During the late 18th Century, a network of secret routes was created in America, which by the 1840s had been coined the “Underground Railroad”. Those who hid slaves were called “station masters” and those who acted as guides were “conductors”.
Who helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman, perhaps the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, helped hundreds of runaway slaves escape to freedom. She never lost one of them along the way.
Who were freedom seekers in the Underground Railroad?
These freedom sympathizers were known as “abolitionists.” The angry slave owner was heard to say, “He must have gone off on an underground railroad.”
Who were the people 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.
Who are some people who helped with the Underground Railroad?
These eight abolitionists helped enslaved people escape to freedom.
- Isaac Hopper. Abolitionist Isaac Hopper.
- John Brown. Abolitionist John Brown, c.
- Harriet Tubman.
- Thomas Garrett.
- 5 Myths About Slavery.
- William Still.
- Levi Coffin.
- Elijah Anderson.
What are freedom seekers?
A freedom seeker tends to be efficient, organized, neat and systematic in a crazy and fast-paced life. They tend not to be emotionally driven, but are more intellectual in life. They are extroverts so they often seek out the company of others.
How many slaves escaped to freedom using the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad and freed slaves [ estimated 100,000 escaped ] Not literally a railroad, but secret tunnels of routes and safe houses for southern slaves to escape to Canda for their freedom before the Civil War ended in 1865.
How did Fairfield help slaves escape?
Posing as a slaveholder, a slave trader, and sometimes a peddler, Fairfield was able to gain the confidence of whites, which made it easier for him to lead runaway slaves to freedom. One of his most impressive feats was freeing 28 slaves by staging a funeral procession.
How many people did they help to escape from slavery?
The “railroad” is thought to have helped as many as 70,000 individuals ( though estimations vary from 40,000 to 100,000 ) escape from slavery in the years between 1800 and 1865. Even with help, the journey was grueling.
Who founded the Underground Railroad to help fugitive slaves escape from the South quizlet?
About how many slaves did Harriet Tubman rescue? She rescued over 300 slaves using the network established by the Underground Railroad between 1850 and 1860. Who was William Still? He was a well-known abolitionist who was often called “the father of the Underground Railroad.” He helped hundred of slaves to escape.
What role did the Underground Railroad play?
The Underground Railroad provided hiding places, food, and often transportation for the fugitives who were trying to escape slavery. Along the way, people also provided directions for the safest way to get further north on the dangerous journey to freedom.
How did Southerners respond to the Underground Railroad?
Reaction in the South to the growing number of slaves who escaped ranged from anger to political retribution. Large rewards were offered for runaways, and many people eager to make money or avoid offending powerful slave owners turned in runaway slaves. The U.S. Government also got involved.
What did Frederick Douglass do?
Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author and public speaker. He became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War.
A secret network that helped slaves find freedom
This post is the second in a series 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 individuals, including those who are better known for other endeavors. It is possible to read the first post, ” Frederick Douglass: Free Folklorist,” at this link. During the year 1870, Frederick Douglass George Francis Schreiber captured this image on film. Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress The abolitionist community, with which Frederick Douglass had aligned himself in the 1850s, was confronted with a number of new concerns.
Individuals who took part in the Underground Railroad were branded as criminals as a result of this act.
Even though Douglass himself was no longer a slave, the operations of abolitionists like him and other abolitionists to aid runaway slaves had become significantly more risky.
As a passionate opponent of Clay, both personally and politically, Douglass believed that this arrangement would only help to prolong slavery and make northerners more complacent in their positions.
- The fact that Douglass had firsthand experience with the plight of slaves made it impossible for him to accept anything less than complete liberation for those who were still imprisoned in the institution.
- The following is an excerpt from an address delivered at the Broadway Tabernacle in New York City on page 12.
- Arguments against the increasing web of legislation that aimed to make slavery legitimate under the United States Constitution might be made through the use of law, particularly constitutional law.
- However, the work of certain ethnologists was being utilized in arguments in the United States Congress to promote the preservation of slavery at the time of the writing of this article.
- During a lecture to the Philozetian Society at Western Reserve College in Ohio in 1854, Douglass discussed “The Claims of the Negro.” Several ethnologists expressed their opinions on the question of race, which Douglass discussed in detail.
- European and American ethnologists were interested in finding a scientific foundation for prejudice against huge groups of people.
- To be prejudiced or blind is a state of mind; and scientific authors, no less than others, write to please as well as to enlighten, and (sometimes) compromise what is true in order to be popular.
As an example, if a phrenologist or naturalist sets out to depict the distinctions between the two races–the negro and the European–he would inevitably portray the greatest type of the European and the lowest type of the negro in their pictures.
After the Websterian moulding, this item has a regular and brow appearance.
– – Frederick Douglass delivered a graduation talk to the literary societies of Western Reserve College on July 12, 1854, entitled “The Claims of the Negro, Ethnologically Considered” (page 20) Washington, D.C.’s Frederick Douglass’s former residence (between 1980 and 2006).
Highsmith Archive, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, https://lccn.loc.gov/2011635152/.
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.
While some people saw northern Africans as being akin to Europeans, other others did not.
Yet everyone agreed on one thing: Sub-Saharan Africans were primitive and inferior in comparison to other races and cultures in Europe.
The fact that Douglass was in the business of disagreeing helped him comprehend the concepts that kept slavery alive, and this awareness provided him insight into ways of overcoming those views.
A large number of people in his audience would agree with his religious argument.
Douglass had a strong feeling that ethnologists who said Africans lacked intelligence were wrong.
Douglass was aware of other educated African Americans and African Europeans who he could point to as examples.
James McCune Smith, himself a colored man, a gentleman and scholar, alleges–and not without strong reason–that our own great nation, so known for industry and effort, is in large part due to its composite nature” (page 33).
Activists for abolition in Pennsylvania established a school in Philadelphia in 1837 for the training of African Americans to become educators.
Cheney University is what it is now.
Because two of my great-grandparents were alumni of this institution, I am familiar with it.
As a result, it was the country’s first completely co-educational and integrated institution of higher learning.
The fact that this college produced Charles Lewis Reason, the nation’s first African-American professor, comes as no surprise given its historical importance.
Some intellectuals used physical characteristics like as head size and stature as proof of European supremacy, saying that larger individuals with greater minds were superior.
A number of people at this time saw the Irish as a distinct race.
During his research, he discovered that Irish Americans in Indiana had changed significantly in only one generation.
As Douglass stated in this address, factors such as nutrition, labor conditions, and education may alter the physical traits that ethnologists asserted were static markers for race and denoting 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 to anthropological research.
Even though Douglass did not have access to the same amount of material as Boas, his conclusions were right.
) Intenet Archive has the complete text of this article available online.
Douglass asserts that, even if the commonality of African Americans and 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, equipped 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).
Many of his speeches contained a point at which he would proclaim to his audience, “I am a man!
A sad commentary on American history that a man of Douglass’ intellect felt the need to declare himself a human being on more than one occasion is warranted.
As a result of his observations, Douglass came to see how deeply entrenched the notion of distinct origins of supposed “races” had become in law and science, supporting a society set on inequity.
This was due to the fact that African Americans constituted such a large proportion of the population in some southern states that it was feared that Blacks would take control if they were given the vote.
Affirmative action on the Dred Scott decision In the June 1887 issue of Century Magazine Located at: Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress The turning point occurred four years after this speech.
Scott had been brought to the free state of Illinois, then the free territory of Wisconsin, and finally left on his own, where he married.
Then, once his owner died, he moved to Missouri and tried unsuccessfully to buy his freedom from the locals there.
In addition, it is possible that Scott was not aware 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 state that, as a result of his race, he had no rights under the Constitution and could not bring a lawsuit in federal court against the government.
Frederick Douglass’s address on the Dred Scott case reads almost as if it were a triumphant declaration.
The failure of some abolitionists led them to contemplate if the South should be permitted to secede from the Union, as had been urged, in order for the North to be able to construct a free society in the meanwhile.
We, the abolitionists and people of color, should, in one way or another, take this decision, as unjust and horrific as it looks, in a positive manner.
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 idea that people of color were inferior to Europeans, among other things.
For many years, Douglass correctly prophesied that the culture of slave ownership would morph into a culture of tyranny against freed slaves unless significant efforts were taken to restore the rights of freed slaves.
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 shared nature.
A satirical novel, “The Claims of the Negro,” is set in the United States of America (page 34) Resources Library of Congress holdings of the Frederick Douglass Papers
Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the southern United States by providing them with refuge and assistance. It came forth as a result of the convergence of numerous separate covert initiatives. Although the exact dates of its inception are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Civil War ended.
The Society of Friends (Quakers) is often regarded as the first organized group to actively assist escaped enslaved persons. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with Quakers for attempting to “liberate” one of his enslaved servants. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were on the run from slavery. Abolitionist organisations founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitive slaves during the same time period.
What Was the Underground Railroad?
According to historical records, the Quakers were the first organized organization to actively assist fugitive slaves. When Quakers attempted to “liberate” one of Washington’s enslaved employees in 1786, George Washington took exception to it. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were fleeing their masters’ hands. Abolitionist societies founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitives at the same time.
How the Underground Railroad Worked
The majority of enslaved persons aided by the Underground Railroad were able to flee to neighboring states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made catching fugitive enslaved persons a lucrative industry in the deep South, and there were fewer hiding places for them as a result of the Act. The majority of fugitive enslaved people were on their own until they reached specific places farther north. The escaping enslaved people were escorted by individuals known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were also used as hiding places throughout the war.
The personnel in charge of running them were referred to as “stationmasters.” There were several well-traveled roads that ran west through Ohio and into Indiana and Iowa.
While some traveled north via Pennsylvania and into New England, or through Detroit on their route to Canada, others chose to travel south. The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.
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 was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad during its heyday. When she and two of her brothers fled from a farm in Maryland in 1849, she was given the name Harriet (her married name was Tubman). She was born Araminta Ross, and she was raised as Harriet Tubman. They returned a couple of weeks later, but Tubman fled on her own again shortly after, this time making her way to the state of Pennsylvania. In following years, Tubman returned to the plantation on a number of occasions to rescue family members and other individuals.
Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other fugitive slaves to the Maryland state capital.
In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives who were assisting 400 escapees in their journey to freedom in Canada. Reverend Jermain Loguen, a former fugitive who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees on their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was established in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a trader. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary skills to find work.
Agent,” according to the document.
John Parker was a free Black man living in Ohio who worked as a foundry owner and who used his rowboat to ferry fugitives over the Ohio River.
William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born in New Jersey to runaway slaves parents who fled to Philadelphia as children.
Who Ran the Underground Railroad?
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.
Coffin eventually relocated to Indiana and then Ohio, where he continued to assist fugitive enslaved individuals no matter where he was.
Abolitionist John Brown worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and it was at this time that he founded the League of Gileadites, which was dedicated to assisting fleeing enslaved individuals in their journey to Canada. Abolitionist John Brown would go on to play a variety of roles during his life. His most well-known duty was conducting an assault on Harper’s Ferry in order to raise an armed army that would march into the deep south and free enslaved people at gunpoint. Ultimately, Brown’s forces were beaten, and he was executed for treason in 1859.
- The year 1844, he formed a partnership with Vermont schoolteacher Delia Webster, and the two were jailed for assisting an escaped enslaved lady and her young daughter.
- Charles Torrey was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland for assisting an enslaved family in their attempt to flee through Virginia.
- After being apprehended in 1844 while transporting a boatload of freed slaves from the Caribbean to the United States, Massachusetts sea captain Jonathan Walker was sentenced to prison for life.
- John Fairfield of Virginia turned down the opportunity to assist in the rescue of enslaved individuals who had been left behind by their families as they made their way north.
- 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.
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.
Myths About the Underground Railroad
When it comes to teaching African-American Studies today, one of the great delights is the satisfaction that comes from being able to restore to the historical record “lost” events and the persons whose sacrifices and bravery enabled those events to take place, never to be lost again. Among our ancestors’ long and dreadful history of human bondage is the Underground Railroad, which has garnered more recent attention from teachers, students, museum curators, and the tourism industry than any other institution from the black past.
- Nevertheless, in the effort to convey the narrative of this magnificent institution, fiction and lore have occasionally taken precedence over historical truth.
- The sacrifices and valor of our forefathers and foremothers, as well as their allies, are made all the more noble, heroic, and striking as a result.
- I think this is a common misconception among students.
- As described by Wilbur H.
Running slaves, frequently in groups of up to several families, were said to have been directed at night on their desperate journey to freedom by the traditional “Drinking Gourd,” which was the slaves’ secret name for the North Star.
The Railroad in Lore
Following is a brief list of some of the most frequent myths regarding the Underground Railroad, which includes the following examples: 1. It was administered by well-intentioned white abolitionists, many of whom were Quakers. 2. The Underground Railroad was active throughout the southern United States. Most runaway slaves who managed to make their way north took refuge in secret quarters hidden in attics or cellars, while many more managed to escape through tunnels. Fourteenth, slaves made so-called “freedom quilts,” which they displayed outside their homes’ windows to signal fugitives to the whereabouts of safe houses and safe ways north to freedom.
When slaves heard the spiritual “Steal Away,” they knew Harriet Tubman was on her way to town, or that an ideal opportunity to run was approaching.
scholars like Larry Gara, who wrote The Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad and Blight, among other works, have worked tirelessly to address all of these problems, and I’ll outline the proper answers based on their work, and the work of others, at the conclusion of this piece.
A Meme Is Born
Following is a brief list of the most popular misconceptions regarding the Underground Railroad, which includes the following: There were several reasons for this. 1. It was run by well-intentioned white abolitionists, many of whom were Quakers. In addition, there were Underground Railroad stations all across the Southern states. fugitive slaves who made their way north sought refuge in secret quarters hidden in attics or cellars, while many more managed to escape through underground passageways.
- In addition, the Underground Railroad was a large-scale operation that enabled hundreds of thousands of individuals to flee from their slavery.
- Seventh, the spiritual “Steal Away” was chanted to warn slaves that Harriet Tubman was on her way to town or that an ideal opportunity to run had arrived.
- First, a brief overview of the Underground Railroad’s historical development.
Myth Battles Counter-Myth
A brief list of some of the most frequent falsehoods regarding the Underground Railroad would contain the following items: 1. It was governed by well-intentioned white abolitionists, many of whom were Quakers. Second, the Underground Railroad was active across the Southern United States. Most runaway slaves who managed to make their way north took refuge in secret quarters hidden in attics or cellars, and many more managed to escape through tunnels. Fourteenth, slaves made so-called “freedom quilts,” which they displayed outside their homes’ windows to signal fugitives to the whereabouts of safe houses and secure ways north to freedom.
The Underground Railroad was a large-scale operation that enabled hundreds of thousands of individuals to escape their enslavement.
It was normal for whole families to flee at the same time.
Scholars such as Larry Gara, in his bookThe Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroadand Blight, among others, have worked tirelessly to address all of these objections, and I’ll outline the proper answers based on their work, as well as the work of others, at the end of this post.
First and foremost, a brief history of the Underground Railroad:
Truth Reveals Unheralded Heroism
A partial list of some of the most popular misconceptions regarding the Underground Railroad would include the following items: 1. It was run by well-intentioned white abolitionists, many of whom were Quakers. 2. The Underground Railroad ran throughout the southern United States. Most runaway slaves who managed to make their way north took refuge in secret quarters hidden in attics or cellars, while many others escaped through tunnels. 4. Slaves made so-called “freedom quilts” and hung them from the windows of their homes to notify escaping fugitives to the whereabouts of safe houses and secure paths north to freedom.
- The Underground Railroad was a large-scale operation that enabled hundreds of thousands of individuals to evade their enslavement.
- Entire families were frequently able to flee together.
- The spiritual “Steal Away” was used to warn slaves that Harriet Tubman was on her route to town, or that an ideal opportunity to run was approaching.
- First, a brief overview of the history of the Underground Railroad:
The Underground Railroad
At the time of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in their attempts to flee to freedom in the northern states. Subjects History of the United States, Social StudiesImage
Home of Levi Coffin
Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist. This was a station on the Underground Railroad, a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North during the Civil War. Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography. “> During the age of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the North, according to the Underground Railroad Museum.
Although it was not a real railroad, it fulfilled the same function as one: it carried passengers across large distances.
The people who worked for the Underground Railroad were driven by a passion for justice and a desire to see slavery abolished—a drive that was so strong that they risked their lives and jeopardized their own freedom in order to assist enslaved people in escaping from bondage and staying safe while traveling the Underground Railroad.
- As the network expanded, the railroad metaphor became more prevalent.
- In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as part of a larger organization.
- According to historical tales of the railroad, conductors frequently pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways out of plantation prisons and train stations.
- Often, the conductors and passengers traveled 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance in this day and age.
- Patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were usually on their tails, chasing them down.
- Historians who study the railroad, on the other hand, find it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.
- Eric Foner is one of the historians that belongs to this group.
- Despite this, the Underground Railroad was at the center of the abolitionist struggle during the nineteenth century.
- Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist.
- Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography.
- Person who is owned by another person or group of people is referred to as an enslaved person.
Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude). Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to flee to free states.
With the exception of promotional graphics, which normally link to another page that carries the media credit, all audio, artwork, photos, and videos are attributed beneath the media asset they are associated with. In the case of media, the Rights Holder is the individual or group that gets credited.
Tyson Brown is a member of the National Geographic Society.
The National Geographic Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration of the world’s natural wonders.
Gina Borgia is a member of the National Geographic Society. Jeanna Sullivan is a member of the National Geographic Society.
According to National Geographic Society’s Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society photographer.
- According to National Geographic Society researcher Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society researcher.
Sarah Appleton is a National Geographic Society researcher. Ms. Margot Willis, of the National Geographic Society, says
The text on this page is printable and may be used in accordance with our Terms of Service agreement.
- Any interactives on this page can only be accessed and used while you are currently browsing our site. You will not be able to download interactives.
Tracks to Freedom: The Inspiring Story of the Underground Railroad
The film from 2013 The film 12 Years a Slave pushed the most heinous period of American history to the forefront of the public’s attention. The majority of slaves perished while in service. The Underground Railroad, a network of safe homes and committed assistance that was established to aid those from slavery, was only known to a fortunate (and daring) few. The Underground Railroad, which has long been the stuff of legend and local culture, has been criticized for being either overstated or underrated.
Foner speaks from his office on New York’s Upper West Side, where he explains how a chance discovery in the Columbia University archives set him on a path of discovery, how one of George Washington’s concerns after the War of Independence was reclaiming his slaves, and why the Underground Railroad is something to be celebrated at a time when the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has roiled race relations in the United States.
In your own words, tell us about your discovery of Gay’s “Register of Fugitives” and how it influenced your decision to narrate this tale.
His documents are in this room, and she revealed to me one day that there was a small document in this room that dealt with fugitive slaves.
It was these two little notebooks titled “Record of Fugitives” that had the answers.
Because he was a journalist, he conducted interviews with them, and the resulting notebook is jam-packed with fascinating information about who owned these slaves, where they came from, how they escaped, who assisted them, how they arrived in New York, and where Gay sent them on their way to freedom in Canada.
- Please provide us with a brief profile.
- He was born in Massachusetts and began his abolitionist career about 1840-41, first as a public speaker and then as a writer.
- Abolitionists found themselves in a difficult climate in New York.
- Gay, on the other hand, was an admirably brave individual.
- His newspaper office also served as a sort of “station on the Underground Railroad,” with slaves traveling through from as far south as the Carolinas.
- Prior to the Civil War, the Underground Railroad was considered to be little more than a piece of local folklore.
- In both ways, the Underground Railroad has been presented in an inaccurate manner.
Some academics, on the other hand, consider it to be completely worthless.
A little plaque on the front door of every house in various communities in New England or upstate New York proclaiming, “This was a stop on the Underground Railroad” seems to be a common sight in these areas.
It was a work in progress.
It was primarily a network of local groups that interacted with one another.
During any given period of time in New York City, there were seldom more than a dozen persons actively working to aid slaves.
As a result, one should avoid exaggerating the situation.
Many people, including myself, were under the impression that the Underground Railroad was actually a railroad.
The exact origin of the name, as well as the date on which it was first used, are unknown.
However, by the 1840s, it had become commonly recognized as a metaphor for a hidden network of networks that assisted fugitives in their escape.
Slaves managed to escape in a variety of ways.
If you could get your hands on some “free documents” from someone in the upper South, you could hop on a train and go up to the northernmost part of the country via rail.
One portion of this narrative was brought to life in the film 12 Years a Slave.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is that it tells the narrative of a free man who is abducted and forced into slavery.
In New York City, there were gangs that preyed on black people, particularly children, and took advantage of their vulnerability.
The New York Vigilance Committee was the first group to establish the Underground Railroad, which was established in 1831.
Then they expanded their services to include fugitives passing through the city on their way to safety.
They just snatched them and returned them to their owners.
Your novel has a large number of heroes and heroines.
Please tell us about her and her business activities.
Unlike the majority of those who managed to flee, she returned multiple times during the 1850s.
If you were discovered assisting a fleeing slave in the South, the sanctions were severe and life-threatening.
As a result, anyone who attempted this in the South was taking a huge risk.
This record, the “Record of Fugitives,” has information about her two trips to New York City in 1855 and 1856, and she is mentioned in it.
That was an intriguing title, in my opinion.
Her reputation as someone of great courage had already preceded her at the time, despite the fact that the title “Captain” was not generally used to women at the time (it is a military rank).
Harriet Tubman emerged with four fleeing slaves, according to the author’s description in his book.
To what extent did Delaware play a role in the Underground Railroad?
This is a pretty small town, as you are well aware of.
Delaware, on the other hand, had nearly no slaves.
Wilmington was a strange place to be.
A Wilmington merchant called Thomas Garrett claimed to have aided 3,000 fleeing slaves over the span of around 30 years before to the Civil War, according to one of the Quakers who made the claim.
One of the fugitives, whose name appears in Gay’s records, informs him that he is wanted for murder “When I arrived in Pennsylvania, I knocked on a door and requested to be sent to a Quaker meeting.
In this narrative, please tell us about the British aspect of it.
Washington was up in New York, speaking with General Clinton, the leader of the British forces in the city.
At the period, the British government was not an abolitionist.
Clinton, on the other hand, stated, “We must follow through on our promises.
Indeed, I would appreciate it if you could keep an eye out for a couple of my slaves who I believe are in the area.” It’s a sign of the paradox that was built into American history from the beginning: that you have a war for liberty, but it’s being fought by slave owners in the first place.
The issue of fleeing slaves was one of the underlying irritants that contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War.
First and foremost, the authority of the Southern states to repatriate their fugitives is enshrined in the United States Constitution.
It doesn’t specify who is required to apprehend them or who bears accountability for this task.
For the first time, it became the responsibility of the federal government.
These cases would be heard by a new category of officials known as federal commissioners, who were appointed by the president.
In addition, it was retroactive.
This became a major source of contention between the North and the South.
Although the South desired this law, which overrode all of the powers granted to northern states, it was also an extremely bold display of national authority on the issue of slave trade and slavery.
Unarmed slave owners were slain in Pennsylvania as a crowd attempted to defend fleeing slaves from being captured by authorities.
This occurred in Syracuse at the same time.
In response, Southerners asked, “How can we trust the North when they willfully break federal law and constitutional rules when it comes to fugitive slaves?” Southerners asked.
What, if anything, has your perspective on early American history changed as a result of authoring this book?
So I’m not sure if my point of view has entirely shifted.
Because this was done in secrecy, no one knows what the precise numbers were.
In 1860, there were four million slaves in the United States, so this is a drop in the bucket.
However, I believe it to be a big accomplishment.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of racial animosity in this nation as a result of incidents involving the police, such as the one in Ferguson, Missouri.
A good example of black and white people working together in an inter-racial movement for a fair cause is shown here. And I believe we should be pleased with ourselves. Book Talk is curated by Simon Worrall. Subscribe to his blog atsimonworrallauthor.com or follow him on Twitter.
The Reality of the Underground Railroad
In the United States, the Underground Railroad was the term given to a loose network of activists who assisted enslaved persons from the American South seeking freedom in northern states or over the international border in Canada. William Still, an abolitionist, is credited with coining the phrase. There was no formal membership in the organization, and while particular networks did exist and have been recorded, the phrase is generally used to refer to anybody who assisted freedom seekers in their efforts to gain independence from oppressive regimes.
Because the Underground Railroad was a clandestine organization that created to defy federal laws prohibiting the assistance of freedom seekers, it did not keep any records of its activities.
However, much of the organization’s past has been cloaked in secrecy throughout the years.
Beginnings of the Underground Railroad
In 1840, the name “Underground Railroad” first appeared, but attempts by free Black Americans and sympathetic whites to aid enslaved persons in their quest for escape from slavery had begun much earlier. The historians have noticed that pockets of Quakers in the North, particularly in the Philadelphia region, formed a practice of assisting freedom seekers during the American Civil War. And, as early as the 1820s and 1830s, Quakers who had relocated from Massachusetts to North Carolina began assisting enslaved persons in their journeys to freedom in the northern states.
- His efforts culminated in the establishment of a network in Ohio and Indiana that assisted enslaved persons who had managed to escape slavery territory by crossing the Ohio River.
- They were unable to be apprehended and sent to servitude in the American South because of the British rule of Canada at the time.
- She returned to the area two years later to assist some of her family in evading capture.
- Tubman exhibited extraordinary bravery in her job, knowing that she would be killed if she were arrested in the South.
The Reputation of the Underground Railroad
The publication of reports concerning the enigmatic group in newspapers was not prevalent by the early 1850s. On November 26, 1852, a tiny story in the New York Times stated that “daily fleeing to Ohio, and through the Underground Railroad, reaching Canada” were enslaved persons in Kentucky. When it came to northern newspapers, the clandestine network was frequently depicted as a heroic undertaking. Stories of enslaved individuals who got assistance in escaping to safety were told in a very different way in the southern United States.
In the streets, the pamphlets were burnt, and northerners who were perceived to be interfering with the southern way of life were threatened with imprisonment or even murder.
Many individuals in the South regarded the concept of assisting freedom seekers in reaching safety as a nefarious endeavor to overthrow a way of life and perhaps incite revolts among enslaved people.
Counting the number of freedom seekers who received assistance is difficult to determine with certainty. It has been estimated that perhaps a thousand enslaved persons each year were able to escape to free territory and then be assisted in their journey to Canada.
Operations of the Underground Railroad
As early as the 1850s, newspaper articles concerning the enigmatic group were commonplace. For example, a brief item published in the New York Times on November 26, 1852 said that enslaved individuals in Kentucky were “daily fleeing to Ohio, and along the Underground Railroad, to Canada. The hidden network was sometimes depicted as a noble undertaking in northern newspapers. Enslaved persons who were helped to escape to safety were represented very differently in the South than they were in the North.
In the streets, the pamphlets were set ablaze, and northerners who were perceived to be interfering with the southern way of life were threatened with imprisonment or even execution.
Providing assistance to freedom seekers on their journey to safety was regarded as a treacherous attempt to overthrow a way of life and perhaps incite revolts among enslaved people in the South.
Counting the number of freedom seekers who received assistance is impossible to establish with certainty.