she put her railroad experience to use as a spy for the Union, which she did successfully for the Union.

This was even worse than their distaste of Abolitionist speech and literature, which was already bad enough.

According to them, this was a straightforward instance of stolen goods. Once again, a brick was laid in the building of Southern secession when Northern cities rallied with liberated slaves and refused to compensate them for their losses.

The Secret History of the Underground Railroad

Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race was the title of a series published by De Bow’s Review, a leading Southern periodical, a decade before the Civil War. The series was deemed necessary by the editors because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  1. However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  2. Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  3. How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
  4. Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  5. The word “Underground Railroad” brings up pictures of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and moonlit routes through the woods in the minds of most people today, just as it did in the minds of most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  6. At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  7. The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of isolated, unconnected escapes?
  8. Which historians you trust in will determine the solutions.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “great and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, as well as a “great and intricate network” of agents (nearly all of them white).

  1. “I escaped without the assistance.
  2. C.
  3. “I have freed myself in the manner of a man.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.
  4. The journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of runaway slaves in the 1850s was found by an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University while working on her final thesis some years ago, and this discovery served as the inspiration for his current book.
  5. One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, according to the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always secret at all.
  6. The New York State Vigilance Committee, established in 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad, no matter how unlikely it may seem, became popular fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities.

  • Political leaders, especially those who had taken vows to protect the Constitution — including the section ordering the return of runaways to their proper masters — blatantly failed to carry out their obligations.
  • Judge William Jay, a son of the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, made the decision to disregard fugitive slave laws and contributed money to aid runaway slaves who managed to flee.
  • One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that is worth noting.
  • It was not recognized for its abolitionist passion, in contrast to places like as Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as communities in upstate New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow newspaper, published shortly before the Civil War, claiming the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off the sale of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  • Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bondage.
  • The story begins in 1846, when a man called George Kirk slipped away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be discovered by the captain and shackled while awaiting return to his owner.
  • The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of local African Americans who were on the lookout for him.
  • In this case, the same court found other legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in short order this time.
  • In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  • Co-conspirator Louis Napoleon, who is thought to be the freeborn son of a Jewish New Yorker and an African American slave, was employed as an office porter in Gay’s office.
  • Gay was the one who, between 1855 and 1856, maintained the “Record of Fugitives,” which the undergraduate discovered in the Columbia University archives and which chronicled more than 200 escapes.

Dr.

One first-person narrative starts, “I ate one meal a day for eight years.” “It has been sold three times, and it is expected to be sold a fourth time.

Undoubtedly, a countrywide network existed, with its actions sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and timetables were continually changing as well.

As with Gay and Napoleon’s collaboration, its operations frequently brought together people from all walks of life, including the affluent and the poor, black and white.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, went around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insouciantly purchased a steamship ticket to New York from Savannah.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the overall population.

It not only played a role in precipitating the political crisis of the 1850s, but it also galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slave­holders, whether they had personally assisted fugitive slaves, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or simply enjoyed reading about slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  1. More than anything else, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice if necessary.
  2. Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments to escape capture.
  3. Cartwright’s most horrific nightmares.
  4. On one of the Union’s railway lines, an abolitionist discovered that the volume of wartime traffic was at an all-time high—­except on one of them.
  5. The number of solo travelers is quite limited.” And it’s possible that New Yorkers were surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

The accompanying essay, on the other hand, soon put their worries at ease. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park. It was never built.

The Underground Railroad

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion at the time of the publication. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  • (“Fleeing slave,” he said, was an old Greek phrase for a fugitive slave).
  • “Treating one’s slaves lovingly but sternly,” he said, was the first option.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their exodus was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater disaster.
  • Was it a matter of time until the entire fabric came undone?
  • Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both huge and ominous in scale.
  • The term underground railroad brings to mind pictures of trapdoors, flickering torches, and dark passageways winding through the woods, much as it did for most of the population in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • At least until recently, researchers paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the public consciousness.
  • The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination concocted from a succession of isolated and unconnected escapes?
  • Depending on whose historians you trust, the answers will be different.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “big and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name, who he characterized as “a large and intricate network” (nearly all of them white).

  • Activist clergyman James W.
  • Pennington claimed in 1855 that he had escaped “without the help.
  • As a result of his work on Abraham Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner, one of the nation’s most recognized practitioners of history (his earlier book on the subject was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), has joined an expanding number of researchers who are illuminating the night sky.
  • (Since the student, as he makes clear in his acknowledgments, chose to become a lawyer, no scholarly careers were jeopardized in the course of the publication of this book.) Readers will be surprised by the narrative told in Gateway to Freedom: The Secret History of the Underground Railroad.
  • Assisting runaways was nothing new for abolitionist organisations, who made a point of publicizing it in pamphlets, publications, and yearly reports.
  • Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” offered donated luxury goods and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad became common fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, despite the fact that this may seem unlikely.

  • Many women were enthralled by these incidents, which transformed everyday, “feminine” tasks like baking, grocery shopping, and sewing into exhilarating acts of moral commitment and political rebellion for thousands of them.
  • While governor of New York, William Seward publicly sponsored Underground Railroad operations, and while serving as a senator in the United States Senate, he (not so openly) provided refuge to runaways in his basement.
  • When Northern states implemented “personal liberty” acts in the 1850s, they were able to exclude state and municipal authorities from federal fugitive-slave statutes, this act of defiance acquired legal recognition.
  • Yet another surprise in Foner’s gripping story is that it takes place in New York City.
  • Even as recently as the 1790s, enslaved laborers tended Brooklyn’s outlying fields, constituting a quarter of the city’s total population (40 percent).
  • Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bond slavery.
  • George Kirk snuck away on board a ship bound for New York in 1846, only to be apprehended by the captain and kept in chains while waiting to be returned to his master’s possession.
  • Following his triumphant exit from court, the winning fugitive was met with applause from the courtroom’s African-American contingent.
  • A second legal basis was discovered by the same court to free Kirk, who this time rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and arrived in the safety of Boston in no time.
  • In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress, who became the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard.
  • Whilst Gay was busy publishing abolitionist manifestos and raising funds, Napoleon was patrolling the New York harbor in search of black stowaways and traveling the length and breadth of the Mason-Dixon Line in pursuit of those who had managed to escape slavery.

It’s “the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City,” according to Foner, and it contains “a treasure trove of compelling anecdotes and a storehouse of insights about both slavery and the underground railroad.” One of the most moving passages was when Gay documented the slaves’ accounts of their reasons for fleeing in a matter-of-fact tone.

  • Cartwright’s theory, it appears that none of them addressed Drapetomania.
  • I was beaten with a hatchet and bled for three days after being struck with 400 lashes by an overseer.” As a result of his research, Foner concludes that the phrase “Underground Railroad” has been used to describe something that is restrictive, if not deceptive.
  • Though it had tunnels, it also had straightaways and bright straightaways where its traces might be found.
  • It is true that the Underground Railroad had conductors and stationmasters in a sense, but the great majority of its people contributed in ways that were far too diverse to be compared in such a straightforward manner.
  • Its passengers and their experiences were almost as different.
  • During this time, a Virginia mother and her little daughter had spent five months crouched in a small hiding hole beneath a house near Norfolk before being transported out of the country.
  • Although the Underground Railroad operated on a small scale, its effect considerably beyond the size of its activities.

It fostered the suspicions of Southern leaders while driving Northern leaders to choose sides with either the slaves or the slavecatchers.

See also:  Who Supported The Underground Railroad? (Correct answer)

Escapees were reported to be flooding northward at an unusual rate just a few days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861.

There had been a Drapetomania on a magnitude that was worse beyond Dr.

The Reverend Samuel Cartwright passed away in 1863, just a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially established Drapetomania as a national policy.

As he put it, the Underground Railroad “has hardly no business at all these days.

New Yorkers may have been astonished to open their eyes in the early 1864 season as well.

The accompanying piece, on the other hand, soon put their concerns to rest. According to the plan, Manhattan’s first subway line would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park, beginning at 42nd Street.

1770-1830 1831-1865 1866-1899 1900-1935 1935-1970 1971-2000
INTRODUCTION The Fugitive Save Acts Underground Railroad Maps

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, given its “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. The author of the essays, the eminent New Orleans physician Samuel Adolphus Cartwright, described in precise anatomical terms the reasons for African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  1. But it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  2. Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a wider calamity.
  3. How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to fall apart?
  4. Rather, it was intentionally promoted and aided by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  5. The name “Underground Railroad” brings up thoughts of trapdoors, flickering torches, and dark passageways through the woods for most people today, just as it did for most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  6. At least until recently, historians paid relatively little attention to this story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  7. Was the Underground Railroad genuinely a countrywide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” or was it merely a fabrication of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of ad hoc, unconnected fugitives’ escapes?

Depending on whose historians you trust, the answers will differ.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were white) a generation after the Civil War and documented a “vast and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name (nearly all of them white).

In 1855, the radical preacher James W.

Pennington wrote, “I escaped without the assistance.

As a result of his work on Abraham Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner, one of the nation’s most recognized practitioners of history (his last book on the subject was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), has joined an expanding number of researchers who are illuminating the darkness.

(Since the student, as he makes clear in his acknowledgments, chose to become a lawyer, no scholarly careers were jeopardized by the publication of this volume.) Readers will be surprised by the narrative told in Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.

Abolitionist organizations made no secret of their willingness to aid runaways; in fact, they publicized their efforts in pamphlets, publications, and yearly reports.

Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad were frequent fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, despite the fact that they seemed unlikely.

  1. Even legislators who had sworn vows to preserve the Constitution — including its provision demanding the return of runaways to their lawful lords – disobeyed their oaths and failed to fulfill their responsibilities.
  2. Escaped slave laws were disregarded by Judge William Jay, a son of the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who provided money to aid fugitive slaves.
  3. One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that has been overlooked.
  4. When compared to places like Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as upstate cities like Buffalo and Syracuse—­the city was not recognized for its anti-slavery fervor.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow’s newspaper soon before the Civil War that the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” Planters’ slave purchases were financed by New York banks, while New York merchants made their fortunes on slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  • Slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and in addition to officially apprehending escapees, they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—to sell them into Southern bondage.
  • George Kirk snuck away on board a ship bound for New York in 1846, only to be apprehended by the captain and kept in shackles while waiting to be returned to his owner.
  • The winning fugitive was escorted out of court by a watchful phalanx of African Americans from the surrounding community.
  • In this case, the same court found new legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in no time at all.
  • Founder and editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, Sydney Howard Gay, was descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  • Napoleon, on the other hand, prowled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and traveled the length and breadth of the Mason-Dixon Line, escorting fugitives to freedom.
  • This paper, according to Foner, “is the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City.

Despite Dr.

One first-person narrative opens with the words “one meal a day for eight years.” “It’s been sold three times and is expected to be sold a fourth time.

There was undoubtedly a countrywide network in existence, with its operations sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and schedules were continuously changing.

Akin to the cooperation between Gay and Napoleon, its efforts frequently brought together rich and poor, black and white, for a shared purpose.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, strutted around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insolently purchased a steamship ticket to New York.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the total population.

In addition to contributing to the political crisis of the 1850s, it galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slaveholders, whether they had personally aided fugitives, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or were simply entertained by the colorful accounts of slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  • Above all, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice.
  • Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments.
  • Cartwright could have imagined.
  • In the same year, an abolitionist reported that all of the Union’s railway lines were seeing record wartime traffic, with the exception of one.
  • A solitary wanderer is hard to come by.” In addition, New Yorkers may have been surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

However, the accompanying article instantly put their concerns at ease. In it, the author presented a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward along Broadway from the Battery to Central Park.

Margaret was worked hard up until the day her baby (by her husband) was born. A week later she was put back to work. It was customary that babies be cared for by broken down slaves; but Margaret was forced to leave the baby Samuel in the shade of a bush by the field, returning to it only twice the entire day she worked.On returning to Samuel one day she found him senseless, exhausted with crying, and a large snake covering him. She then decided to run away with her baby or see it dead. She ran and the tail was magnificient. At one time she, with her baby on her shoulders and in a river, kills the favorite salave hunting dog of her master, an old mastiff.She escapes to her freedom and her finds a home in New York where her son was given education. Her son receives more education and becomes a great man, Frederick Douglas once called “the ablest man the country has ever produced” – Samuel Ward (right), author ofAutobiography of a Fugitive Negro: His Anti-Slavery Labours in the United States, Canada,England.

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, given its “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose value as property totaled approximately $2 billion. The author of the essays, the eminent New Orleans physician Samuel Adolphus Cartwright, described in precise anatomical terms the reasons for African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme dislike of being whipped (“skin.

  1. However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness that he dubbed “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee” that received the most attention from readers.
  2. Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  3. How long will it take until the entire fabric begins to unravel?
  4. Instead, a well-organized network, huge and ominous in scope, deliberately fostered and assisted it.
  5. The name Underground Railroad brings up thoughts of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and nighttime passages through the woods for most people today, just as it did for most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  6. For a story that has loomed big in the American psyche, it has garnered remarkably little attention from academics, at least until lately.
  7. Was the Underground Railroad genuinely a countrywide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” or was it merely a fabrication of popular imagination created out of a series of ad hoc, unconnected escapes?

The answers are contingent on which historians you trust.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a generation after the Civil War and documented a “vast and sophisticated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name (nearly all of them white).

“I escaped without the assistance.

C.

“I have freed myself, just as a man would.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.

Several years ago, an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University, while working on her senior thesis, discovered a previously undiscovered journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of escaping slaves in the 1850s—a discovery that served as the inspiration for his latest book.

  1. One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, despite the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always underground at all.
  2. In 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, the New York State Vigilance Committee officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Jermain W.
  3. Bake sales for the Underground Railroad, as unlikely as it may seem, became frequent fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, and bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” sold donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks before the winter holidays.
  4. Even legislators who had taken vows to preserve the Constitution — including its provision requiring the return of runaways to their legal owners — blatantly failed to carry out their responsibilities.
  5. Judge William Jay, the son of the first chief judge of the United States Supreme Court, determined to violate fugitive-slave rules and contributed money to aid escaped slaves.
  6. It is a little-known historical irony that, right up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as by Southern slaveholders.
  7. Unlike Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as upstate places like as Buffalo and Syracuse—the city was not recognized for its abolitionist passion.

By the time New York’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, the city’s economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South; the editor of De Bow’s gloated just before the Civil War that the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

Slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and in addition to officially apprehending escapees, they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—to be sold into Southern bondage.

In 1846, a man called George Kirk sneaked away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be apprehended by the captain and shackled until he could be returned to his owner.

The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of African Americans who had gathered to watch his every move.

The same court discovered new legal grounds on which to release Kirk, who this time rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and arrived in the safety of Boston in no time.

Sydney Howard Gay, the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, was descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.

While Gay produced abolitionist manifestos and gathered funds, Napoleon patrolled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and crisscrossed the Mason-Dixon Line, escorting fugitives to freedom.

According to Foner, this paper “is the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City.

Despite Dr.

“I ate one meal a day for eight years,” starts one first-person story.

“I was beaten with a hatchet and bled for three days after being struck with four hundred lashes by the overseer.” Finally, Foner illustrates that the name “Underground Railroad” has been a restrictive, if not misleading, metaphor for a long time.

Nonetheless, its rails traveled not just through tortuous tunnels, but also through bright straightaways.

The Underground Railroad did, in a sense, have conductors and stationmasters, but the great majority of its people contributed in ways that were too diverse to be compared in such a straightforward manner.

The stories of its passengers were almost as different as the passengers themselves.

A Virginia mother and her young daughter, on the other hand, spent five months cowering in a tiny hiding hole beneath a home near Norfolk before being transported out of the country.

Despite this, the Underground Railroad’s effect greatly outstripped the size of its activities.

It fostered the suspicions of Southern leaders while driving Northern leaders to choose sides with either the slaves or the slave catchers.

Escapees were believed to be flooding northward at an unusual rate just days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, according to reports.

This was Drapetomania on a scale that was worse than any of Dr.

Samuel Cartwright died in 1863, just a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially established Drapetomania as government policy.

“The Underground Railroad currently does almost no business at all,” he stated.

When you open The Evening Post, you’ll notice a headline announcing preparations for “A New Underground Railroad” in the city.

The accompanying piece, on the other hand, soon put their fears to rest. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward along Broadway from the Battery to Central Park.

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