What Did Frederick Douglass Call The Underground Railroad?

Douglass adds that the underground railroad (an organized system of cooperation among abolitionists helping fugitive slaves escape to the North or Canada) should be called the “upperground railroad,” and he honors “those good men and women for their noble daring, and applauds them for willingly subjecting themselves to

Why does Douglass call the Underground Railroad the Upperground railroad?

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

Why did the slaves call it the Underground Railroad?

(Actual underground railroads did not exist until 1863.) According to John Rankin, “It was so called because they who took passage on it disappeared from public view as really as if they had gone into the ground. After the fugitive slaves entered a depot on that road no trace of them could be found.

Did Frederick Douglass Support the Underground Railroad?

The famous abolitionist, writer, lecturer, statesman, and Underground Railroad conductor Frederick Douglass (1817–1895) resided in this house from 1877 until his death. He was a leader of Rochester’s Underground Railroad movement and became the editor and publisher of the North Star, an abolitionist newspaper.

What was the Underground Railroad in your own words?

The Underground Railroad was a network of people, African American as well as white, offering shelter and aid to escaped enslaved people from the South. It developed as a convergence of several different clandestine efforts.

Why does Frederick Douglass criticize the Underground Railroad?

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

What did Frederick Douglass do?

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author and public speaker. He became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War.

What were two common terms known to be associated with the Underground Railroad?

The code words often used on the Underground Railroad were: “tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who helped the slaves connect to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in

Who coined the term Underground Railroad?

The actual phrase “Underground Railroad” first appeared in the Liberator on Oct. 14, 1842, a date that may be buttressed by those who assert that the abolitionist Charles T. Torrey coined the phrase in 1842. In any event, as David Blight states, the phrase did not become common until the mid-1840s.

Does the Underground Railroad still exist?

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

When did Frederick Douglass join the Underground Railroad?

In the summer of 1838 he was working as a caulker for $9 a week at Butler’s Shipyard in Baltimore – and giving all but 25 cents of his earnings to his master. Frederick Douglass was determined to escape to freedom. On Sept. 3, 1838, Frederick Douglass stepped onto a train in Baltimore.

How many slaves used the Underground Railroad?

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

What is the name of Underground Railway Germany?

The U-Bahn or Untergrundbahn (underground railway) are conventional rapid transit systems that run mostly underground, while the S-Bahn or Stadtschnellbahn (city rapid railway) are commuter rail services, that may run underground in the city center and are classified as metro railways.

Who was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad?

Our Headlines and Heroes blog takes a look at Harriet Tubman as the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman and those she helped escape from slavery headed north to freedom, sometimes across the border to Canada.

What happened to runaway slaves when they were caught?

If they were caught, any number of terrible things could happen to them. Many captured fugitive slaves were flogged, branded, jailed, sold back into slavery, or even killed. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 also outlawed the abetting of fugitive slaves.

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

Chapter 11 of Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of his Life On May 18, 2017, at 2:15 a.m., Martin G655067 inquired. The most recent edit was made byjill d170087 on 5/18/20172:36 AM.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheney University is the name of the institution now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a result of his observations, Douglass came to understand how pervasive the idea of separate origins of perceived “races” had become in law and science, in support of a society committed to inequality.

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

The case of Dred Scott.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Underground Railroad

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

Quaker Abolitionists

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

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.

Frederick Douglass

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

Agent,” according to the document.

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

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

Who Ran the Underground Railroad?

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

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

Coffin eventually relocated to Indiana and then Ohio, where he continued to assist fugitive enslaved individuals no matter where he was.

John Brown

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

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

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.

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

In 1793, the first parliament of the province of Ontario passed “An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves and to Limit the Term of Forced Servitude within This Province,” which was known as “An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves and to Limit the Term of Forced Servitude within This Province.” Despite the fact that this legislation affirmed the ownership of slaves at the time, it also provided that the offspring of slaves would be immediately set free when they reached the age of twenty-five years.

  1. Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834, thanks to the authority of the Imperial Parliament’s Emancipation Act, which gave the Imperial Parliament the authority to do so.
  2. The Fugitive Slave Act and the Underground Railroad are two important historical documents.
  3. Tubman, after escaping slavery, led hundreds of Blacks to freedom via The Underground Railroad in the North and Canada over the course of 15 visits to the South.
  4. MAPSThis website provides information on the Underground Railroad (UGRR).
  5. When Amy Post (1802-1889) and Isaac Post (1798-1872) relocated to Rochester from Long Island in 1836, they were known as the Posts.
  6. It is believed that they were close friends of Frederick Douglass, and that their home on Sophia Street served as a station on the underground railroad at one point.
  7. This list of “all” people and sites associated with the Underground Railroad in New York was recently released by the New York History Net, and it is really interesting to read.

During the 240 years that elapsed between the arrival of the first African slave and 1860, slaves fled and some managed to escape to freedom.

A consequence of this was that slaves were hunted down by their masters or bounty hunters.

The Underground Train was named for the fact that it operated in a manner similar to a railroad system.

It was quite similar to traveling by train, and the act of conveying the runaway slaves included all of the phrases that are used on a railroad excursion.

Stations (such as Catherine Harris’ house) were designated as stopping points.

The escaped slaves were referred to as parcels or freight in order to maintain the greatest amount of secrecy possible.

A stop on the Underground Rail Road where Harriet Tubman met with fugitive slaves In 1842, William Wells Brown transported 69 escaped slaves from the United States to Canada on a steamboat.

The cities of Buffalo and Rochester, as well as their surrounding territories, were essential in the development of the Underground Railroad movement in the United States.

Without a doubt, this was one of the final stages before escaped slaves were finally recognized free men.

Rochester was elevated to the status of a major railroad hub thanks to the efforts of Harriet Tubman.

Catherines, Ontario, in Canada, among other places.

The “stations” provided food, rest, and a change of clothing for the exhausted slaves who had worked hard all day.

There were a variety of fundraising activities.

During the early nineteenth century, James and Eber Petit maintained outposts along the Lake Erie coast in Western New York.

James Petit, born in 1777, practiced in both Madison and Onandaga counties.

In 1839, James was living in the vicinity of Fredonia, where he and his brother Eber founded a local group called the Society for the Abolition of Slavery.

Here’s an example: Margaret was born aboard a slave ship on route to America from Africa.

She worked as a maid for a young woman in her early twenties. When Margaret refused to have sexual relations with her mistress’s husband, Margaret’s husband was sold and she was forced to work in the fields under the strict supervision of a strict overseer.

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

Ontario’s first parliament, in 1793, passed “An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves and to Limit the Term of Forced Servitude within This Province,” which was later renamed “An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves and to Limit the Term of Forced Servitude in This Province.” Slavery was still legal under this regulation, but the offspring of slaves were automatically freed when they reached the age of twenty-five, according to the provisions of the law.

  1. Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834, thanks to the authority of the Imperial Parliament’s Emancipation Act, which gave the Imperial Parliament the ability to do so.
  2. The Fugitive Slave Act and the Underground Railroad are two examples of historical events that occurred throughout the nineteenth century.
  3. Tubman, who had escaped slavery, led hundreds of Blacks to freedom through the Underground Railroad in the North and Canada over the course of 15 voyages to the South.
  4. Maps of the Underground RailroadThis website is dedicated to the Underground Railroad (UGRR).
  5. It was 1836 when Amy Post (1802-1889) and her husband, Isaac Post (1798-1872), relocated from Long Island to Rochester.
  6. These two were close friends of Frederick Douglass, and the house they lived in, located on Sophia Street, served as a station on the underground railroad.
  7. The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes and seek asylum elsewhere in the country.

Approximately $2500 was the monetary worth of a trained slave in 1850, which was an extraordinary sum at the time, more than 10 times the yearly wages of the typical person at the time.

The fact that intelligence organizations put single men and women in domestic occupations in cities such as Syracuse and towns such as Geneva made it evident that the transfer of slaves to freedom would have to be carried out in the strictest of secrecy.

As soon as a slave was able to escape and establish contact with allies, he or she became a part of the underground railroad and, in the best case scenario, was carried to freedom.

The paths from safe-house to safe-house (houses where fleeing slaves were confined) were around 15 miles long, although the distance decreased significantly as one traveled farther north.

A conductor was a person who provided assistance to escaping slaves.

Despite the fact that the Underground Railroad, as it was known at the time, was established prior to 1950, the organization gained broad recognition following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act.

Between 1850 and 1863, it is believed that the Underground Railroad effort assisted around 70,000 slaves in escaping and securely crossing the border into Canada, where they were able to find eventual freedom.

Because of their accessible location near the Canadian border, they were used as one of the Underground Railroad’s stops.

It is estimated that there were over a thousand stops or stations on the Underground Railroad in western New York.

A year before the Civil War, Frederick Douglass stated that he was aware of large stations in the United States in Albany, Syracuse and Rochester as well as Buffalo and St.

When the Niagara River was crossed into Canada, Broderick Park in Buffalo (located at the intersection of Ferry Street and the Black Rock Canal) served as a staging area.

There were several instances in which ordinary individuals did not have direct contact with fleeing slaves, but were still as important in their final liberation.

Additional informants who had knowledge of police activities and who would pass this information along to the “conductors” who would ensure that the “freight” made it safely through the system were also in existence.

He was born in 1777 and practiced medicine in both Madison and Onandaga Counties during his lifetime.

In 1839, James was living in the vicinity of Fredonia, where he and his brother Eber founded a local group called the Society for the Abolition of Slavery, which continues to exist today.

See also:  When Did The The Underground Railroad Start? (Solved)

As an example, consider the following sentence: A slave ship from Africa delivered Margaret to our world.

As a maid to a young lady, she was well-liked. As a result of Margaret’s refusal to have sexual relations with the husband of her mistress, Margaret’s husband was sold, and she was forced to work in the fields under the strict supervision of an overseer.

Pathways to Freedom

If it was such a secret, how do we know about it today?Although we don’t know where all the stations were and who all the conductors were, we do know a lot about the Underground Railroad. One way we know is from old documents. These treasures have survived for over a century. Many people left written records about the Underground Railroad.Frederick Douglass wrote several books about his life. In them he describes his escape by train from Baltimore and also his work in Rochester, New York, where he often hid other people who were escaping to Canada. In Rochester, Douglass was the editor and publisher of an important anti-slavery newspaper called theNorth Star. The books Douglass wrote about his life are called:Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass(1845),My Bondage and My Freedom(1855), andLife and Times of Frederick Douglass(1884).Another Maryland enslaved person who escaped, William Green, wrote the story of his life in 1853. This is entitled,Narrative of Events in the Life of William Green (Formerly a Slave.)This text can be found at theLibrary of Congress web site, “The Capital and the Bay: Narratives of Washington and the Chesapeake Bay Region, ca. 1600-1925.” The man, who was born in Oxford Neck on the Eastern Shore, escaped with several companions. They traveled on foot for about two days. Finally they reached the home of a Quaker man who gave them a meal and directions. They walked for several more days until they reached the home of “Aunt Sarah” whose husband put them on the boat to Philadelphia. From Philadelphia, Green traveled by boat to New York, then on to Hartford, Connecticut, and finally to Springfield, Massachusetts where he settled.James W.C. Pennington wrote about his life as an enslaved person and his decision to escape North to freedom in a book calledThe Fugitive Blacksmith.Another famous Marylander who escaped slavery, J. W. C. Pennington, wrote about his life in a book calledThe Fugitive Blacksmith. This was published in London in 1849. You can find a modern reprint of this to read.Some Underground Railroad conductors kept diaries that we can read today. One of the most extensive was kept byWilliam Stilla free black man who lived in Philadelphia. His house was the hub of Underground Railroad activities in the east. William Still kept records of all the fugitives who arrived at his place in Philadelphia. Many of them came from Maryland. This book, which came out in 1872, contains vivid accounts of escapes and of the operations of the Underground Railroad. It is calledThe Underground Rail Road.Many other former fugitives and people who worked with the Underground Railroad also wrote accounts of their lives. Historians have done research and have written about the Underground Railroad. Historians can reconstruct the past by being good detectives. They collect all the evidence about what happened, put it together, and write it down so we all can know what happened long ago. You can read lots of histories of the Underground Railroad.We can also find lots of newspaper accounts of enslaved people escaping. Owners often advertised for enslaved people who had run away, usually offering a generous reward to anyone who could capture and return them. The advertisements describe the physical appearance and often guess where he or she may be going. Newspapers often carried accounts of enslaved people that ran away and also of those that were recaptured. You can read many old newspapers at the library or on the internet.We can look back at old court records. We can read about people being tried for helping enslaved people escape. Many old court records are kept at the Maryland Archives in Annapolis. So, you see, there are lots of ways to find out about the Underground Railroad.Can I ride on the Underground Railroad today?«back to About home

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.

  1. The Underground Railroad was a covert structure established to assist fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in the United States.
  2. As a result, secret codes were developed to aid in the protection of themselves and their purpose.
  3. Runaway slaves were referred to as cargo, and the free persons who assisted them on their journey to freedom were referred to as conductors.
  4. These stations would be identified by a lantern that was lighted and hung outside.

A Dangerous Path to Freedom

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 a vital part of our country’s history. This pamphlet will give a glimpse into the past through a range of primary documents pertaining to the Underground Railroad, which will be discussed in detail. Broadsides, prize posters, newspaper clippings, historical records, sheet music, pictures, and memoirs relating 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 American Civil War.

Consequently, secret codes were developed to assist them in protecting themselves and their purpose.

It was the conductors that assisted escaped slaves in their journey to freedom, and the fugitive slaves were known as cargo when they were transported.


Train conductors on the Underground Railroad were free persons who provided assistance to escaped slaves moving via the Underground Railroad system. Runaway slaves were assisted by conductors, who provided them with safe transportation to and from train stations. They were able to accomplish this under the cover of darkness, with slave hunters on their tails. Many of these stations would be in the comfort of their own homes or places of work, which was convenient. They were in severe danger as a result of their actions in hiding fleeing slaves; nonetheless, they continued because they believed in a cause bigger than themselves, which was the liberation thousands of oppressed human beings.

  • They represented a diverse range of ethnicities, vocations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Due to the widespread belief that slaves were considered property, the freeing of slaves was perceived as a theft of slave owners’ personal belongings.
  • Captain Jonathan Walker was apprehended off the coast of Florida while attempting to convey slaves from the United States to freedom in the Bahamas.
  • With the following words from one of his songs, abolitionist poet John Whittier paid respect to Walker’s valiant actions: “Take a step forward with your muscular right hand, brave ploughman of the sea!
  • She never lost sight of any of them during the journey.
  • He went on to write a novel.
  • John Parker is yet another former slave who escaped and returned to slave states in order to aid in the emancipation of others.

Rankin’s neighbor and fellow conductor, Reverend John Rankin, was a collaborator in the Underground Railroad project.

The Underground Railroad’s conductors were unquestionably anti-slavery, and they were not alone in their views.

Individuals such as William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur and Lewis Tappan founded the American Anti-Slavery Society, which marked the beginning of the abolitionist movement.

The group published an annual almanac that featured poetry, paintings, essays, and other abolitionist material.

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who rose to prominence as an abolitionist after escaping from slavery.

His other abolitionist publications included the Frederick Douglass Paper, which he produced in addition to delivering public addresses on themes that were important to abolitionists.

Anthony was another well-known abolitionist who advocated for the abolition of slavery via her speeches and writings.

For the most part, she based her novel on the adventures of escaped slave Josiah Henson.

Efforts of Abolitionists Telling Their Story:Fugitive Slave Narratives

Train conductors on the Underground Railroad were free people who provided assistance to escaped slaves moving via the Underground Railroad system. By providing safe access to and from stations, conductors assisted fugitive slaves in their escape. Under the cover of night, with slave hunters on their tails, they were able to complete their mission. It’s not uncommon for them to have these stations set up in their own residences or enterprises. However, despite the fact that they were placing themselves in severe risk, these conductors continued to work for a cause larger than themselves: the liberation of thousands of enslaved human beings from their chains.

They represented a diverse range of racial, occupational, and socioeconomic backgrounds and backgrounds.

Slaves were regarded as property, and the freeing of slaves was interpreted as a theft of the personal property of slave owners.

Boat captain Jonathan Walker was apprehended off the coast of Florida while transporting fugitive slaves from the United States to safety in the Bahamas.

With the following words from one of his poems, abolitionist poet John Whittier paid respect to Walker’s bravery: “Take a step forward with that muscular right hand, brave ploughman of the sea!

One of them was never separated from the others.

Following that, he began to compose Underground Railroad:A Record of Facts, True Narratives, and Letters.

One such escaped slave who has returned to slave states to assist in the liberation of others is John Parker.

Reverend John Rankin, his next-door neighbor and fellow conductor, labored with him on the Underground Railroad.

In their opposition to slavery, the Underground Railroad’s conductors were likely joined by others.

Individuals such as William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur and Lewis Tappan founded the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1848, which marked the beginning of the abolitionist movement in the United States.

Poems, paintings, essays, and other abolitionist content were published in an annual almanac published by the association.

It was via a journal he ran known as the North Star that he expressed his desire to see slavery abolished.

Known for her oratory and writing, Susan B.

“Make the slave’s cause our own,” she exhorted her listeners. With the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, author Harriet Beecher Stowe gave the world with a vivid portrait of the tribulations that slaves endured. The adventures of fleeing slave Josiah Henson served as the basis for most of her novel.

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