How Does Douglass Feel About The Underground Railroad? (Solved)

  • Answers 1. Douglass feels the underground railroad is too publicized. He also feels that although the intent is honorable, the slaves themselves are lost when they attain their freedom. they’re unprepared. He also believed that the publicity that accompanied the underground railroad made the slave owners all the more aware, and that the owner’s awareness was a hindrance to the desired result.

Did Frederick Douglass Support the Underground Railroad?

Douglass was born a slave in Tuckahoe, Maryland, and spent his adolescence as a houseboy in Baltimore. He used his oratorical skills in the ensuing years to lecture in the northern states against slavery. He also helped slaves escape to the North while working with the Underground Railroad.

Why did Frederick Douglass disapprove of the manner in which the Underground Railroad was conducted?

Why did Frederick Douglass disapprove of the manner in which the Underground Railroad was conducted? He thought that there was too much publicity about the Underground Railroad which may hinder future escape efforts because they were enlightening slaveholders of their methods of escape.

Why does Douglass call the Underground Railroad the Upperground railroad?

“Upperground Railroad” is a term coined by Frederick Douglass in his 1845 autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and was designed to criticize those who personally emphasized their work at helping escaped slaves. They stimulate him to greater watchfulness, and enhance his power to capture his slave.

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.

Was Underground Railroad an actual 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.

Why does Frederick Douglass criticize the Underground Railroad?

Why does Frederick Douglass not approve of the underground railroad? because he believes, that to many people know of it. and it isn’t underground. if it was, it might be a little safer.

How did Douglass feel about escaping from slavery?

Never had Frederick Douglass been so nervous. Undeterred, Douglass vowed to try to escape again on September 3, 1838, although he knew the risk. “I felt assured that if I failed in this attempt, my case would be a hopeless one,” he wrote in his autobiography. “It would seal my fate as a slave forever.”

Why does Douglass not give details about his escape?

Why didn’t Douglass give all of the details of his escape? Douglass’s book was published before slavery was ended. If he’d given all the details of his escape, he would have given away important information about the Underground Railroad and put people in danger.

Who did Douglass marry?

Frederick Douglass and Helen Pitts Douglass remained married until his death in 1895. After his will was contested by his children, Helen secured loans in order to buy Cedar Hill and preserve it as a memorial to her late husband.

Why did Douglass change his name so many times who chooses Douglass and why?

Why did Frederick change his name so much? New owners and Johnson was too common of a last name. Mr. Nathan Johnson changed FD to Douglass because he just got done reading a book.

How did Douglass feel when he first arrived in New York?

In writing to a dear friend, immediately after my arrival at New York, I said I felt like one who had escaped a den of hungry lions. This state of mind, however, very soon subsided; and I was again seized with a feeling of great insecurity and loneliness.

Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?

Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.

How effective 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.

Who helped with the Underground Railroad?

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.

What does Douglass think of the “underground railroad,” and why?

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.


Please Include Yours. Posted byjill d170087 at 2:27 a.m. on May 18, 2017. Douglass believes that the subterranean railroad has received too much attention. He also believes that, despite the noble intentions of the slave owners, the slaves themselves suffer as a result of their liberation. They haven’t planned ahead of time. The publicity surrounding the Underground Railroad, in his opinion, increased the consciousness of slave owners, and this increased awareness was an impediment to the achievement of the ultimate outcome.

I commend those brave men and women for their great deeds, and I admire them for deliberately exposing themselves to violent punishment as a result of their open admission of their involvement in the emancipation of enslaved people.

They make no contribution to illuminating the slave, but they make significant contributions to educating the master.

We owe a debt of gratitude to both slaves south of the line and slaves north of the line, and in assisting the latter on their journey to freedom, we should take care not to do anything that might make it more difficult for the former to escape slavery.


Douglass adds that the final chapter of hisNarrativedepicts the period of his life during which he managed to elude capture and emancipation. He admits, however, that the chapter does not provide a detailed description of his escape route because he does not want to provide slaveholders with knowledge that would assist them in preventing other slaves from fleeing to the North. To the contrary, Douglass hopes that slaveholders would grow frantic with the thought of invisible adversaries lurking around them, ready to take their slaves away from them or hamper them in their quest to regain possession of their slaves.

  1. As a courtesy, Auld occasionally pays Douglass a tiny fraction of his salary, which only serves to reinforce Douglas’s belief that he is legally entitled to the payments in their full.
  2. When Thomas Auld comes to Baltimore, Douglass approaches him and asks to be permitted to go out and look for job on his own.
  3. A year and a half later, Douglass approaches Hugh Auld with the same request, and Auld accepts, with the caveat that Douglass must find all of his own employment and pay Auld three dollars per week in order to cover the costs of his own tools, board, and clothes.
  4. In exchange for his own time and payment on Saturdays, Douglass employs Hugh Auld for a period of four months.
  5. Hugh Auld is enraged and revokes Douglass’s right of hiring his own time, thinking that Douglass may attempt to flee at any point throughout the day.
  6. Then Douglass decides to flee on the third of September, which happens to be his birthday.
  7. As the day of his escape approaches closer, Douglass begins to feel nervous about abandoning his numerous Baltimore acquaintances and about the prospect of failing to make it.

However, rather than feeling comforted upon arriving in New York, Douglass is gripped with a terrifying sense of foreboding.

The people around him are frightened of him, and he is scared to communicate with anybody for fear that they would report him in.

Ruggles, an abolitionist and journalist, urges Douglass to seek employment as a caulker in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he has a connection.

Anna moves to New York to be with Douglass.

When Douglass and Anna arrive in New Bedford, they are greeted by Mr.

Nathan Johnson, who cover their travel debt and assist Douglass in deciding on a new name for themselves.

Johnson, referring to the name of a knight in Sir Walter Scott’s novelLady of the Lake.

Douglass has always thought that Northerners are impoverished because they do not own slaves, a belief that is supported by historical evidence.

Douglass does not believe in great poverty.

They are more politically informed and educated than many of the slaveholders in the Southern United States.

Douglass will be employed at the New Bedford docks for the next three years in a variety of positions around the port.

Douglass joins an antislavery conference in Nantucket, Massachusetts, in August 1841, and is encouraged to talk about his experiences as a slave.

He is apprehensive about speaking in front of a group of white people, but he quickly becomes confident. Since that day, Douglass has fought tirelessly to further the anti-slavery cause.

Summary: Appendix

Douglass notes that the final chapter of hisNarrativedepicts the period of his life during which he managed to elude capture and emigration from slavery. It is clarified that he does not detail the specific method of his escape because he does not want to provide slaveholders with knowledge that might assist them in preventing other slaves from fleeing to the North. In fact, Douglass expects that slaveholders would grow frantic with the concept of invisible enemy lurking around them, ready to take their slaves away from them or hamper them in their quest to recapture their slaves, as a result of his book.

  1. Douglass occasionally receives a little fraction of Auld’s earnings, which only serves to reinforce Douglass’s belief that he is entitled to the wages in full.
  2. Doug Douglass approaches Thomas Auld on his visit to Baltimore, requesting permission to pursue employment on his own.
  3. Dougall requests the same of Hugh Auld two months later, and Auld agrees, subject to the condition that Douglass find all of his own employment and pay Auld three dollars per week in order to purchase his own tools, board, and clothes.
  4. In exchange for his own time and payment on Saturdays, Douglass employs Hugh Auld for a four-month trial period.
  5. A angry Hugh Auld suspends Douglass’s ability to hire his own time, assuming that Douglass may attempt to flee in the near future.
  6. And it is on September 3rd that Douglass makes the decision to leave.
  7. As the day of his escape approaches closer, Douglass begins to feel nervous about abandoning his numerous Baltimore acquaintances and about the prospect of failing to get away.
See also:  How Many People Escaped During The Underground Railroad? (Correct answer)

Douglass, on the other hand, is filled with dread upon arriving in New York, instead of relief.

He is desperate.

Douglass is eventually taken in by a free black man called David Ruggles.

Written to Anna Murray, a free black lady from Baltimore who is Douglass’ fiancée, Douglass expresses his feelings for her.

A witness to their marriage, Ruggles awards Douglass five bucks in addition to a letter of reference.

and Mrs.

Douglass is the name of a knight in Sir Walter Scott’sLady of the Lake, as suggested by Mr.

When Douglass arrives in New Bedford, he is taken aback by the city’s affluence and order.

In spite of this, it appears that the city’s industries are thriving and that its employees are working efficiently.

Living circumstances are favorable even for the city’s black residents.

Aside from that, the Northern blacks look out for one another and guard runaway slaves to prevent them from being captured again.

Over time, he accumulates sufficient funds to purchase a subscription to the Liberator, an abolitionist journal.

Douglass agrees. While he is first concerned about speaking in front of a group of white people, he quickly becomes comfortable. Throughout his life, Douglass has worked tirelessly to dismantle the institution of slavery.

Analysis: Chapter XIAppendix

As a result of Douglass’s explanation as to why he does not explain the manner of his escape, one of theNarrative’s primary themes is further developed: slavery is perpetuated via the use of forced ignorance. Slave masters, according to Frederick Douglass, kept blacks slaves by refusing to allow them to receive an education. Douglass characterizes this tactic as an aggressive and demeaning approach to public politics. Douglass flips the script in Chapter XI, refusing to teach slaveholders about the means of his escape, or about how slaves flee in general, as he did in the previous chapter.

  • Douglass’s tone, on the other hand, grows increasingly passionate as he hints that he would want slaveholders and slavecatchers to suffer as a result of their stupidity.
  • The terror and paranoia experienced by slaveholders would be analogous to the feelings experienced by slaves.
  • Learn more about ignorance as a tool of enslavement in this article.
  • As a result, Douglass’s narrative of the events leading up to his escape is obviously divided.
  • The level to which Douglass suffers as a result of his friends’ departure from New York City is the sole evidence of how important Douglass’s friends are to him.
  • The narrative claims that men are transformed into slaves on an individual level by stripping them of their sense of self.
  • Douglass’s first few days alone in New York reflect a watershed moment in his development as a person.
  • Douglass provides the reader with a sense of his current circumstances and thoughts, but he also emphasizes that no reader will be able to truly sympathize with his feelings until he or she has personally experienced all of the events he or she is reading about.

As a result, Douglass’s first few days in New York are distinguished as a severe, personal experience in this paragraph. Learn more about Frederick Douglass by reading this in-depth examination.

Frederick Douglass: “I Am A Man”

This blog post is the second of two about the abolitionist Frederick Douglass (who is celebrating his 200th birthday this year), and it is part of a series called “Hidden Folklorists,” which looks at the folklore work of surprising people, including people who are better known for other endeavors, such as musicians and actors. The first post, “Frederick Douglass: Free Folklorist,” can be seen at the URL provided above. In 1870, Frederick Douglass was born. Photograph courtesy of George Francis Schreiber.

  1. Abolitionists hoped that the Fugitive Slave Act would force people in free states to surrender slaves to their masters.
  2. In order to reach a jurisdiction that would not send them back to their slave states, slaves traveling north had to run all the way to Canada, which they did.
  3. Aside from that, the “Compromise of 1850,” which was arranged by Henry Clay, established a system of balance between slave and free states.
  4. Douglass’ mentor, William Lloyd Garrison, was one among the abolitionists who accepted the compromise as a means of keeping the peace.
  5. When he said that the agreement of 1850 “reveals with striking clarity the extent to which slavery has shot its leprousdistilmentthrough the lifeblood of the Nation,” he was referring to the compromise of 1850.
  6. 12 for an address delivered at the Broadway Tabernacle in New York.) Douglass had always been a voracious reader, and it appears that he was particularly interested in law and ethnology at this period.
  7. He got interested in ethnology because he was already employing an awareness of culture, particularly slavery’s culture, in his lectures to improve the consciousness of those living in free states, which piqued his curiosity.

A search for ethnological literature on the notion of “race” by diverse authors was undertaken by Douglass with the goal of discovering arguments that would assist bridge the division that existed between African and European Americans.

During his time at Western Reserve College in Ohio, Douglass delivered a lecture titled “The Claims of the Negro” to the Philozetian Society.

This occurred during a particularly gloomy period in the history of the study of human beings.

No coincidence that these “races” were groupings of people who western countries desired to govern, conquer, or hold in servitude for their own reasons.

Fashion is not limited to clothing, but also encompasses philosophy–and it is currently trendy in our country to highlight the contrasts between the negro and the European, to name a few examples.

The European face is shown in a manner that is consistent with the greatest ideals of beauty, dignity, and intellectuality.

For his part, the negro appears with twisted features, exaggerated lips, sunken forehead–and the entire expression of his visage is designed to conform to the general perception of negro imbecility and depravity.

where Frederick Douglass lived until his death in 1896 (between 1980 and 2006).

Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

In fact, as Douglass pointed out, there was no consensus among ethnologists as to exactly which groups constituted “races” or how these various groupings came to exist.

Some people viewed northern Africans as being akin to Europeans, but others did not share this opinion.

Many people, however, agreed on one point: Sub-Saharan Africans were primitive and inferior in comparison to other people.

The fact that Douglass was in the business of dispute helped him comprehend the concepts that kept slavery alive, and this understanding offered him insight into ways of opposing those notions.

This religious argument would resonate with a large number of people in his audience.

Douglass had a gut feeling that ethnologists who said Africans possessed a low level of intelligence were erroneous.

Douglass was aware of other educated African Americans and African Europeans who he could point to.

James McCune Smith, himself a colored man, a gentleman and scholar, alledges–and not without strong reason–that this, our own great nation, so famed for industry and effort, is in large part owed to its composite character,” he says in this address (page 33).

Activists for abolition in Pennsylvania established a school in Philadelphia in 1837 for the training of African Americans to become teachers.

Cheney University is the name of the institution now.

A little bit about this college is familiar to me due to the fact that two of my great-grandparents were alumni.

As a result, it was the world’s first completely co-educational and integrated institution of higher learning in the world.

The fact that this college produced Charles Lewis Reason, the nation’s first African-American professor, comes as no surprise given its historical significance.

A number of scientists used physical characteristics such as head size and stature as proof for the supremacy of Europeans, believing that taller individuals with larger brains were more intelligent.

A number of people at this time believed that the Irish constituted a distinct race.

Within a generation, he noted a shift in the demographics of Irish Americans in Indiana.

Douglass stated in this lecture that nutrition, job conditions, and education all had an impact on the physical traits that ethnologists said were static, proof of race, and evidence of inferiority (pages 30-31).

At the beginning of the twentieth century, anthropologist Franz Boas would employ a variation of this argument to argue against the concept of race as it was applied in anthropological research.

Even though Douglass did not have access to the same amount of data as Boas, his views were valid.

Douglass asserts that, even if the commonality of African Americans with other human beings cannot be demonstrated, they are still human.

According to what I’ve studied and seen on this subject thus far, the Almighty, within certain boundaries, gifted people with organizations that are capable of endless variations in shape, feature, and color without the need to initiate a new creation for each new variety (page 32).

“I am a man!” he would proclaim to his audience at various points throughout his lectures.

It is a sad commentary on American history that a man of Douglass’ brilliance felt the need to declare himself a human being on more than a dozen occasions.

As a result of his observations, Douglass came to see how prevalent the notion of different origins of supposed “races” had become in law and science, in support of a society committed to inequity.

This was because the number of African Americans in some southern states was so large that it was feared that Blacks would take over the government if they were given the vote.

The case of Dred Scott.

Located at: Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress Four years after delivering this speech, a watershed moment occurred.

Scott had been taken to the free state of Illinois, then the free territory of Wisconsin, and then left on his own, where he met and married his wife.

When being summoned by his master, he traveled to Missouri, where he sought to purchase his freedom after his master died.

In addition, it’s possible that Scott was uninformed of his legal rights in those jurisdictions.

Scott was found to be a slave by the Supreme Court in 1858, and the Court went on to say that, as a result of his race, he had no rights under the Constitution and could not bring a civil suit in federal court.

Frederick Douglass’s address on the Dred Scott case reads almost as if it were a triumphant announcement of triumph.

Some abolitionists were feeling defeated at this time and wondered if the South should be permitted to secede from the Union, as had previously been urged, in order for the North to be able to construct a free society.

See also:  What Hapened In The Underground Railroad? (Correct answer)

One point of view is that we, the abolitionists and people of color, should greet this decision, as unjust and horrific as it looks, with a positive attitude.

He had been preparing for this moment and everything that would come after it through his ethnological research, his efforts to disprove those who claimed different groups of human beings had multiple origins, and his efforts to challenge the notion that people of color were inferior to Europeans, among other things.

Douglass rightly prophesied on multiple occasions that the culture of slave ownership would eventually transform into a culture of oppression of freed slaves unless significant efforts were taken to ensure that freed slaves were given their legal rights.

People’s rights are founded on a common foundation, and for all of the reasons that they are supported, maintained, and defended for one variety of the human family, they are also supported, maintained, and defended for all varieties of the human family; this is because all mankind has the same desires, which arise from a common nature.

– “The Claim of the Negro,” from “The Claims of the Negro” (page 34) Resources Library of Congress holdings include the Frederick Douglass Papers.

How Frederick Douglass Escaped Slavery

Frederick Douglass had never been so nervous in his life. As he reached the Baltimore and Ohio train station, the butterflies in his stomach fluttered with every bounce of the carriage over Baltimore’s cobblestone streets. The slave, then known by his birth name of Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, was about to embark on a risky voyage with the goal of reaching New York—and ultimately freedom—as his final destination. Following Douglass’ failed effort to emancipate himself from slavery two years before, he was imprisoned and transferred to Baltimore by his master, where he was contracted out to work in the city’s shipyards for a period of time.

According to his memoirs, “I was confident that if I failed in this endeavor, my case would be a hopeless one.” “It would effectively seal my destiny as a slave for all time.” The disguise of a free black sailor, which Douglass pulled off admirably, was a clever trick, considering the nautical expertise he learned while working on the wharf.

  • With his red shirt and nautical hat, as well as his loosely tied black necktie, he looked dapper for the occasion.
  • A free African American seaman had given Douglass the paperwork, but the seaman he had taken it from did not resemble the physical description on the sheet of paper.
  • Close investigation by a train official or by any other authority would disclose the ruse and put Douglass and his buddy in danger of being arrested.
  • It took several minutes before the conductor was eventually allowed to enter the segregated passenger car carrying the train’s African-American passengers.
  • “The choice of this conductor had the potential to change my entire destiny,” he wrote.
  • “Do you think you’ve got your free papers?” he inquired.
  • As the conductor pointed out, “you do have something to prove that you are a free man, don’t you?” I have a piece of paper with the American eagle on it, and it will take me all the way across the world,” Douglass said.
  • The conductor’s attention was drawn to the authoritative eagle imprinted on the top of the bus rather than to the erroneous physical description written on the side.

“Had the conductor paid great attention to the document,” Douglass said, “he could not have failed to see that it asked for a person who appeared to be extremely different in appearance from myself.” Douglass’s uneasiness did not completely subside with the arrival of the conductor’s footsteps, on the other hand.

  1. The quicker the train moved, the longer it appeared to take to catch up with the escaping slave.
  2. In addition, Douglass’ cover was almost revealed on a number of occasions during the investigation.
  3. While boarding a northbound train across the river, Douglass noticed a white ship captain who had previously worked for him through the window of another train that had stopped on the track.
  4. Even if the captain’s sight never rested on the slave, the gaze of a German blacksmith whom Douglass recognized did.
  5. “I truly think he was aware of my existence,” Douglass wrote, “but lacked the courage to betray me.” Frederick Douglass in his early twenties, around 1847.
  6. Despite the difficulties, Douglass was able to reach in New York without incident less than 24 hours after departing Baltimore.
  7. Packs of slave catchers scoured the streets of New York, looking for fugitives who could be hiding elsewhere.
  8. Douglass and his new bride left for a safer haven in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the next day after their wedding ceremony ended in tragedy.
  9. A former slave who escaped from slavery changed his last name from Bailey to Douglass in order to better conceal his identity from slave hunters.
  10. When Douglass published his autobiography in 1845, he revealed only a few details about his escape in order to protect those who helped him and to keep authorities unaware of the method he used to break free from slavery.

It was not until 1881 that he was finally able to provide details of his escape. Throughout his life, Douglass referred to February 14, 1838, as the day when his “free existence started,” and he observed that day in lieu of his actual birthday for the rest of his days.

Aboard the Underground Railroad- Boston African American NHS

Cedar Hill, Home of Frederick DouglassNPS PhotoAn edition of theNorth Star Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Serial and Government Publications DivisionThe famous abolitionist, writer, lecturer, statesman, and Underground Railroad conductor Frederick Douglass (1817-1895) resided in this house from 1877 until his death.At the request of his second wife, Helen Pitts Douglass, Congress chartered the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association, to whom Mrs. Douglass bequeathed the house.Joining with the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, the association opened the house to visitors in 1916.The property was added to the National Park system on September 5, 1962 and was designated a National Historic Site in 1988.Douglass was born a slave on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and was given the name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey.At an early age, he learned to read and write, and escaped to freedom in the North, changing his name to Douglass to avoid recapture.Eventually he settled in Rochester, New York, and was active in the abolitionist cause.He was a leader of Rochester’s Underground Railroad movement and became the editor and publisher of theNorth Star, an abolitionist newspaper.After the Civil War, Douglass came to Washington, DC, and served as the marshall of the District of Columbia and was appointed recorder of deeds for the city.In 1889, President Harrison appointed him minister-resident and consul general of the Republic of Haiti and charge d’affaires for the Dominican Republic.During all of this activity, Douglass remained an outspoken advocate for the rights of African Americans.Though not directly associated with Douglass’ involvement in the Underground Railroad, this National Historic Site helps us to better understand the life of the man who is recognized as “the father of the civil rights movement.”The Frederick Douglass National Historic Siteis located at 1411 W Street, SE in Washington, DC.It is open to the public.Visit a virtual exhibit that features items owned by Frederick Douglass and highlights his achievements. The items are in the museum and archival collections at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.Go to theExhibitPrevious|Listof Sites|Home|Next

Frederick Douglass Rides the Underground Railroad to Freedom

Frederick Douglass had never felt so jittery in his life until this moment. Every bounce of the carriage over Baltimore’s cobblestone streets, as he neared the Baltimore and Ohio railroad station, sent butterflies fluttering through his stomach and into his stomach. He was heading on a risky voyage with New York—and freedom—as his ultimate destinations. The slave was known by his birth name of Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey at the time. As a result of a fellow slave’s betrayal of Douglass’ effort to flee slavery two years before, he had been imprisoned and transferred to Baltimore by his master, where he was employed to work in the shipyards of the city.

The author of his memoirs noted, “I was confident that if I failed in this try, my cause would be doomed.” As a slave, “it would permanently seal my fate as a slave.” After laboring on the wharf, Douglass learned how to pass himself off as an unemployed black sailor, which was a commendable trick considering his nautical expertise.

  1. With his red shirt and nautical hat, as well as his loosely tied black necktie, he looked dapper and ready for adventure.
  2. A free African American seaman had given Douglass the passport, but the seaman he had borrowed it from did not resemble the person described on the piece of paper.
  3. Douglass waited and leapt aboard the moving train at the last minute as it began to make its way north in order to evade the prying eyes of the ticket agent inside the station.
  4. The conductor reviewed the passengers’ free documents with great care, and Douglass kept cool on the surface, but his heart was racing on the inside.
  5. illustrations of Frederick Douglass’ life, from his time as a slave through his time as an abolitionist, Getty Images/Photos courtesy of Photo12/UIG The railroad official finally arrived to Douglass’ seat.
  6. In his pocket, Douglass had a piece of paper in his hand.
  7. A short glance from the conductor and he proceeded to the rear of the train vehicle to collect Douglass’ fare.

As the train went through the slave states of Maryland and Delaware, he was vulnerable to capture at any time.

When he was flying, “minutes turned into hours, and hours turned into days,” he wrote in his journal.

In order to complete the voyage, the escaped slave had to travel over the Susquehanna River via ferry, where he saw an old acquaintance who began to interrogate him about his travels before Douglass was able to get free.

Douglass recognized him and boarded the train.

When Douglass walked inside the shop, the blacksmith looked him in the eyes but did not call him out to the railroad officials.

The Everett Collection is a collection of antiques and collectibles from the Everett family’s collection.

Douglass was not a free man, even if he was in free territory.

Doug Douglass was taken in by anti-slavery crusader David Ruggles until his intended wife, a free black housekeeper named Anna Murray, came from Baltimore, where Ruggles was living.

Here he began his life as an abolitionist crusader, which would continue until his death.

He was able to purchase his freedom when his supporters donated enough money for him to do so.

As a result, when Douglass published his autobiography in 1845, he revealed only a few details about his escape in order to protect those who assisted him and to keep authorities unaware of the method he used to escape slavery.

Not until 1881 did he eventually reveal the details of his evading the authorities. “Free life started” for Douglass on February 14, 1838, and he commemorated the day as his birthday for the rest of his life, despite the fact that he never knew when he was born.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Bailey Douglass was born in February 1818 on a Maryland farm, most likely in his grandmother’s shanty, and became known as Frederick Douglass. He had no concept that his master was his father; he had no idea who he was. He was taken away from his mother when he was a child. He taught himself to read and write when he was a child in secret. In his early twenties, he met and fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black woman who worked as a domestic servant. In 1848, Frederick Douglass was born.

  • As a caulker at Butler’s Shipyard in Baltimore during the summer of 1838, he earned $9 a week and gave all but 25 cents of his earnings to his boss.
  • Frederick Douglass was adamant about his desire to reach freedom.
  • He was outfitted in a sailor’s costume that Anna Murray had tailored just for him and his crew.
  • The identity documents, on the other hand, detailed someone who appeared to be completely different from Frederick Douglass himself.
  • One of the reasons he picked his mariner’s disguise was the positive attitude about sailors that the average Baltimorean had.
  • The conductor deemed Frederick Douglass ‘all fine,’ despite the fact that his pulse was pounding tremendously.

Intense Sensations

He was born in February 1818, most likely in his grandmother’s shanty on a Maryland farm, and was named Frederick Bailey. He had no notion that his master may have been his father. While still a child, he was taken away from his mother. He taught himself to read and write when he was a child in the privacy of his home. In his early twenties, he met and fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black woman who worked as a maid. In 1848, Frederick Douglass was elected to the Senate. By the time he was 20, he had worked for a half-dozen masters and had attempted to flee on at least a couple of different occasions.

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It was Frederick Douglass’s determination that led to his emigration to America.

he was clothed in an outfit designed just for him by Anna Murray, a sailor’s uniform A small amount of money, identity documents from a free black sailor, and the names of persons who may be able to assist him were all he had with him.

It was too late for him to board the train because he had skipped the ticket window, where his documents might have been scrutinized thoroughly.

A quick scan at the runaway’s seaman’s documents revealed that the train conductor plainly favored seamen. The conductor deemed Frederick Douglass ‘all fine’ even though his pulse was pounding wildly. Ms. Anna Murray Douglass was born in the town of Anna Murray Douglass in the state of Washington.

Where To Next?

Ruggles hosted Frederick Douglass for a few days, during which time he assisted him in formulating a strategy. First and foremost, Anna had to travel to New York in order for them to be married. It was a difficult undertaking for her because she couldn’t read and had to handle three trains and four boats. But she made it, and in David Ruggles’ parlor, they were united as husband and wife. New Bedford Harbor is a harbor in New Bedford, Massachusetts. After that, they had to pick where they would reside.

The whaling colony’s marine industries were available to African-Americans, and many fugitives from enslavement chose to settle in the city after escaping slavery.

Almost a third of the population has relocated from the South.

Rescuing Frederick Douglass

Ruggles handed up a five-dollar cash to Frederick Douglass. In Newport, where they had run out of money, he and Anna boarded a steamer with Anna. They encountered two Quakers, William Taber and Joseph Ricketson, during a stagecoach stop on their way to New Bedford. The men informed them that they needed to accompany them onto the stage. When the stage driver dropped them off in New Bedford, he took custody of their bags since they couldn’t pay him right away. The Nathan and Mary Johnson residences A old Quaker meeting house on Seventh Street, which is now the residence of Nathan and Mary Johnson, was the destination for the newlyweds, as advised by Taber and Ricketson.

  • Nathan took care of the cost and returned their luggage.
  • He was now known as Frederick Douglass, and he was free to go wherever he wanted.
  • McFeely expresses gratitude to Frederick Douglass in this poem.
  • Nathan and Mary Johnson’s properties are accessible for viewing by appointment only.
  • More information may be found by clickinghere.
  • abolitionists, African-Americans, Americans, Canada, Civil War, England, homes, journey, maritime, New Bedford, Newport, Quakers, railroad, slavery, stagecoach, trains, war, Wilmington, Yorkshire

Eastern Illinois University : Teaching with Primary Sources

However, many of the intriguing and lesser known elements of the Underground Railroad are not included in many textbooks, despite the fact that it is an essential part of our nation’s history. It is intended that this booklet will serve as a window into the past by presenting a number of original documents pertaining to the Underground Railroad. Broadsides, prize posters, newspaper clippings, historical records, sheet music, pictures, and memoirs connected to the Underground Railroad are among the primary sources included in this collection.

The Underground Railroad was a covert structure established to assist fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in the United States.

As a result, secret codes were developed to aid in the protection of themselves and their purpose.

Runaway slaves were referred to as cargo, and the free persons who assisted them on their journey to freedom were referred to as conductors.

Stations were the names given to the safe homes that were utilized as hiding places along the routes of the Underground Railroad. These stations would be identified by a lantern that was lighted and hung outside.

A Dangerous Path to Freedom

Traveling through the Underground Railroad to seek their freedom was a lengthy and risky trek for escaped slaves. Runaway slaves were forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, in a short amount of time in order to escape. They accomplished this while surviving on little or no food and with little protection from the slave hunters who were rushing after them in the night. Slave owners were not the only ones who sought for and apprehended fleeing slaves. For the purpose of encouraging people to aid in the capture of these slaves, their owners would post reward posters offering monetary compensation for assisting in the capture of their property.

  • Numerous arrested fugitive slaves were beaten, branded, imprisoned, sold back into slavery, or sometimes killed once they were apprehended.
  • They would have to fend off creatures that wanted to kill and devour them while trekking for lengthy periods of time in the wilderness, as well as cross dangerous terrain and endure extreme temperatures.
  • The Fleeing Slave Law of 1850 permitted and promoted the arrest of fugitive slaves since they were regarded as stolen property rather than mistreated human beings under the law at the time.
  • They would not be able to achieve safety and freedom until they crossed the border into Canada.
  • Aside from that, there were Underground Railroad routes that ran south, on their way to Mexico and the Caribbean.
  • He was kidnapped from his northern abode, arrested, and prosecuted in Boston, Massachusetts, under the provisions of this legislation.
  • After the trial, Burns was returned to the harshness of the southern states, from which he had thought he had fled.

American Memory and America’s Library are two names for the Library of Congress’ American Memory and America’s Library collections.

He did not escape via the Underground Railroad, but rather on a regular railroad.

Since he was a fugitive slave who did not have any “free papers,” he had to borrow a seaman’s protection certificate, which indicated that a seaman was a citizen of the United States, in order to prove that he was free.

Unfortunately, not all fugitive slaves were successful in their quest for freedom.

Harriet Tubman, Henry Bibb, Anthony Burns, Addison White, Josiah Henson, and John Parker were just a few of the people who managed to escape slavery using the Underground Railroad system.

He shipped himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a box that measured three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two feet in diameter. When he was finally let out of the crate, he burst out singing.


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.

  1. They represented a diverse range of ethnicities, vocations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  2. Due to the widespread belief that slaves were considered property, the freeing of slaves was perceived as a theft of slave owners’ personal belongings.
  3. Captain Jonathan Walker was apprehended off the coast of Florida while attempting to convey slaves from the United States to freedom in the Bahamas.
  4. 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!
  5. She never lost sight of any of them during the journey.
  6. He went on to write a novel.
  7. 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.

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