-Harriet Tubman, 1896. The Underground Railroad—the resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, through the end of the Civil War—refers to the efforts of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom by escaping bondage. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape.
What does the term Underground Railroad actually mean?
- The Underground Railroad refers to a massive network of people who were so opposed to slavery that they were willing to help enslaved people escape bondage to find a better life outside of the South. There are many interesting facts and theories about the Underground Railroad, including how it got started, how it worked and where it was located.
What was the underground railroad meant for?
The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early- to mid-19th century. It was used by enslaved African Americans primarily to escape into free states and Canada.
What was the Underground Railroad and why was it created?
The Underground Railroad was established to aid enslaved people in their escape to freedom. The railroad was comprised of dozens of secret routes and safe houses originating in the slaveholding states and extending all the way to the Canadian border, the only area where fugitives could be assured of their freedom.
Was there an Underground Railroad during slavery?
During the era of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, places, and people that helped enslaved people in the American South escape to the North. The name “Underground Railroad” was used metaphorically, not literally.
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.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
Why was the Underground Railroad important to American history?
The underground railroad, where it existed, offered local service to runaway slaves, assisting them from one point to another. The primary importance of the underground railroad was that it gave ample evidence of African American capabilities and gave expression to African American philosophy.
How did Underground Railroad lead to civil war?
The Underground Railroad physically resisted the repressive laws that held slaves in bondage. By provoking fear and anger in the South, and prompting the enactment of harsh legislation that eroded the rights of white Americans, the Underground Railroad was a direct contributing cause of the Civil War.
Where did the Underground Railroad originate?
The Underground Railroad was created in the early 19th century by a group of abolitionists based mainly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Within a few decades, it had grown into a well-organized and dynamic network. The term “Underground Railroad” began to be used in the 1830s.
How successful was the Underground Railroad?
Ironically the Fugitive Slave Act increased Northern opposition to slavery and helped hasten the Civil War. The Underground Railroad gave freedom to thousands of enslaved women and men and hope to tens of thousands more. In both cases the success of the Underground Railroad hastened the destruction of slavery.
How many slaves did Harriet Tubman help free via the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”
Were quilts used in the Underground Railroad?
Two historians say African American slaves may have used a quilt code to navigate the Underground Railroad. Quilts with patterns named “wagon wheel,” “tumbling blocks,” and “bear’s paw” appear to have contained secret messages that helped direct slaves to freedom, the pair claim.
How many slaves died trying to escape?
At least 2 million Africans –10 to 15 percent–died during the infamous “Middle Passage” across the Atlantic. Another 15 to 30 percent died during the march to or confinement along the coast. Altogether, for every 100 slaves who reached the New World, another 40 had died in Africa or during the Middle Passage.
Underground Railroad Terminology
Written by Dr. Bryan Walls As a descendant of slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad, I grew up enthralled by the stories my family’s “Griot” told me about his ancestors. It was my Aunt Stella who was known as the “Griot,” which is an African name that means “keeper of the oral history,” since she was the storyteller of our family. Despite the fact that she died in 1986 at the age of 102, her mind remained keen till the very end of her life. During a conversation with my Aunt Stella, she informed me that John Freeman Walls was born in 1813 in Rockingham County, North Carolina and journeyed on the Underground Railroad to Maidstone, Ontario in 1846.
Many historians believe that the Underground Railroad was the first big liberation movement in the Americas, and that it was the first time that people of many races and faiths came together in peace to fight for freedom and justice in the United States.
Escaped slaves, as well as those who supported them, need rapid thinking as well as a wealth of insight and information.
The Underground Railroad Freedom Movement reached its zenith between 1820 and 1865, when it was at its most active.
- A Kentucky fugitive slave by the name of Tice Davids allegedly swam across the Ohio River as slave catchers, including his former owner, were close on his trail, according to legend.
- He was most likely assisted by nice individuals who were opposed to slavery and wanted the practice to be abolished.
- “He must have gotten away and joined the underground railroad,” the enraged slave owner was overheard saying.
- As a result, railroad jargon was employed in order to maintain secrecy and confound the slave hunters.
- In this way, escaping slaves would go through the forests at night and hide during the daytime hours.
- In order to satiate their hunger for freedom and proceed along the treacherous Underground Railroad to the heaven they sung about in their songs—namely, the northern United States and Canada—they took this risky route across the wilderness.
- Despite the fact that they were not permitted to receive an education, the slaves were clever folks.
Freedom seekers may use maps created by former slaves, White abolitionists, and free Blacks to find their way about when traveling was possible during the day time.
The paths were frequently not in straight lines; instead, they zigzagged across wide places in order to vary their smell and confuse the bloodhounds on the trail.
The slaves could not transport a large amount of goods since doing so would cause them to become sluggish.
Enslaved people traveled the Underground Railroad and relied on the plant life they encountered for sustenance and medical treatment.
The enslaved discovered that Echinacea strengthens the immune system, mint relieves indigestion, roots can be used to make tea, and plants can be used to make poultices even in the winter when they are dormant, among other things.
After all, despite what their owners may have told them, the Detroit River is not 5,000 miles wide, and the crows in Canada will not peck their eyes out.
Hopefully, for the sake of the Freedom Seeker, these words would be replaced by lyrics from the “Song of the Fugitive: The Great Escape.” The brutal wrongs of slavery I can no longer tolerate; my heart is broken within me, for as long as I remain a slave, I am determined to strike a blow for freedom or the tomb.” I am now embarking for yonder beach, beautiful land of liberty; our ship will soon get me to the other side, and I will then be liberated.
No more will I be terrified of the auctioneer, nor will I be terrified of the Master’s frowns; no longer will I quiver at the sound of the dogs baying.
All of the brave individuals who were participating in the Underground Railroad Freedom Movement had to acquire new jargon and codes in order to survive. To go to the Promised Land, one needed to have a high level of ability and knowledge.
Dr. Bryan Walls’s contribution My family’s “Griot” (grandfather) told me stories of his ancestors who were slaves on the Underground Railroad, and I grew up interested by what he had to say. It was my Aunt Stella who was known as the “Griot,” which is an African name that means “keeper of the oral history,” since she was the family storyteller. Despite the fact that she died in 1986 at the age of 102, her mind remained keen till the very end of her existence. Aunt Stella told me that John Freeman Walls was born in 1813 in Rockingham County, North Carolina, and that he moved to Maidstone, Ontario, Canada, in 1846, via the Underground Railroad.
People of all races and faiths came together in harmony to fight for freedom and justice along the Underground Railroad, which is widely regarded as the first great freedom movement in the Americas and the first instance in which people of different races and faiths came together to fight for freedom and justice.
- People who helped escaped slaves needed to be nimble with their thoughts and possess a lot of insight and information.
- The Underground Railroad Freedom Movement reached its zenith between 1820 and 1865, when it had its greatest popularity.
- Tice managed to evade capture after they crossed the border near the town of Ripley, Ohio (which was a busy “stop” on the Underground Railroad).
- “Abolitionists” were those who supported freedom and opposed slavery.
- Secrets were essential since slaves and anybody who assisted them in their escape from slavery faced heavy consequences.
The following code words were frequently used on the Underground Railroad: “tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who assisted slaves in connecting to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in their homes); “passengers,” “cargo,” “fleece,” Even though the constellations sometimes fluctuate, the North Star stays constant in the night sky, according to millennia of African wisdom passed down through generations.
- This led to the escapees running through the woods at night and hiding during the day.
- In order to fulfill their thirst for freedom and proceed along the treacherous Underground Railroad to the heaven they sung about in their songs—namely, the northern United States and Canada—they took this risky route through the forest.
- They were brilliant folks, despite the fact that they were not permitted to receive an education while under slavery.
- Maps created by former slaves, White abolitionists, and free Blacks would aid the freedom seekers with instructions and geographical markers when traveling was possible during the day.
- The paths were not always in straight lines; they frequently zigzagged across wide regions in order to change their smell and confuse the bloodhounds tracking them.
- In order to keep their speed as high as possible, the captives could not carry a large amount of supplies.
- Slaves relied on local plant life for sustenance and medical treatment while traveling the Underground Railroad route.
- The enslaved discovered that Echinacea strengthens the immune system, mint relieves indigestion, roots can be used to make tea, and plants can be used to make poultices even in the winter when they are dormant, all of which were previously unknown.
- They would discover that, contrary to what their owners may have told them, the Detroit River was not 5,000 miles wide and that the crows in Canada would not peck their eyes out.
- It is hoped that these lyrics would give birth to lyrics from the “Song of the Fugitive: The Freedom Seeker,” which would be beneficial to him.
- The auctioneer will no longer be a source of dread, and the Master’s frowns will no longer make me shudder at the sound of hounds barking.
All of the brave individuals who were participating in the Underground Railroad Freedom Movement had to acquire new jargon and ciphers in order to communicate. To get to the Promised Land, it took a tremendous deal of talent and expertise.
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.
The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.
Fugitive Slave Acts
The Fugitive Slave Acts were a major cause for many fugitive slaves to flee to Canada. This legislation, which was passed in 1793, authorized local governments to catch and extradite fugitive enslaved individuals from inside the borders of free states back to their places of origin, as well as to penalize anybody who assisted the fleeing enslaved people. Personal Liberty Laws were introduced in certain northern states to fight this, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1842. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was intended to reinforce the preceding legislation, which was perceived by southern states to be insufficiently enforced at the time of passage.
The northern states were still considered a danger zone for fugitives who had managed to flee.
Some Underground Railroad operators chose to station themselves in Canada and sought to assist fugitives who were arriving to settle in the country.
Harriet Tubman was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad during its heyday. When she and two of her brothers fled from a farm in Maryland in 1849, she was given the name Harriet (her married name was Tubman). She was born Araminta Ross, and she was raised as Harriet Tubman. They returned a couple of weeks later, but Tubman fled on her own again shortly after, this time making her way to the state of Pennsylvania. In following years, Tubman returned to the plantation on a number of occasions to rescue family members and other individuals.
Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other fugitive slaves to the Maryland state capital.
In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives who were assisting 400 escapees in their journey to freedom in Canada. Reverend Jermain Loguen, a former fugitive who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees on their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was established in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a trader. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary skills to find work.
Agent,” according to the document.
John Parker was a free Black man living in Ohio who worked as a foundry owner and who used his rowboat to ferry fugitives over the Ohio River.
William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born in New Jersey to runaway slaves parents who fled to Philadelphia as children.
Who Ran the Underground Railroad?
The vast majority of Underground Railroad operators were regular individuals, including farmers and business owners, as well as preachers and religious leaders. Some affluent individuals were active, including Gerrit Smith, a billionaire who stood for president on two separate occasions. Smith acquired a full family of enslaved people from Kentucky in 1841 and freed them from their captivity. Levi Coffin, a Quaker from North Carolina, is credited with being one of the first recorded individuals to assist escaped enslaved persons.
Coffin stated that he had discovered their hiding spots and had sought them out in order to assist them in moving forward.
Finally, they were able to make their way closer to him. 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 New Yorker is a publication dedicated to journalism.
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad: how one woman saved hundreds from hell
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.
When and where was Harriet Tubman born?
Araminta Ross, Tubman’s given name, would have been put to work on her family’s plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland, practically as soon as she began to walk, according to family legend. It was the same terrible initiation to slavery that she and her eight siblings endured when they were born into it. Her rigorous outdoor job, along with long hours of domestic employment as a maid and then as a cook, resulted in her being underweight and unwell at times. The little Minty, like millions of other slaves in America, became all-too familiar with the awful physical and mental torture she suffered at the hands of her owners.
- I recommend you listen to 8 audio episodes about slavery and the slave trade right now:
To listen to right now, there are 8 audio episodes regarding slavery and the slave trade.
What was the Underground Railroad?
The term does not allude to genuine trains that went up and down the length of America in tunnels (at least not in the early nineteenth century), but rather to a system of clandestine routes that were designed to assist runaway slaves in reaching the free states of the North or Canada. In order to escape discovery, guides guided them down the circuitous routes, which frequently required trudging into the woods, crossing rivers, and climbing mountains to reach their destination. Although it was not always the case, a route may have involved conveyance, such as boats or carts.
- It was all done in secret, thus the term “underground,” and it made use of jargon from the booming railway industry.
- It was common for those participating – which included everyone from runaway slaves to rich white abolitionists and church officials – to congregate in small groups.
- ‘vigilance committees’ formed established in the bigger cities of the North, such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, to support the railroad.
- It struck Minty in the head, knocking her out cold and leaving her in a pool of blood.
- These remained constant throughout her life (although she claimed them to be premonitions from God).
- There was no reprieve from the horrendous conditions as the years passed, yet all of Minty’s hours of hard labor had given her a surprising amount of strength for her small five-foot body.
Despite the fact that she became Harriet Tubman in approximately 1844 – after marrying a free black man called John Tubman and choosing to use her mother’s first name – it would be another five years before she made her first steps toward freedom.
How did Harriet Tubman escape from slavery?
What makes Tubman’s escape from slavery even more remarkable is that she had to accomplish it twice before she was successful. When Mary left the plantation with two of her brothers on September 17, 1849, Harry and Ben had second thoughts and returned to the plantation with her mother and father. Instead of continuing without them, Tubman made sure they returned before attempting a second time to save her life. The 90-mile trek could have taken her anywhere from one to three weeks if she had done it on foot.
- As a result, in 1850, she returned to Maryland to pick up her niece Kessiah and her husband, as well as their two kids, and bring them back to Pennsylvania.
- (some accounts say she went as many as 19 times).
- It is estimated that she personally freed roughly 300 slaves – including some of her brothers and their families, as well as her own parents – and gave instructions to dozens of others in the process.
- An advertising for the ‘Liberty Line’ in 1844, which was a thinly veiled allusion to the Underground Railroad, and which promised “seats free, regardless of race,” is seen below.
- It only grew more perilous after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, which made it possible for runaway slaves to be apprehended in the North and returned to their original owners.
- As a result, Tubman had to find a way to get to Canada, which was under British control.
When Tubman was a conductor, her colleague William Still remarked, “Great anxieties were expressed for her safety, yet she appeared to be completely devoid of personal dread.” With her success in exploiting and growing the network to transport escaped slaves to safety, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison dubbed Tubman the ‘Moses of her people’ for her efforts.
She would frequently travel during the winter, when the nights were longer, and would leave with her ‘passengers’ on a Saturday evening – since runaway notices would not appear in newspapers until the following Monday – in order to avoid being discovered.
“Either you’ll be free or you’ll die,” she declared emphatically.
‘General Tubman’ was contacted before to his failed 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry in the hopes of igniting a slave insurrection, and it is said that he wanted her to take part in the attack as a member of the armed forces.
Seward was so impressed with Tubman’s work that she purchased a small plot of land near Auburn, New York – where she lived with her elderly parents, whom she had rescued during one of her final journeys – from her friend and admirer.
“Seats free, regardless of race,” according to an advertising for the ‘Liberty Line’ in 1844, which was a barely veiled reference to the Underground Railroad. Chicago History Museum/Getty Images (Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum) ) Having to trek into slavery area where she could be seized by armed slave hunters meant that Tubman was putting her life in danger every time she went out on the job, and she did it willingly. Moreover, the Fugitive Slave Act made it possible for fugitive slaves to be apprehended in the North and returned to their masters, making it an even more perilous situation.
To go to British-owned Canada, Tubman would have to find a way around the country.
According to Tubman’s colleague conductor William Still, “great anxieties were entertained for her safety, yet she appeared to be completely devoid of personal dread.” Tubman’s effectiveness in utilizing and developing the network to transport escaped slaves to safety led renowned abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to refer to her as the “Moses of her people.” Tubman, who was uneducated and illiterate, demonstrated her inventiveness time and time again in order to keep slaves under her charge safe and well-fed on the lengthy trek to the North Pole.
Traveling during the winter, when the nights were longer, she would frequently leave with her ‘passengers’ on a Saturday evening, because runaway notices would not appear in newspapers until the following Monday.
It was her firm statement that became “You’ll be free or perish.” Known to abolitionists and radicals, such as John Brown, Tubman became the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad.
The anti-slavery politician (and future Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln) William H.
Harriet Tubman and the American Civil War
Although the Underground Railroad came to a close with the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, it did not mark the end of Tubman’s heroic efforts on the Underground Railroad. She worked in the Union Army as a cook, laundress, and nurse, caring for wounded troops and escaped slaves, who were referred to as ‘contrabands,’ without regard for her own well-being. Tubman led a troop of scouts into Confederate territory after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, laying the groundwork for the abolition of slavery.
Because of the intelligence she acquired, Colonel James Montgomery was able to launch a deadly attack on enemy fortifications, making her the first woman to command an armed assault in the United States history.
Tubman escorted Union steamboats down the Combahee River on June 2, 1863, in order to plunder plantations in the state of South Carolina. More than 750 slaves were liberated during the uprising.
What were Harriet Tubman’s actions during the American Civil War?
Tubman’s heroic actions did not come to a stop when the American Civil War erupted in 1861, despite the fact that the Underground Railroad was effectively closed down at that time. She served in the Union Army as a cook, laundress, and nurse, caring for wounded troops and fleeing slaves, who were referred to as ‘contrabands,’ and never once considered her personal safety while on the job. After Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, establishing the groundwork for the end of slavery, Tubman led a team of scouts into Confederate territory, utilizing the talents she had honed as a railroad operator.
During the attack on plantations in South Carolina on June 2, 1863, Tubman escorted Union steamboats along the Combahee River.
- When it comes to slavery, Lincoln said, “If I could save the union without liberating a single slave, I would.”
When it comes to slavery, Lincoln said, “If I could rescue the union without releasing a single slave, I would.”
Jonny Wilkes is a freelance writer specialising in history
This article was first published in History Revealed in January 2017 and has since been updated.
Eastern Illinois University : Teaching with Primary Sources
However, many of the intriguing and lesser known elements of the Underground Railroad are not included in many textbooks, despite the fact that it is an essential part of our nation’s history. It is intended that this booklet will serve as a window into the past by presenting a number of original documents pertaining to the Underground Railroad. Broadsides, prize posters, newspaper clippings, historical records, sheet music, pictures, and memoirs connected to the Underground Railroad are among the primary sources included in this collection.
- The Underground Railroad was a covert structure established to assist fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in the United States.
- As a result, secret codes were developed to aid in the protection of themselves and their purpose.
- Runaway slaves were referred to as cargo, and the free persons who assisted them on their journey to freedom were referred to as conductors.
- These stations would be identified by a lantern that was lighted and hung outside.
A Dangerous Path to Freedom
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.
On the Underground Railroad, safe homes that were utilized as hiding places were referred to as “stations.” Outside each station would be a lamp that was illuminated.
However, many of the intriguing and lesser known elements of the Underground Railroad are not included inside many textbooks, despite the fact that it is a vital part of our nation’s history. This ebook will give a look into the past through a range of primary documents pertaining to the Underground Railroad. 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 designed to assist fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in the American Civil War.
- As a result, secret codes were developed to assist them in protecting themselves and their purpose.
- Runaway slaves were referred to as cargo, and the free people who assisted them on their journey to freedom were referred to as conductors.
- These stations would be identified by a lighted lantern placed outside.
Efforts of Abolitionists Telling Their Story:Fugitive Slave Narratives
Henry Bibb was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner. After several failed efforts to emancipate himself from slavery, he maintained the strength and persistence to continue his struggle for freedom despite being captured and imprisoned numerous times. His determination paid off when he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then on to Canada with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, which had been highly anticipated. The following is an excerpt from his tale, in which he detailed one of his numerous escapes and the difficulties he faced as a result of his efforts.
- I began making preparations for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the shackles that tied me as a slave as soon as the clock struck twelve.
- On the twenty-fifth of December, 1837, the long-awaited day had finally arrived when I would put into effect my previous determination, which was to flee for Liberty or accept death as a slave, as I had previously stated.
- It took every ounce of moral strength I have to keep my emotions under control as I said goodbye to my small family.
- Despite the fact that every incentive was extended to me in order to flee if I want to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free, oh, man!
- I was up against a slew of hurdles that had gathered around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded soul, which was still imprisoned in the dark prison of mental degeneration.
- Furthermore, the danger of being killed or arrested and deported to the far South, where I would be forced to spend the rest of my days in hopeless bondage on a cotton or sugar plantation, all conspired to discourage me.
- The moment has come for me to follow through on my commitment.
- This marked the beginning of the construction of what was known as the underground rail route to Canada.
For nearly forty-eight hours, I pushed myself to complete my journey without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: “not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not a single house in which I could enter to protect me from the storm.” This is merely one of several accounts penned by runaway slaves who were on the run from their masters.
Sojourner Truth was another former slave who became well-known for her work to bring slavery to an end.
Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal experiences.
Perhaps a large number of escaped slaves opted to write down their experiences in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or perhaps they did so in order to help folks learn from the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future for themselves.
The Underground Railroad in Indiana
Mary Schons contributed to this article. The 20th of June, 2019 is a Thursday. For 30 years before to the American Civil War, enslaved African Americans utilized the Underground Railroad to gain their freedom, a network known as the Underground Railroad (1861-1865). The “railroad” employed a variety of routes to transport people from slave-supporting states in the South to “free” states in the North and Canada. Sometimes abolitionists, or persons who were opposed to slavery, were responsible for organizing routes for the Underground Railroad.
- There was a great deal of activity on the Underground Railroad in the states that bordered the Ohio River, which served as a boundary between slave and free states.
- Not everyone in Indiana supported the emancipation of enslaved people.
- Because Indiana was a part of the Underground Railroad, its narrative is the tale of all states that had a role in it.
- However, while some people did have secret chambers in their homes or carriages, the great bulk of the Underground Railroad consisted of individuals surreptitiously assisting slaves who were attempting to flee slavery in whatever manner they were able to.
- The persons that were enslaved were referred to as “passengers.” “Stations” were private residences or commercial establishments where passengers and conductors seeking freedom might take refuge.
- If a new owner supported slavery, or if the residence was revealed to be a station on the Underground Railroad, passengers and conductors were obliged to locate a new station or move on somewhere.
- Only a small number of people kept records of this hidden activity in order to protect homeowners and others seeking freedom who required assistance.
People who were found assisting those who had fled slavery faced arrest and imprisonment.
No one knows exactly how the Underground Railroad received its name, nor does anybody care.
Another version of the story assigns the name to a freedom-seeker who was apprehended in Washington, D.C., in the year 1839.
A third narrative connects the name to an enslaved man called Tice Davids, who made the decision to pursue his freedom in 1831, according to the legend.
Unfortunately, there was no boat available to take us over the river.
His enslaver returned to Kentucky without him, claiming that Davids had vanished while traveling on a “underground railroad.” To put it another way, the name “Underground Railroad” had been widely accepted by the mid-1840s.
According to Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance, slavery was prohibited north of the Ohio River; however, the rule did not apply to enslaved persons who were already residing in the region.
Slavery was a common feature of life in the Northwest Territories at the time.
Indiana was established as a territory in 1800, with future United States PresidentWilliam Henry Harrison serving as the area’s first territorial governor.
Harrison and his followers also believed that permitting slavery in Indiana would increase the state’s population.
Their petition was refused by Congress.
The “contract holder” has the authority to determine how long the victim must be held in slavery.
When Indiana became a state in 1816, its stateConstitutioncontained wording that was comparable to Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance—new enslaved persons were not permitted, but existing enslaved people were allowed to continue in their current state of enslavement.
The term “slave” was still used to describe some Hoosiers as late as the 1820 census.
(White people were exempt from this requirement.) Indiana’s 1851 Constitution prohibited blacks from voting, serving in the military, or testifying in any trial in which a white person was accused of a crime.
All three pathways eventually went to Michigan and subsequently to Canada, although they took different routes.
Lewis Harding said in a 1915 history of Decatur County, Indiana, that the county was a spot where three roads came together after crossing the Ohio River at separate points in the county.
assisted the escaped slaves in every way imaginable,” he adds, using the injunction as an example.
As Harding says, “the sympathies of the majority of the residents of this nation were with the escaped slave and his rescuer.” Historians now feel that the path to independence resembled a spider’s web rather than three independent pathways to freedom.
While traveling, they had to avoid organized networks of patrolmen who grabbed freedom-seekers and held them hostage for ransom money.
Known as the “President of the Underground Railroad,” Coffin is credited for bringing slavery to Indiana in 1826.
In his memoir, Reminiscences, Coffin tells the story of two girls who escaped Tennessee and sought refuge with their grandparents in the Indiana county of Randolph.
They were not, however, destined to live in safety.
When the alarm went off, it attracted the majority of the settlement’s black people together in a single location.
Unknown to them, an uncle of the two girls rode up on his horse at the same time the enslaver was being held at bay by the grandmother’scorn knife.
They were not given any authorization to enter the premises or search for items, according to him.” The uncle remained at the doorway for as long as he could to continue the dispute with the enslaver.
According to the account, the girls were disguised as guys and sneaked past the crowd to where two horses were waiting for them.
The girls were able to make it to Coffin’s residence without incident.
Eliza Harris’s Indefatigable Escape Indiana is the scene of one of the most famous slave escapes in history, which took place in the state of Indiana.
Harris made the snap decision to flee to Canada with her infant son in tow.
There were no bridges, and there was no way for a raft to get through the thick ice.
Moving from one ice floe to another while carrying her child, she eventually made it to the other end.
Eliza, in fact, is the name of the character who travels across the frigid Ohio.
In order to recover from their ordeal, Harris and her child traveled to Levi Coffin’s Fountain City residence.
In 1854, Levi and Catherine Coffin were on a visit to Canada with their daughter when a woman approached Catherine and introduced herself.
God’s blessings on you!” It was Eliza Harris, who had safely migrated to Chatham, Ontario, Canada, when the call came through.
Illustration provided courtesy of The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.
Examine the list of locations to determine if any are in your immediate vicinity.
But it was carried out according to a completely other set of rules.
Levi Coffin’s Reminiscences, published in 1880abet Help is a verb that refers to assisting in the committing of a crime.
abolitionist A person who is opposed to slavery as a noun.
authority Making choices is the responsibility of a nounperson or organization.
The payment of a fine or the performance of a contract under the terms of an agreement constitutes a bond, which is an unenforceable agreement.
cattle Andoxen are nouncows.
The American Civil War The American Civil War was fought between the Union (north) and the Confederacy between 1860 and 1865.
conductor A person who escorted slaves to safety and freedom on the Underground Railroad was known as a guide.
The House of Representatives and the Senate are the two chambers of the United States Congress.
convictVerb to find someone guilty of committing a criminal offense.
Municipality is a type of political entity that is smaller than a state or province, but often larger than a city, town, or other municipality.
defendantNounperson or entity who has been accused of committing a crime or engaging in other misconduct.
economy The production, distribution, and consumption of commodities and services are all referred to as a system.
enslave acquainted with the verbto completely control Adjectivewell-known.
forbidVerb to ban or prohibit something.
fugitive a noun or an adjective that has gotten away from the law or another limitation a system or order established by a country, a state, or any other political body; government Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American writer and abolitionist activist who lived from 1811 to 1896.
Nouna huge, flat sheet of ice that is floating on the surface of a body of water.
labor is a noun that refers to work or employment.
Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the term negronoun was frequently used to refer to persons of African descent.
During the American Civil War, the North was comprised of states that backed the United States (Union).
A portion of the modern-day states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota belonged to the Northwest Territory at the time of its creation.
The Ohio River is the greatest tributary of the Mississippi River, with a length of 1,580 kilometers (981 miles).
passenger A fugitive slave seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad is referred to as a noun.
Requests are made verbally, and are frequently accompanied by a document signed by the respondents.
prominentAdjectivethat is significant or stands out.
recover from an accident or strenuous activityVerb to recover from an injury or rigorous activity repeal a verb that means to reverse or reject anything that was previously guaranteed rouse a verb that means to awaken or make active.
Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude).
South During the American Civil War, the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) was backed or sympathized with by a huge number of states.
Supreme CourtNounin the United States, the highest judicial authority on questions of national or constitutional significance.
terminology A noungroup of words that are employed in a particular topic area.
Nounland that is protected against invaders by an animal, a person, or the government.
the southern hemisphere Geographic and political territory in the south-eastern and south-central sections of the United States that includes all of the states that sided with the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
unconstitutional Adjective that refers to a violation of the laws of the United States Constitution.
9th President of the United States of America, William Henry HarrisonNoun (1773-1841). (1841). word-of-mouth Informal communication, sometimes known as rumor or rumor mill. NounA official order issued by a government or other authoritative body.
Mary Schons contributed to this report. on the 20th of June in the year of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ When enslaved African Americans attempted to gain their freedom in the 30 years preceding the American Civil War, they turned to the Underground Railroad for assistance (1861-1865). Slavery-supporting states in the South were served by a network of “railroads” that connected them to “free” states in the North and Canada. Sometimes abolitionists, people who were opposed to slavery, organized paths for the Underground Railroad.
- There was a great deal of activity on the Underground Railroad in the states that bordered the Ohio River, which served as a boundary between slave and free states.
- Despite widespread support for emancipation, not all Hoosiers were on board with it.
- Because Indiana was a part of the Underground Railroad, its history is the tale of all states that participated in it.
- To the dismay of many, the Underground Railroad did not consist of a network of underground passageways.
- Persons who traveled south to discover enslaved people who were looking for freedom were referred to as “pilots” in railroad jargon.
- “Passengers” were the term used to describe the slaves.
- With each change in ownership of the house, additional or fewer stations were added to the Underground Railroad network.
It was done in a discreet manner, by word of mouth, that the stations were being established.
Liberation aspirants would be compelled to return to servitude if they were apprehended and brought to justice.
Slavery was backed by both states that supported slavery and free states, and this extended to both groups.
According to one account, the term was coined by failed Pennsylvania patrolmen who attempted to abduct freedom seekers.
He said that he collaborated with others to flee to the North, where “the railroad went underground all the way to Boston,” after being tortured by his captors.
Eventually, Davids managed to get away from his Kentucky enslaver and make it to the Ohio River in time.
When Davids realized he was about to be captured, he swam over the river to the other side and slid out of sight.
To put it another way, the phrase “Underground Railroad” had become widely used by the mid-1840s.
When the new United States government formed the Northwest Territory in 1787, it included the area that would eventually become Indiana as part of that territory.
Even though no one else was permitted to be enslaved in 1787, people who were enslaved in 1787 remained such.
Vincennes and FloydCountyin the south, and as far north as La Porte, are two places where evidence of slavery has been found.
Because Harrison believed that slavery would help the economy flourish, he advocated its use.
For a period of ten years, the politicians and business leaders of Indiana petitioned Congress to remove Article 6.
Indiana Territory House of Representatives established a new legislation in 1805 that allowed persons to keep enslaved people who had been bought in the United States after they were brought to the country.
Property was extended to the enslaved person’s offspring, as well.
Indiana was a free state by 1816, yet it was not a welcoming environment for African-Americans.
) (This was not required of white folks.
Indiana’s Underground Railroad (also known as the Indiana Underground Railroad System) There were three primary lines of the Underground Railroad in Indiana, according to popular belief at the time of the discovery.
The slavery trade in Canada was prohibited in 1833.
Decatur County, Indiana, was described by Lewis Harding in his history of the county published in 1915 as a spot where three roads came together after crossing the Ohio River at various points.
assisted the escaped slaves in every way imaginable,” he adds, using the injunction as his source.
As Harding says, “the sympathies of the vast majority of the residents of this nation were with the escaped slave and his aid.” Rather than three different roads to independence, historians today believe the journey to freedom resembled a spider’s web.
While traveling, they had to avoid organized networks of patrolmen who grabbed freedom-seekers and held them hostage in exchange for ransom payments.
Levi Coffin of Newport, Indiana, was the most well-known Underground Railroad “station master” in the state (now called Fountain City).
The couple claimed to have hosted about 2,000 individuals over the course of two decades, spreading bedrolls on their kitchen floor to accommodate as many people as they could fit in.
“It was there that the girls stayed after their long and risky voyage of relishing their newly won independence and hoped that their master would never find out where they had gone.” They had no intention of remaining in safety, though.
Their captor, as well as a gang of men from Richmond and Winchester, were awakened by this event.
Around the grandparents’ hut, more than 200 people gathered to encircle and protect them from harm.
“He wanted to see the writ, which was provided to him by the officer,” Levi explains.
He denied that they were given any clearance to enter the residence and search for goods.” The uncle remained at the doorway as long as he could to continue the dispute with the enslaver.
According to the account, the girls were disguised as guys and sneaked past the throng to a location where two horses waiting for them.
To Coffin’s residence, the girls were able to make it without incident.
One of Eliza Harris’ children was sold for money in the winter of 1830, according to her enslaver, who she overheard that he was planning to sell another of her children for money.
Eventually, she managed to get free and flee to the Ohio River.
Harris leaped onto a slab of ice floating in the river after hearing her enslaver’s horse approaching.
It was in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a book by Harriet Beecher Stowe, that Harris’ heroic escape was recounted.
It went on to become one of the most important novels in history, inspiring many Americans to sympathize with enslaved people and abolitionists as a result of reading it.
They then apparently spent some time in the adjacent town of Pennville, Indiana, before continuing their journey northwards.
“How are you, Aunt Katie?” the woman shouted as she snatched Catherine’s hand in her own.
God bless you!” It was Eliza Harris, who had successfully migrated to Chatham, Ontario, Canada, from her previous residence in the United Kingdom.
Thank you for using this illustration National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (also known as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)) The Underground Railroad Has Arrived.
Analyze the list of locations to determine whether any are in your immediate vicinity.
A completely new approach was taken in its execution.
1880abet, Levi Coffin wrote his reminiscences.
abolish is a verb that means to eliminate or eliminate something.
accommodate Provide or fulfill is a verb.
presumptive or presumptiveAdjectives that are asserted Roughly Adjective that refers to a figure that is either generic or close to accurate.
baffle verb to be perplexed and annoyed The payment of a fine or the performance of a contract under the terms of an agreement is referred to as a bond.
cattle ‘Nouncows’ are a kind of adverb.
In the American Civil War (also known as the American Revolutionary War), The American struggle between the Union (north) and the Confederacy between 1860 and 1865 is referred to as the American Civil War (south).
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate comprise the United States Congress.
Someone is found guilty of an illegal conduct when they are found guilty by a jury.
An administrative unit that is smaller than a state or province but often larger than a city, town, or other municipality.
DefendantNounperson or entity who has been accused of engaging in criminal activity or another type of misconduct dwell To reside in a certain location is the verb to reside.
encourage Verb to motivate or encourage someone or something.
forbidVerb to forbid or prohibit something from happening.
fugitive a noun or an adjective that has gotten away from a law or other constraint a system or order established by a country, a state, or any other political body Noun Abolitionist leader and author Harriet Beecher StoweNoun(1811-1896) was an American writer and activist who was active in the abolitionist movement.
- ice floe influential Important in terms of having the power to influence the thoughts or attitudes of others; influential in terms of being influential in terms of being influential.
- Nounwork or employment is defined as: labor.
- A network is a collection of interconnected linkages that allows for movement and communication.
- a region of the United States that stretched between the Mississippi River and Pennsylvania’s western border, and north of the Ohio River (from 1787 to 1803).
- novelNounA fictitious narrative or tale that is told in a fictional manner.
- ostensibly It is a noun that means to feign or show up.
pilot Person who traveled to slave states in search of slaves desiring freedom and willing to sacrifice their lives in order to obtain it was known as an informer on the Underground Railroad.
adjective significant or distinguishing itself from the rest of the crowd ransom Property release or return fees are referred to as nounfees.
repeal Something that was once assured is being overturned or rejected.
slave hunter Uncountable person who goes in search of fugitive slaves with the intention of forcing them back into servitude.
smuggle Take something secretly or steal it is the definition of the word “steal.” South An ill-defined geographic territory mostly consisted of states that either backed or were sympathetic to the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the American Civil War.
Those who identify with the Supreme CourtNounthe highest judicial authority in the United States on questions of national or constitutional significance To comprehend or share a feeling or emotion is to use the verb understand.
terrain Topographic features of a particular area are denoted by the noun.
a region in the southeastern United States a geological and political region in the south-eastern and south-central regions of the United States that includes all of the states that backed the Confederacy during the American civil war In Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an anti-slavery novel in 1852, which became known as the Uncle Tom’s Cabin Noun.
9th President of the United States, William Henry HarrisonNoun (1773-1841). (1841). word-of-mouth Informal communication, often known as rumor, NounA official order issued by a government or other authoritative authority.
Mary Schons is a writer who lives in New York City.
Kara West, Emdash Editing, Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing
Kara West, Emdash Editing, Jeannie Evers, and Emdash Publishing
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