They helped African Americans escape from enslavement in the American South to free Northern states or to Canada. The Underground Railroad was the largest anti-slavery freedom movement in North America. It brought between 30,000 and 40,000 fugitives to British North America (now Canada).
Why did the Underground Railroad go to Canada?
- Underground Railroad. Between 1840 and 1860, before the American Civil War, enslaved Africans followed the North Star on the Underground Railroad to find freedom in Canada. It was not an actual railroad but a secret network of routes and safe houses that helped people escape slavery and reach free states or Canada.
Why did the slaves want to come to Canada?
Fearing for their safety in the United States after the passage of the first Fugitive Slave Law in 1793, over 30,000 slaves came to Canada via the Underground Railroad until the end of the American Civil War in 1865.
How did Canada end slavery?
The Slavery Abolition Act came into effect on 1 August 1834, abolishing slavery throughout the British Empire, including British North America. The Act made enslavement officially illegal in every province and freed the last remaining enslaved people in Canada.
What did the slaves call Canada?
in 1967, he mentioned that African-Americans in slavery often called Canada ” Heaven.” It was a code name used by people who were part of the Underground Railroad.
How many slaves escaped to Canada using the Underground Railroad?
In all 30,000 slaves fled to Canada, many with the help of the underground railroad – a secret network of free blacks and white sympathizers who helped runaways.
How many slaves did Canada have?
The historian Marcel Trudel catalogued the existence of about 4,200 slaves in Canada between 1671 and 1834, the year slavery was abolished in the British Empire. About two-thirds of these were Native and one-third were Blacks. The use of slaves varied a great deal throughout the course of this period.
Who banned slavery in Canada?
Abolishment of slavery in Canada In 1793, Governor John Graves Simcoe passed the Anti-slavery Act. This law freed enslaved people aged 25 and over and made it illegal to bring enslaved people into Upper Canada.
Who ended slavery?
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” effective January 1, 1863. It was not until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1865, that slavery was formally abolished ( here ).
Where did Harriet Tubman go in Canada?
According to the act, all refugee slaves in free Northern states could be returned to enslavement in the South once captured. Tubman therefore changed her escape route so that it ended in Canada. She then began and ended her rescues in St. Catharines, Canada West (Ontario), where she moved in 1851.
Did Harriet Tubman ever live in Canada?
Tubman had been living in North Street in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada West since 1851; that was her home and her base of operation. She had brought her parents and her entire family to St. Catharines where they lived safe from slave catchers.
Does any part of the Underground Railroad still exist?
Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today. The Hubbard House, known as Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard and The Great Emporium, is the only Ohio UGRR terminus, or endpoint, open to the public. At the Hubbard House, there is a large map showing all of the currently known sites.
5 Canadian stations of the Underground Railroad
One of the re-enactments of the Freedom Crossing (Wikimedia/Lynn DeLearie/ CC BY-SA 4.0). While there was no genuine railroad, there was a covert network of people — known as abolitionists — who assisted between 30,000 and 40,000 African Americans in their attempts to flee from slavery in the United States. Slaves who had been freed would find refuge in Canada, as well as in other northern states that had abolished slavery.
John Freeman Walls Underground Railroad MuseumLakeshore, Ontario
During the American Civil War, former slave John Freeman Walls and his white wife escaped from North Carolina and settled in Canada, where they established a family and constructed a log house. This cabin would go on to become one of Canada’s most renowned stations on the subterranean railroad, and it is still in use today.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic SiteDresden, Ontario
The abolitionist Josiah Henson served as the basis for the character Uncle Tom in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and his renowned cabin was based on a house in Ontario, where he lived at the time of the novel’s publication. Henson was also an abolitionist, and his New Dawn Settlement served as a safe haven for other fugitives fleeing the law. In 1830, he managed to flee to Canada from Kentucky.
Sandwich First Baptist ChurchWindsor, Ontario
The Sandwich First Baptist Church played an important role in the Underground Railroad’s journey through the town. Originally known as Olde Sandwich Towne, it is now a neighbourhood inside the city of Windsor, and was awarded to newly emancipated residents in 1847 by the then-Queen Victoria. As part of Sunday services, the ringing of a specific bell and the beginning of a specific spiritual hymn served as an alert for runaways to seek shelter in the church’s trap door dungeon when bounty hunters passed by.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia/Public Domain)
Buxton National Historic SiteChatham, Ontario
The Elgin Settlement, which was one of the last sites on the Underground Railroad, is commemorated at the Buxton National Historic Site Museum, which is located on the grounds of the site. This village, founded in 1849 by Rev. William King, was noted for its exceptional educational system and eventually developed into a self-sufficient community of around 2,000 people. Families descended from the first settlers who chose to remain in Canada continue to reside in Buxton today.
Birchtown National Historic SiteBirchtown, Nova Scotia
Long before the Underground Railroad was established, African-American residents from both French and English backgrounds established themselves in communities such as Annapolis Royal and Birchtown, New Brunswick. Following the American Revolutionary War, these communities not only became a haven for freed slaves looking for refuge north of the border, but also for former Black soldiers in the British colonial military forces, known as Black Loyalists, who were hoping to transfer north to Canada after the war.
Settlements in Canada
Written by Dr. Bryan Walls After the War of 1812, American officers stationed at Fort Malden (now Amherstburg, Ontario) brought back tales of a land where fugitive slaves were welcomed, which they shared with their fellow citizens in the United States. The outcome was that large numbers of enslaved freedom seekers were able to make their way to Amhersburg. During a trip of Upper Canada in 1844, the renowned abolitionist Levi Coffin characterized Amherstburg as “the chief terminal place in Canada of the Underground Railroad.” Between 1817 and 1822, the township of Ferry, which would eventually be known as Windsor and Sandwich Township, served as the initial refuge for many of the first significant wave of fugitives to enter Upper Canada.
The Matthew Settlement, Edgar, Mt.
Pleasant, Rochester and Harrow.
This town represented a ray of hope for a better life, a yearning shared by Underground Railroad migrants in colonies across Canada at the time of its founding.
The Refugee Home Society Settlement
My ancestors acquired land from the Refugee Home Society at the Puce River colony, which was then known as the Puce River Settlement. In the middle of the nineteenth century, there was woods and trees on every side. The Refugee Home Society Settlement land proposal was suggested by Henry Bibb, the founder of the “Voice of the Fugitive” newspaper, with assistance from the American Missionary Association, and was eventually approved. Lots were acquired and then resold to refugees at a low price on favorable circumstances.
- John and Jane Walls were worried about their personal safety as well as the protection of their children.
- When it came down to it, the truth was weirder than fiction.
- He is a Baptist, and his life narrative is a little strange.
- After his previous master passed away, his mistress relocated to Canada with her children, bringing this man with her.
- He owns a little farm and has paid off his debts.
- Wheeler, a former Oberlin student, now teaches at Little River Elementary School, which is a model of excellence.
- Because many policies and judgments were incorrect, the Refugee Home Society was unable to achieve the aims set out by its founding members.
Underground Railroad Settlements were located throughout Ontario, Canada
During the nineteenth century, small Black communities were firmly established in six areas of Canada West: along the Detroit frontier, that is at Windsor, Sandwich, and Amherstburg and their environs; in Chatham and its surrounding area, where the all-Black settlements of Dawn and Elgin were established; in what was then the central section of the province, particularly London and the Queen’s Bush; and in the Black settlement of Elgin, which was established in the late nineteenth century.” Beyond these concentrations of Black people, tiny groups of Blacks and individual Black Families were established across Canada’s western regions,” says the author.
The Elgin Settlement / The Buxton Mission
Buxton, Ontario, is home to one of the most successful Canadian communities. The Presbyterian minister Reverend William King created the Elgin Settlement, which contains the Buxton Mission. Following the death of his father-in-law, King acquired 14 slaves, to which he later added another before traveling north and freeing them all in the state of Ohio. King was resolved to establish a shelter for African-Americans who were entering Canada. On November 28, 1849, over the opposition of Edwin Larwill, a White radical, and other allies, King established the Elgin Settlement with the help of 15 slaves from the state of Ohio.
- The 360,000 acres of property in Raleigh Township were divided into 2,000 acre lots, which were acquired by new immigrants.
- A church and school building, as well as a post office, were constructed in the year 1850.
- Educating their children was extremely important to the settlers in Elgin, and their Buxton Mission School was significantly superior to the government-run schools.
- All were drawn to the university because of the high level of education provided.
- During the course of the settlement’s growth and development, the settlers overcame the antagonism and prejudice of their White neighbors.
- Education, hard effort, and imagination were all important factors in achieving liberation from slavery, just as they are today.
To Canada and Back Again: Immigration from the United States on the Underground Railroad (1840-1860)
The MA Public History Program at Western University students created this video.
Fugitive or Free?
Prior to 1850, runaway slaves who managed to make their way from the southern United States to the northern states were regarded to have gained their freedom. However, with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the northern states were no longer considered a safe haven for fugitive slaves. Slavecatchers may be able to apprehend and return escaped slaves to their respective masters. In addition, anyone who had escaped slavery by emigrating to a free state years previously may be deported back to servitude under certain circumstances.
The same threat existed for all free blacks, regardless of race.
Once they had crossed into Upper Canada, all men, women, and children were free to go wherever they wanted.
In his artwork “Effects of the Fugitive Slave Law,” artist Theodore Kaufmann expressed his opposition to the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. LC-USZC4-4550 is the Library of Congress’s catalog number for this item.
The Underground Railroad
In the United States, the Underground Railroad was a network of safe houses operated by abolitionists in both free and slave states, as well as Canada and the United Kingdom. Slavery was abolished because of the efforts of those who assisted slaves on their way to freedom – free blacks, Quakers, and other campaigners – who risked their lives fighting against it. Despite the fact that there was never a true railroad, safehouses were referred to as stations, and those who lived in them were referred to as stationmasters.
New Land, New Life
In Canada West (previously Upper Canada), black males were granted the ability to own property and vote if they satisfied certain qualifications regarding ownership of property. It was possible for all black people to make a living, get married, and establish a family. Building a new life in Canada was made possible thanks to the help of the Canadian government and abolitionist organisations in both Canada and the United States of America. Refugees were permitted to purchase land at a discounted cost, and educational subsidies were made available to them.
Did You Know?
The province of Upper Canada was renamed Canada West in 1841, and now it is a component of the modern-day Canadian province of Ontario.
When escaped slaves first arrived in Canada West, the vast majority of them chose to live near the United States border. Because of this, they were able to remain closer to family relatives who were distributed around the United States. During this time period, white folks acted in a largely neutral manner toward them. When fugitive slaves began to arrive in greater numbers in the United States around 1840, white residents began to feel threatened. Some people were concerned that these escaped slaves would be unable to work and would be forced to rely on government help instead.
The petition was eventually signed by over 100,000 people.
Most of the first wave of escaped slaves to arrive in Canada West made their way to areas near the American frontier. This enabled them to be closer to their family members who were scattered around the United States as a result of the relocation. They were treated largely indifferently by white inhabitants throughout this period. Fugitive slaves began to arrive in greater numbers in the United States around 1840, causing terror among white inhabitants. A number of people were concerned that these escaped slaves would be unable to work and would be forced to rely on government help.
A petition to restrict the Canadian border to all new black immigration was begun by inhabitants of Canada West during the American Civil War. Following the abolition of slavery, they were concerned about an uncontrollable flood of freshly liberated blacks.
Josiah Henson was born a slave in Maryland in 1789, and he and his family finally escaped to Canada in 1830, where they settled. Dawn Township, which later became known as the Dawn Colony, was built by him as an all-Black settlement. Henson made a name for himself as a Methodist preacher in the area, and he believed strongly in the significance of providing work and educational opportunities for black immigrants. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was first published in 1852, was based on the life of Uncle Tom.
A neighborhood leader and “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, Josiah Henson was well-respected in his day.
Making Their Mark
Wherever they landed across Canada, black immigrants who arrived to the country via the Underground Railroad made significant contributions to the well-being of their respective communities. Many of them went on to become farmers, raising crops such as wheat, peas, tobacco, and hemp. Others were experienced tradespeople who worked as blacksmiths, shoemakers, and wagon makers, among other things. The majority of black women, like their white counterparts, did not have jobs outside the house. They cared for their children or earned a living as seamstresses and washerwomen in the factories.
Mrs. Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893), the daughter of an Underground Railroad “station master,” was an abolitionist pioneer and advocate for black refugees who came to Canada during the American Civil War. C-029977 is the number assigned by Library and Archives Canada. A number of publications were established in order to raise awareness of the opportunities available to black people in Canada, to disseminate news, and to advocate for the abolition of slavery. One of the early black newspapers in Canada, The Voice of the Fugitive was established in Sandwich, Canada West, in 1851 and was one of the country’s first black publications.
Following that, Mary Ann Shadd Cary started another newspaper, the Provincial Freeman, which she published until her death.
Shadd Cary was the first black woman to be elected to political office in the United States.
The Voice of the Fugitive was one of the first periodicals in Canada West to be published in order to raise awareness of the possibilities and services available to African-Americans. Amistad Research Center/American Missionary Association Archives ama0015 (Voice of the Fugitive, 1851).
Did You Know?
After meeting certain requirements, black men were granted the right to vote upon their arrival in Canada. Women in Canada were not granted the right to vote in federal elections until 1919, and Aboriginal people were not granted the right to vote until 1960.
While on the surface, life looked to be far better in Canada, this newfound independence had its limitations. Despite the fact that slaves were granted freedom in Canada, they were nevertheless subjected to racism, persecution, and discrimination. Blacks were pushed away from Canada as a result of these beliefs, while other circumstances drew them back towards the United States over time. The passage of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which ended slavery, resulted in a significant improvement in the conditions of black people in the United States.
Those who remained in Canada continued to make contributions to their communities, and over time, they were successful in breaking down many racial barriers.
Upper Canada’s John Graves Simcoe signs the Act Against Slavery into law in the year 1793. The British Emancipation Act of 1834 formally abolishes the system of slavery across the British Empire, with the exception of the colonies. The Dawn Settlement is established near Dresden, Canada West, in the year 1842. The Elgin Settlement, Canada West, is established in 1849. The Fugitive Slave Act is passed in the United States of America in 1850. Sandwich, Canada West, is the site of the inaugural publication of The Voice of the Fugitive newspaper in 1851.
- Henry W.
- The American Civil War began in 1861.
- The American Civil War comes to a conclusion in 1865.
- – In Washington, D.C., Mary Ann Shadd Cary succumbs to her injuries.
The story of slavery in Canadian history
The role that Canada played as a safe haven for Americans escaping captivity by way of the Underground Railroad is something that Canadians take great pleasure in when they talk about slavery in the mid-1800s. It’s important to note that this is only part of the tale. Similarly to the United States, this nation has a long history of slavery, which we should never forget – and which we should never forget about. When did slavery first occur in the territory that is today known as Canada? Even before the advent of Europeans, slavery in what is now Canada existed, with certain Indigenous peoples enslaving prisoners of war captured during battle.
- The Europeans, in contrast to Indigenous people, saw enslaved people less as human beings and more as property that could be purchased and sold.
- Around 1732, a man was captured and enslaved by the Fox Indians, also known as the Népissingué.
- Photo courtesy of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s Department of Stamps and Photographs (EST OF-4).
- He will be put to death if he commits a third offense.
- The Code Noir appears to have been utilized as customary law in New France, despite the fact that there is no evidence that it was legally declared in the region.
- Slavery was a regular practice in the region at the time of the invasion.
- 2 The great majority of them were indigenous (often referred to as Panis 3), but Black enslaved people were also there as a result of the transatlantic slave trade, which brought them to the region.
- A significant part of the transatlantic slave trade’s influence on the prevalence and function of slavery in Canadian history may be traced back to this trade.
- European merchants would set sail from Europe for Africa, transporting their wares aboard ships filled with cargo.
- The remaining enslaved people in the Americas would be sold, and the products created by slave labor would be transported back to Europe for resale.
Millions of African men and women were denied their fundamental human rights as a result of this thinking on the part of slavers. 4
A map depicting the route of the transatlantic slave trade. It was through this path that many millions of enslaved individuals were transported to the Americas, and some of those people were subsequently enslaved in Canada. Illustration of the deck plans of a late 18th-century British ship that was used to transport enslaved people from Africa to the Americas, courtesy of the CMHRIllustration of the deck plans of a late 18th-century British ship that was used to transport enslaved people from Africa to the Americas, courtesy of the CMHRI Photo courtesy of the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.
Slavery in the British North American colonies After the British capture of New France in 1763, slavery remained in place throughout the country. The region was later called British North America, and Black enslaved people took the place of Indigenous enslaved people in the process of replacement. When compared to the United States, enslaved persons made up a far smaller share of the population in British North America than they did in the United States. Because of this, some of the more heinous characteristics of slavery in America, such as the hiring of overseers and the horrifying practice of forcibly reproducing enslaved individuals, did not exist in what is now Canada.
- Because of the nature of slavery, its victims were deprived of their fundamental human rights and were subjected to exploitation.
- 5 Enslaved persons who were defiant or difficult were frequently subjected to harsh punishment.
- If I had the desire to hire troops, which is not the case, they would fail me, and Canadians will work for no one but themselves if they are given the opportunity.
- A letter from General James Murray, the British governor of Quebec, in 1763, seeking the employment of enslaved persons as labor.
- A copy of it was published in the Quebec Gazette in May 1785.
- Photo courtesy of the Quebec Gazette Enslaved individuals frequently expressed their opposition to the institution of slavery.
- According to historical records, in 1777, many enslaved persons managed to flee from British North America into the state of Vermont, which had abolished slavery the previous year.
A large number of enslaved persons attempted similar attempts to break free from their bonds.
This is something that has to be recognized in Canada.
Here we’re speaking of enslaved Africans.who were subjected to a variety of physical and psychological abuse while living in these Canadian colonies.
Indentured slavery has a long history in Canadian history.
Individuals who agreed to perform unpaid labor for a specified number of years in exchange for transportation, lodging, and food were considered to be indentured servants under the system of indentured servitude.
Indentured servants were allowed to leave at the conclusion of their contracts, and they were occasionally compensated with land and commodities.
The offspring of enslaved individuals were also considered property, resulting in slavery being passed down through generations.
When an enslaved man called Dimbo Suckles was liberated from slavery on Prince Edward Island in 1796, he did so only on the condition that he serve for his former master as an indentured servant for seven years, from 1796 to 1803.
9 The abolition of slavery in British North America began in the late 1700s.
It was on March 25, 1807, that the slave trade was banned throughout the British Empire, which included British North America, making it illegal to buy or sell human beings and effectively putting an end to much of the transatlantic slave trade.
By that time, certain Canadian provinces had already taken steps to prohibit or eliminate slavery.
In addition to making it unlawful to import enslaved individuals into Upper Canada, the legislation specified that children born to enslaved people would be released when they reached the age of 25.
7On Prince Edward Island, the Assembly declared the total abolition of slavery in 1825, nine years before the Imperial abolition of slavery in 1834.
A great chapter in Canadian history, the narrative of the Underground Railroad ought to be remembered and commemorated.
The fact that slavery existed in our country for more than two hundred years should not be forgotten, either. This narrative was produced based on research performed by Mallory Richard, a former researcher and project coordinator at the Centre for Medical Humanities and Research (CMHR).
- 2Robin Winks, The Blacks in Canada: A History, second edition (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-University Queen’s Press, 1997), 9
- 3Refers to the “Pawnee,” an Indigenous nation that inhabited the basin of the Missouri River. 1Charles G. Roland, “Slavery” in the Oxford Companion to Canadian History, 585
- The Canadian Museum of History’s Virtual Museum of New France has sections on population and slavery (accessed on August 22nd, 2018)
- 4James A. Rawley, The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History (Dexter, MI: Thomson-Shore Inc., 2005), 7
- 5Winks, The Blacks in Canada, 53
- 6Ken Alexander and Avis Glaze, Towards Freedom: The African-Canadian Experience (Toronto: Umbrella Press, 1996), 29
- 7 Slavery is prohibited from being introduced into the country further, and the duration of servitude contracts is limited. Upper Canada’s Statutes, number 33. The Archives of Ontario have a copy of George III, Cap. 7, 1793. Jim Hornby, Black Islanders: Prince Edward Island’s Historical Black Community (Charlottetown: Institute of Island Studies, 1991), p. 8. Jim Hornby, Black Islanders: Prince Edward Island’s Historical Black Community (Charlottetown: Institute of Island Studies, 1991), p. 8.
Explore Black Canadian history
Written by Matthew McRae In the unlikely event that you have never heard of Africville, you are not alone; the terrible narrative of this little Black town in Nova Scotia is not as well known as it ought to be.
Black sleeping car porters
In a movie theater, Viola Desmond refused to give up her seat, and in doing so, she contributed to the civil rights struggle in Canada. She is now shown on the $10 note.
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 Quakers are often regarded as the first organized group to actively assist enslaved persons who had escaped. In 1786, George Washington expressed his displeasure with Quakers for attempting to “liberate” one of his enslaved servants. In the early 1800s, Quaker abolitionist Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia to assist enslaved persons who were fleeing their oppressors. Meanwhile, Quakers in North Carolina formed abolitionist organizations that provided the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitives.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was founded in 1816, was another religious organization that took an active role in assisting fleeing enslaved persons.
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.
The Underground Railroad
Abolitionists in Upper Canada were also active in a more clandestine fight against slavery in North America known as the Underground Railroad, which was headed by abolitionists in the United States. By the middle of the nineteenth century, abolitionists and Quaker supporters had constructed the Underground Railroad to aid enslaved Blacks in their attempts to flee from the southern United States to Canada. The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad in the traditional sense.
- One of its most remarkable characteristics was the lack of a formal structure to it.
- The road to freedom was not an easy one to travel.
- In order to escape being kidnapped, they typically journeyed at night and hid in marshes and forests during the day to avoid being apprehended by the authorities.
- Many people risked their lives after establishing themselves in Canada in order to return to the United States and assist their fellow brothers and sisters in achieving freedom in the country.
- Tubman was born in 1820 in Virginia and fled slavery as a young lady before settling in St.
- During her stint as a guide on the Underground Railroad, she returned to the United States 19 times, each time risking her own life to assist others in their attempts to get to Canada.
Fugitive Slaves in Canada, African American Community during Slavery, African American Identity: Vol. I, 1500-1865, Primary Resources in U.S. History and Literature, Toolbox Library, National Humanities Center
|8.||CanadaWhen Great Britain abolished slavery in its empire in 1834,thus making all its possessions free territory, thousands of African Americans escaped to the refuge of Canada. The migration was further spurred in 1850 with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act that permitted the capture and return of escaped slaves anywhere in the U.S.—thus the North was no longer a safe haven for escaped slaves. Up to thirty thousand slaves fled to Canada and, as in the northern U.S., many free blacks joined together to provide aid and advice. Henry Bibb and Josiah Henson, themselves escaped slaves (whose narratives are excerpted in this Toolbox), formed the Refugees’ Home Colony in Canada in 1851, and Bibb established the first black newspaper in Canada, theVoice of the Fugitive. In an anti-slavery meeting (ca. 1850), Bibb delivered a welcome statement to fugitive slaves arriving in Canada. Interwoven in his brief statement are the themes of self-determination, self-respect, and, at last, self-ownership.Fugitive settlements in Canada grew steadily, primarily in western Ontario. In 1855 the white abolitionist Benjamin Drew travelled through “Canada West” to interview fugitive slaves who had settled there, publishing theirnarratives inA North-Side View of Slavery: The Refugee(the narratives of John Little and his wife are included in Theme I: ENSLAVEMENT: Runaways). In these selections we read from Drew’s descriptions of seven fugitive communities—from large planned settlements developed by anti-slavery activists, to groups of African Americans in large Ontario cities, to isolated backcountry groups of black farmers—and of the “True Bands” which he describes as “colored persons of both sexes, associated for their own improvement.” Brief excerpts from fifteen of the fugitives’ narratives are included. How did newly free African Americans create communities for themselves in the safe haven of Canada? (8 pages.)Discussion questions|
- What strategies did escaped slaves use to establish communities for themselves in Canada’s safe haven? What kind of assistance did they receive from others (both black and white)? What was the difference between their experiences and those of fugitive slaves who remained in the northern United States
- Was the sense of community among runaway slaves impacted by their slave past, their escape experience, and the dangers to their security, even if they were operating in free territory? Compare and contrast the “True Bands” in Canada with other groups formed by African Americans for the benefit of both communities (see5: Mutual Benefit.) What needs and goals were identified as being of the utmost importance by these groups
- What was the motivation for Benjamin Drew’s publication of The Refugee, and who was the intended audience? To eliminate what rumors, “doubt, and bewilderment” was he attempting to achieve
- What both hampered and aided the attempts of antebellum African Americans to unite their communities
- Comparisons may be made between the migration experiences of these African Americans and those who moved to the northern United States in the early twentieth century (see The Making of African American Identity, Vol. III, Theme II: MIGRATIONS).
|Supplemental SitesCanada: The Promised Land, in In Motion: The African American Migration Experience, from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library)The Black Canadian Experience in Ontario, 1834-1914: Flight, Freedom, Foundation, from Archives of OntarioThe Underground Railroad: Niagara’s Freedom Trail, from the City of St. Catharines, Ontario, CanadaA North-Side View of Slavery: The Refugee, 1856, by Benjamin Drew, full text in Documenting the American South, from the University of North Carolina LibraryInterviews with five fugitive slaves in Canada, in Drew,A North-side View of Slavery, 1856, in From Revolution to Reconstruction, University of Groningen, The NetherlandsAccount of escape to Canadathrough Wisconsin, from the Wisconsin Historical SocietyHistory of Buxton, early African American community in Ontario, Canada, from the Buxton National Historic Site and MuseumOn fugitives in Mexico:Rebellion: John Horse and the Black Seminoles, from J. B. Bird and the Southwest Alternate Media ProjectGeneral Resourcesin African American HistoryLiterature, 1500-1865|
At Canadian end of Underground Railroad, issues not all black and white
When fleeing slaves arrived in Canada, they were able to form communities for themselves. In what ways did others (both black and white) assist them; and When compared to the experiences of escaped slaves who remained in the northern United States, what differences did they notice? Specifically, how was the feeling of community among runaway slaves impacted by the experiences of slavery, their escape experiences, and the dangers to their safety even though they were in free territory? Compare and contrast the “True Bands” in Canada with other organizations founded by African Americans for the benefit of both populations (see5: Mutual Benefit.) How did these groups choose which needs and goals were the most important to them?
In order to refute rumors, he needed to create “doubt and bewilderment.” African Americans in the antebellum period faced a number of obstacles, some of which aided others.
III, Theme II: MIGRATIONS).
Why We Wrote This
Canada has long been seen as a safe refuge for people in the United States who wish to remain out of reach of the authorities. However, Canada’s position as a host is more complicated – and at times less inviting – than its image might lead one to believe. Niagara Falls, New YorkDeirdre Reynolds leads a group of 12- and 13-year-old boys from Buffalo to a recreation of a suspension bridge that formerly crossed the Niagara River, according to the New York Times. “Can you tell me what that says?” she inquires before they go in a single file.
“The Slave Trade in the United States.” One of the boys inquires as to whether or not he should flee.
Why We Wrote This
Canada has long been seen as a safe refuge for people in the United States who wish to remain out of reach of the authorities. However, Canada’s position as a host is more complicated – and at times less inviting – than its image might lead one to believe. However, the youngster is correct in his question: Visitors to the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center may retrace the steps of enslaved black Americans who fled the United States for their lives and made their way to Canada through an interactive exhibit.
- A significant portion of the history lesson is devoted to the hundreds of “freedom seekers” and black abolitionists who assisted them in their escape, particularly in the years preceding up to the American Civil War.
- The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and the Abolition of Slavery is observed on August 23.
- And according to Ally Spongr, the center’s director and curator, their goal is to connect the past to the present in order to urge visitors to reflect on the reasons for the desire to flee, the difficult reality of being welcomed, and the morality of the roles that the participants adopt.
- She believes that even at this border, Americans may be well informed in what happens at the Mexican border, without recognizing that foreigners are also crossing here to leave the United States, according to her.
- They, on the other hand, continue to arrive.
- “Some people are saying, ‘I’m scared.’ The facility, which opened in May and is attached to a railway station that shares space with the United States Customs and Border Protection, which is perhaps appropriate given the experience, says Ms.
- “I need to go out of the country,” she adds.
- The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, located next to the Niagara Falls Amtrak Station and the United States Customs and Border Protection, opened its doors in May.
- Since the creation of the United States, when colonies loyal to the British Crown fled to Canada before and after the American Revolution, Canada has acted as a safe haven for Americans.
- When President Trump was elected president of the United States in 2016, leftist Americans took to social media to express their desire to relocate to Canada.
Karolyn Smardz Frost, a Canadian historian and novelist whose book “Steal Away Home” tells the story of an enslaved woman’s escape north and return home, says the notion of the underground railroad, and the idea of being the terminal of the underground railroad, “was pretty popular.” “It was an attempt to one-up the Americans to a certain extent.
- In contrast to placing migrants in shackles, we are the ones who have an open-door policy and wrap blankets over them.” However, she points out that the truth is far more convoluted.
- After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, support for the abolitionist cause began to erode in certain quarters, giving rise to concerns about a major exodus of black refugees from the United States.
- It has frequently been romanticized, according to Jodi Giesbrecht, manager of research and curation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
- The amount of bigotry and discrimination that existed here and that runaway slaves were subjected to, she believes, is not fully appreciated by the general public.
In her words: “I believe it is critical not to portray either the history of individuals coming to Canada or the present in unduly simplified ways.” “When we think of Canada as indisputably hospitable, we forget to see the challenges and prejudice that many individuals in our country are subjected to.
Reynolds attempted to impart this knowledge to her school-age students.
No one has stated that he would.
“And many more people stood by and watched it all unfold,” she explains, imparting a lesson that is as relevant now as it was back in the nineteenth century.
They believe you were either for or against slavery, depending on your point of view. However, a large number of people choose to do nothing at all.”