A Dangerous Path to Freedom. Traveling along the Underground Railroad was a long a perilous journey for fugitive slaves to reach their freedom. Runaway slaves had to travel great distances, many times on foot, in a short amount of time.
What was the Underground Railroad quizlet Chapter 14 Lesson 4?
The Underground Railroad is a system of cooperation to aid and house enslaved people who had escaped.
Where did the people in the South move to in the first part of the 1800s?
People in the South moved from Upper South to Deep South in the first part of the 1800s. The economy was mostly based on agriculture.
What were two large cities in the South in the mid 1800s?
Boston and New Orleans were two large cities in the South in the mid-1800s. The largest cities in the South were seaports or river ports. Railroads also contributed to the growth of some southern city. Chattanooga grew because it was an important seaport.
What types of work did enslaved people in cities do quizlet?
What types of work did enslaved people in cities do? They were bricklayers, factory hands, carpenters, servants, blacksmiths, day labor, etc.
How did slaves cope with being separated from their families quizlet?
How did slaves cope with being separated from their families? – It threatened their relationships with their husbands, who often had sexual relationships with female slaves. In 1839 a group of slaves in Cuba took over a ship, the __________, and attempted to sail it back to their homelands in Africa.
Why did the South lag behind in literacy 14 4?
The South lagged behind in literacy. People were spread out, so schools had to service a very large area with a small amount of people. Many Southerners also believed education was a private matter.
What were the effects of the massive influx of immigrants to the United States in the late 1800s?
What were the effects of the massive influx of Immigrants in the late 1800s? When all of the immigrants suddenly rushed into the US during the 1800s many people either lost their job or lost pay. When all of the immigrants got over here they needed jobs.
What was one hardship faced by many immigrants to the US quizlet?
Most immigrants suffered hardships like loneliness. Many came to America in steerage.
What was happening in the southern states during the early and mid 1800s?
A perfect storm. In the American South, the cotton industry grew alongside slavery. By the early 1800s, “King Cotton” and the institution of slavery had become linked in the antebellum South.
Why did slaves in the Upper South FEAR family separation?
Why did slaves in the Upper South fear family separation? Slaves could be sold at any time. → Slave families lived their daily routines with the anxiety and fear of separation.
What major events happened in the 1800s?
Events From the 1800 to 1809
- 1800. Napoleon Marches Into Austria. First use of the White House. United States Presidential Election.
- 1804. The Year New Jersey Abolishes Slavery. The Lewis and Clark Expedition. Napoleon Bonaparte Coronation.
- 1810. The first Oktoberfest. Beethoven “Fur Elise”
- 1815. Battle Of Waterloo. 1816.
What had forced North and South into a final debate over the future of slavery by 1850?
What had forced North and South into a final debate over the future of slavery by 1850? The disposition of land acquired in the war with Mexico. Beyond even racism, what motivated Southerners in their determination to expand slavery into the territories? The defense of property rights and ability to move that property.
Where Did enslaved people in cities often worked?
It is important to remember, however, that while some enslaved people worked on large cotton plantations, others worked in other types of agriculture, including tobacco, hemp (for rope-making), corn, and livestock. In Southern cities, many worked at a variety of skilled trades as well as common laborers.
Where and how did slaves live in the South quizlet?
Slaves mainly lived in the Black Belt (lower South) in one room cabins. They generally worked from dawn to dusk and had no rights; they lived in the constant fear of being sold.
what danger did enslaved african americans face when running away
The Deep South is defined as “an region largely coextensive with the historic cotton belt, extending from eastern North Carolina through South Carolina, west into East Texas, with expansions north and south along the Mississippi” in its fullest interpretation. After deciding to abandon their homes in various areas of the world in the late 1800s, people from all over the world made the decision to come to the United States. Many people traveled to the United States in search of economic opportunity because they were fleeing agricultural failure, land and employment shortages, rising taxation, and starvation in their home countries.
Which state was the last to free slaves?
Mississippi has become the thirteenth state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment. Following what is being referred to as a “oversight” by the state of Mississippi, the Southern region has become the last state to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which legally abolished slavery in the United States.
How was slaves treated?
Whipping, shackling, beating, mutilation, branding, and/or incarceration were all used as punishments for slaves. Punishment was most typically meted out in reaction to disobedience or perceived transgressions, although masters or overseers also mistreated slaves in order to show their power over the slave population.
What types of work did enslaved people in cities do quizlet?
Whipping, shackling, beating, mutilation, branding, and/or incarceration were all used as punishments for enslaved individuals. Discipline and perceived transgressions were the most common reasons for punishment, but masters and overseers sometimes employed corporal punishment to establish their power over their slaves.
What were the most common ways for slaves to obtain their freedom quizlet?
Whipping, shackling, beating, mutilation, branding, and/or incarceration were all used as punishments for enslaved people. Punishment was most typically meted out in reaction to disobedience or perceived transgressions, although masters or overseers occasionally mistreated slaves in order to demonstrate power.
Which of the following best explains how slaves expressed their attitudes toward slavery while the masters were watching?
In the presence of their masters, which of the following best describes how slaves expressed their opinions regarding slavery? They sang devotional songs that frequently dealt with themes of liberation and salvation. Although a federal statute forbidding the importing of slaves was in effect as late as the 1850s, slave smuggling occurred into the twentieth century.
Who created school?
Horace Mann is a fictional character created by author Horace Mann. Horace Mann is generally credited with establishing the contemporary form of our educational system. After being appointed Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1837, he laid forth his vision for a system of professional instructors who would instruct children in a structured curriculum of fundamental topics.
Who was the first teacher in the world?
“Horace Mann” is a fictional character created by American author Horace Mann in the early nineteenth century. Horace Mann is generally credited with creating the contemporary form of our educational system.
After being appointed Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1837, he laid forth his vision for a system of professional instructors who would instruct children in a structured curriculum of fundamental concepts.
Why did many plantation wives manage the plantation alone?
Why did so many plantation women take on the responsibility of running the plantation on their own? As a result of their husbands’ absence for business, they were responsible for the day-to-day operations of the plantation, from bookkeeping to overseeing the employees and slaves, among other responsibilities.
How did slaves keep their culture alive quizlet?
What methods did enslaved Africans use to maintain their culture? They created drums, banjos, and other instruments that were comparable to those they were familiar with from Africa. What methods did enslaved individuals use to try to escape slavery? They attempted to deceive the proprietors by working slowly, destroying tools, or pretending to be unwell, among other things.
What were the conditions like for African Americans in the North in the mid 1800s?
What were the living circumstances like for African Americans in the Northern United States during the mid-1800s? By the 1830s, slavery had all but gone in the northern hemisphere. Despite this, racial prejudice and discrimination continued to exist. Only a small number of African Americans possessed the ability to own property or vote.
What was a common punishment for runaway slaves?
Exactly what were the situation like for African Americans in the Northern United States during the mid-1800s? By the 1830s, slavery had all but vanished from the northern hemisphere’s population. Racism and bigotry continued to exist, though. Only a small number of African Americans possessed the ability to own land and vote.
How did slavery affect African society?
What were the living circumstances like for African Americans in the northern United States during the mid-1800s? By the 1830s, slavery had all but gone in the Northern hemisphere. But racial prejudice and discrimination continued to exist. There were few African Americans who were able to own property and vote.
Which race owns the most land?
When it comes to private agricultural property in the United States, Whites account for 96 percent of the owners, 97 percent of its value, and 98 percent of its acres.
What year could Blacks vote?
But in actuality, from roughly 1870 until the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the majority of Black men and women were essentially forbidden from participating in politics.
When was the antebellum period?
Antebellum,1832-1860 Between the foundation of the U.S. government and the commencement of the American Civil War, the antebellum period is defined as the time span between the two events. During this time period, the federal and state governments dealt with the paradox that was the institution of slavery in the United States.
What overall challenges did immigrants to the US face?
The Eight Most Difficult Obstacles to Overcoming for Immigrants
- These are the eight most significant difficulties that immigrants must overcome.
How did immigrants deal with the challenges they faced?
What strategies did immigrants use to deal with the difficulties they encountered? Immigrants looked for individuals who shared their cultural values, practiced their religion, and spoke their original language in order to integrate into society. They established social clubs and charitable organizations, as well as churches, orphanages, and residences.
Which group of immigrants faced the greatest challenges in the US Why?
The obstacles experienced by immigrants were met in various ways.
They looked for individuals who shared their cultural values, practiced their religion, and spoke their home language in order to integrate into their new communities. In addition to forming social clubs and help groups, they also constructed churches, orphanages, and other structures of their own.
What does Dirty South refer to?
This affectionate statement refers to the southern section of the United States — from Virginia through Florida, Texas, and all the states in between — whose Black customs and creative expressions have helped to form the culture of both the region and the country.
Is Texas really Southern?
The Southern area of the United States is described by the United States Census Bureau as consisting of sixteen states. Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee are the states that make up the East South Central region. Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas are the states that make up the West South Central region.
What Actually Happened When Slaves Were Freed
What was the Underground Railroad, exactly, and why did it exist? See more entries in the FAQ category.
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?
The Underground Railroad was first mentioned in 1831, when an enslaved man named Tice Davids managed to escape from Kentucky into Ohio and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his liberation. When a fugitive slave called Jim was apprehended in 1839 in Washington, the press said that the guy confessed his plan to travel north along a “underground railroad to Boston” while under torture. The Vigilance Committees, which were established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard escaped enslaved persons from bounty hunters, rapidly expanded their duties to include guiding enslaved individuals on the run.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman and her fellow fugitives used the following strategies to escape through the Underground Railroad:
How the Underground Railroad Worked
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
Those enslaved persons who were assisted by the Underground Railroad were primarily from border states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland (see map below). Fugitive slave capture became a lucrative industry in the deep South after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, and there were fewer hiding places for escaped slaves as a result. Refugee enslaved persons usually had to fend for themselves until they reached specified northern locations. In the runaway enslaved people’s journey, they were escorted by people known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were among the hiding spots.
Stationmasters were the individuals in charge of running them.
Others traveled north via Pennsylvania and into New England, while others passed through Detroit on their route to the Canadian border.
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.
Resistance and Abolition
Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad is a book about the Underground Railroad and the American Revolution. It was a pleasure to meet Fergus Bordewich. Road to Freedom: The Story of Harriet Tubman Catherine Clinton is a former First Lady of the United States of America who served as Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. Was it really the Underground Railroad’s operators who were responsible? Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is an American businessman and philanthropist who founded the Gates Foundation in 1993.
New Yorker magazine has published an article about this.
Negotiations and Insurrections
Everyday existence in a slave workplace was punctuated by a slew of little actions of everyday resistance. In spite of the fact that they were denied their freedom under the law, enslaved African Americans employed a number of techniques to challenge the authority of slaveholders and demand their right to direct their own lives. For the most part, slaveholders relied on involuntary labor to keep their enterprises running, and enslaved laborers took advantage of work slowdowns and absences to bargain for better working conditions.
- The risks and uncertainty of escape attempts were heightened by the fact that slaveholders offered high incentives for captured fugitives.
- The enslaved people on adjacent farms and plantations, as well as networks of free African Americans and European Americans, provided assistance to them along the route, and they eventually reached their destination.
- Among the forms of opposition that slaveholders dreaded the most was violent revolt.
- There was a series of violent revolts in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida in the early nineteenth century, culminating in the Southampton, Virginia, uprising, which was led by Nat Turner and resulted in the deaths of more than 50 European Americans.
Their efforts, on the other hand, were met with a quite different response in the North than they had anticipated. Visit African American Odyssey: Liberation Strategies for a more in-depth look at revolts and insurrections in the United States.
Calls for Abolition
While enslaved African Americans struggled against the restrictions of slavery in their everyday lives, another war was being waged in the public arena against the institution of slavery. African Americans had been speaking out against slavery since its inception, and they were frequently joined in their efforts by European Americans, but by the beginning of the nineteenth century, the campaign for slavery’s abolition on a national scale had reached a boiling point. African Americans were denied access to these rights because of the language of the American Revolution, which invoked inherent rights and universal freedom.
- By the 1820s, slavery had been abolished in most Northern states, many of which had not relied on slave labor in significant amounts for some time.
- Once-enslaved and free African Americans were in the forefront of the abolitionist movement, and they battled on a variety of fronts.
- In due course, a star team of powerful public speakers was assembled, ready to be dispatched to trouble spots at a moment’s notice.
- Henry Highland Garnet addressed African Americans who were still enslaved, urging them to take immediate and drastic action.
- Take action to protect your life and liberty.
- Allow every slave in the nation to do this, and the days of slavery will come to an end once and for all.
- We would rather die as free men than as slaves.
Some African American activists continued on the struggle in a more covert manner, working covertly and arranging daring operations to release fugitives from kidnappers and lynch mobs, among other things.
A significant portion of the conflict was carried on in print.
They engaged in verbal sparring with pro-slavery apologists in the pages of newspapers and periodicals, as well as putting up broadsides on city streets.
This resulted in the creation of a new genre of writing.
In both the North and the South, their printing presses were destroyed, their books were burned, and their lives were endangered.
With their continuous attacks on slaveholder sentiment in the South, the abolitionists increased the likelihood that the issue would finally be settled by open battle.
More information about the famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass may be found in the Frederick Douglass Papers, which are housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.
Eastern Illinois University : Teaching with Primary Sources
However, many of the intriguing and lesser known elements of the Underground Railroad are not included in many textbooks, despite the fact that it is an essential part of our nation’s history. It is intended that this booklet will serve as a window into the past by presenting a number of original documents pertaining to the Underground Railroad. Broadsides, prize posters, newspaper clippings, historical records, sheet music, pictures, and memoirs connected to the Underground Railroad are among the primary sources included in this collection.
- The Underground Railroad was a covert structure established to assist fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in the United States.
- As a result, secret codes were developed to aid in the protection of themselves and their purpose.
- Runaway slaves were referred to as cargo, and the free persons who assisted them on their journey to freedom were referred to as conductors.
- These stations would be identified by a lantern that was lighted and hung outside.
A Dangerous Path to Freedom
Traveling through the Underground Railroad to seek their freedom was a lengthy and risky trek for escaped slaves. Runaway slaves were forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, in a short amount of time in order to escape. They accomplished this while surviving on little or no food and with little protection from the slave hunters who were rushing after them in the night. Slave owners were not the only ones who sought for and apprehended fleeing slaves. For the purpose of encouraging people to aid in the capture of these slaves, their owners would post reward posters offering monetary compensation for assisting in the capture of their property.
- Numerous arrested fugitive slaves were beaten, branded, imprisoned, sold back into slavery, or sometimes killed once they were apprehended.
- They would have to fend off creatures that wanted to kill and devour them while trekking for lengthy periods of time in the wilderness, as well as cross dangerous terrain and endure extreme temperatures.
- The Fleeing Slave Law of 1850 permitted and promoted the arrest of fugitive slaves since they were regarded as stolen property rather than mistreated human beings under the law at the time.
- They would not be able to achieve safety and freedom until they crossed the border into Canada.
- Aside from that, there were Underground Railroad routes that ran south, on their way to Mexico and the Caribbean.
- He was kidnapped from his northern abode, arrested, and prosecuted in Boston, Massachusetts, under the provisions of this legislation.
- After the trial, Burns was returned to the harshness of the southern states, from which he had thought he had fled.
American Memory and America’s Library are two names for the Library of Congress’ American Memory and America’s Library collections.
He did not escape via the Underground Railroad, but rather on a regular railroad.
Since he was a fugitive slave who did not have any “free papers,” he had to borrow a seaman’s protection certificate, which indicated that a seaman was a citizen of the United States, in order to prove that he was free.
Unfortunately, not all fugitive slaves were successful in their quest for freedom.
Harriet Tubman, Henry Bibb, Anthony Burns, Addison White, Josiah Henson, and John Parker were just a few of the people who managed to escape slavery using the Underground Railroad system.
He shipped himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a box that measured three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two feet in diameter. When he was finally let out of the crate, he burst out singing.
Fugitive slaves who wanted to escape to freedom had a long and risky trip ahead of them on the Underground Railroad. It was necessary for runaway slaves to travel great distances in a short period of time, sometimes on foot. They did this while surviving on little or no food and with little protection from the slave hunters who were following after them in the streets. The pursuit of fleeing slaves was not limited to slave owners. For the purpose of enticing people to aid in the capture of these slaves, their owners would post reward posters promising cash to anybody who assisted in the capture of their property.
- Numerous apprehended fugitive slaves were beaten, branded, imprisoned, sold back into slavery, or sometimes killed once they were captured.
- In order to live lengthy amounts of time in the wilderness, people would have to battle off creatures that wanted to kill and devour them, navigate dangerous terrain, and contend with extreme temperatures.
- The Fleeing Slave Law of 1850 permitted and promoted the apprehension of fugitive slaves since they were viewed as stolen property rather than mistreated human beings under the terms of the legislation.
- Only after crossing into Canadian territory would they find safety and liberty.
- Aside from that, there were Underground Railroad routes that ran south from the United States to Mexico and the Caribbean.
- The man was apprehended at his northern residence, arrested, and prosecuted in Boston, Massachusetts, under the provisions of this law.
- Then, following the trial, Burns was returned to the harshness of the South, from which he had believed himself to have fled.
Both the American Memory and America’s Library divisions of the Libray of Congress are located in Washington, DC.
Frederick Douglass was yet another fugitive slave who managed to flee from his master’s grasp.
He pretended to be a sailor, but it was not enough to fool the authorities into believing he was one.
Fortunately, the train conductor did not pay careful attention to Douglass’ documents, and he was able to board the train and travel to his final destination of liberty.
Although some were successful in escaping slavery, many of those who did were inspired to share their experiences with those who were still enslaved and to assist other slaves who were not yet free.
Another escaping slave, Henry “Box” Brown, managed to get away in a different fashion.
He shipped himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a box that measured three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two feet wide, and weighed two pounds. His singing was heard as soon as he was freed from the box.
Efforts of Abolitionists Telling Their Story:Fugitive Slave Narratives
Henry Bibb was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner. After several failed efforts to emancipate himself from slavery, he maintained the strength and persistence to continue his struggle for freedom despite being captured and imprisoned numerous times. His determination paid off when he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then on to Canada with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, which had been highly anticipated. The following is an excerpt from his tale, in which he detailed one of his numerous escapes and the difficulties he faced as a result of his efforts.
- I began making preparations for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the shackles that tied me as a slave as soon as the clock struck twelve.
- On the twenty-fifth of December, 1837, the long-awaited day had finally arrived when I would put into effect my previous determination, which was to flee for Liberty or accept death as a slave, as I had previously stated.
- It took every ounce of moral strength I have to keep my emotions under control as I said goodbye to my small family.
- Despite the fact that every incentive was extended to me in order to flee if I want to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free, oh, man!
- I was up against a slew of hurdles that had gathered around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded soul, which was still imprisoned in the dark prison of mental degeneration.
- Furthermore, the danger of being killed or arrested and deported to the far South, where I would be forced to spend the rest of my days in hopeless bondage on a cotton or sugar plantation, all conspired to discourage me.
- The moment has come for me to follow through on my commitment.
- This marked the beginning of the construction of what was known as the underground rail route to Canada.
For nearly forty-eight hours, I pushed myself to complete my journey without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: “not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not a single house in which I could enter to protect me from the storm.” This is merely one of several accounts penned by runaway slaves who were on the run from their masters.
Sojourner Truth was another former slave who became well-known for her work to bring slavery to an end.
Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal experiences.
Perhaps a large number of escaped slaves opted to write down their experiences in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or perhaps they did so in order to help folks learn from the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future for themselves.
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.
First, a brief overview of the Underground Railroad’s history:
A Meme Is Born
As Blight correctly points out, the railroad has proven to be one of the most “enduring and popular strands in the fabric of America’s national historical memory.” Since the end of the nineteenth century, many Americans, particularly in New England and the Midwest, have either made up legends about the deeds of their ancestors or simply repeated stories that they have heard about their forebears.
It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.
Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who managed to escape to Ohio in 1831, and it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was invented as a result of his successful escape.
According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished as though “the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad.” This is a fantastic narrative — one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor — but it is improbable, given that train lines were non-existent at the time.
- The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839, was captured.
- constructed from Mason and Dixon’s to the Canada line, upon which fugitives from slavery might come pouring into this province” is the first time the term appears.
- 14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T.
Myth Battles Counter-Myth
It has proven to be one of America’s greatest “enduring and popular threads in the fabric of the nation’s national historical memory,” as Blight puts it so eloquently. Numerous Americans, particularly those in New England and the Midwest, have either made up stories about their ancestors’ adventures or simply repeated stories they have heard about them since the end of the nineteenth century. It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.
Because of his successful escape from Kentucky to Ohio in 1831, it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was developed as a result of his experience.
According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished, as though “the nigger must have gotten away on the subterranean railroad.” It’s a fantastic tale, and one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor, however the likelihood of this happening is remote given the lack of train infrastructure at the time.
The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839.
11, 1839, in an editorial by Hiram Wilson of Toronto, who called for the construction of “a great republican railroad.
14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T. Torrey invented the phrase in 1842, according to abolitionist Charles Torrey. As David Blight points out, the term did not become widely used until the mid-1840s, when it was first recorded.
Truth Reveals Unheralded Heroism
That’s a little amount of history; what about those urban legends? The answers are as follows: It cannot be overstated that the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement itself were possibly the first examples in American history of a truly multiracial alliance, and the role played by the Quakers in its success cannot be overstated. Despite this, it was primarily controlled by free Northern African Americans, particularly in its early years, with the most notable exception being the famous Philadelphian William Still, who served as its president.
- The Underground Railroad was made possible by the efforts of white and black activists such as Levi Coffin, Thomas Garrett, Calvin Fairbank, Charles Torrey, Harriet Tubman and Still, all of whom were true heroes.
- Because of the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the railroad’s growth did not take place until after that year.
- After all, it was against the law to help slaves in their attempts to emancipate themselves.
- Being an abolitionist or a conductor on the Underground Railroad, according to the historian Donald Yacovone, “was about as popular and hazardous as being a member of the Communist Party in 1955,” he said in an email to me.
- The Underground Railroad was predominantly a phenomena of the Northern United States.
- For the most part, fugitive slaves were left on their own until they were able to cross the Ohio River or the Mason-Dixon Line and thereby reach a Free State.
- For fugitives in the North, well-established routes and conductors existed, as did some informal networks that could transport fugitives from places such as the abolitionists’ office or houses in Philadelphia to other locations north and west.
(where slavery remained legal until 1862), as well as in a few locations throughout the Upper South, some organized support was available.
I’m afraid there aren’t many.
Furthermore, few dwellings in the North were equipped with secret corridors or hidden rooms where slaves might be hidden.
What about freedom quilts?
The only time a slave family had the resources to sew a quilt was to shelter themselves from the cold, not to relay information about alleged passages on the Underground Railroad that they had never visited.
As we will discover in a future column, the danger of treachery about individual escapes and collective rebellions was much too large for escape plans to be publicly shared.5.
No one has a definitive answer.
According to Elizabeth Pierce, an administrator at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, the figure might be as high as 100,000, but that appears to be an overstatement.
We may put these numbers into context by noting that there were 3.9 million slaves and only 488,070 free Negroes in 1860 (with more than half of them still living in the South), whereas there were 434,495 free Negroes in 1850 (with more than half still living in the South).
The fact that only 101 fleeing slaves ever produced book-length “slave narratives” describing their servitude until the conclusion of the Civil War is also significant to keep in mind while thinking about this topic.
However, just a few of them made it to safety.
How did the fugitive get away?
John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, as summarized by Blight, “80 percent of these fugitives were young guys in their teens and twenties who absconded alone on the majority of occasions.
Because of their household and child-rearing duties, young slave women were significantly less likely to flee than older slave women.
Lyford in 1896 reported that he could not recall “any fugitives ever being transported by anyone, they always had to pilot their own canoe with the little help that they received,” suggesting that “the greatest number of fugitives were self-emancipating individuals who, upon reaching a point in their lives when they could no longer tolerate their captive status, finally just took off for what had been a long and difficult journey.” 7.
What is “Steal Away”?
They used them to communicate secretly with one another in double-voiced discussions that neither the master nor the overseer could comprehend.
However, for reasons of safety, privacy, security, and protection, the vast majority of slaves who escaped did so alone and covertly, rather than risking their own safety by notifying a large number of individuals outside of their families about their plans, for fear of betraying their masters’ trust.
Just consider the following for a moment: If fleeing slavery had been thus planned and maintained on a systematic basis, slavery would most likely have been abolished long before the American Civil War, don’t you think?
According to Blight, “Much of what we call the Underground Railroad was actually operated clandestinely by African Americans themselves through urban vigilance committees and rescue squads that were often led by free blacks.” The “Underground Railroad” was a marvelously improvised, metaphorical construct run by courageous heroes, the vast majority of whom were black.
Gara’s study revealed that “running away was a terrible and risky idea for slaves,” according to Blight, and that the total numbers of slaves who risked their lives, or even those who succeeded in escaping, were “not huge.” There were thousands of heroic slaves who were helped by the organization, each of whom should be remembered as heroes of African-American history, but there were not nearly as many as we often believe, and certainly not nearly enough.
Approximately fifty-five of the 100 Amazing Facts will be published on the website African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. On The Root, you may find all 100 facts.