Underground Railroad conductors were free individuals who helped fugitive slaves traveling along the Underground Railroad. Conductors helped runaway slaves by providing them with safe passage to and from stations. If a conductor was caught helping free slaves they would be fined, imprisoned, branded, or even hanged.
What was the punishment for the Underground Railroad?
A severe beating was the most common form of discipline, usually administered with a bull whip or a wooden paddle. The offender would be hung by the hands or staked to the ground and every slave on the plantation would be forced to watch the whipping to deter them from running away.
What happened to the Underground Railroad after the fugitive?
End of the Line The Underground Railroad ceased operations about 1863, during the Civil War. In reality, its work moved aboveground as part of the Union effort against the Confederacy.
What did slaves do after they escaped?
Most large plantations in the South, however, had slaves who escaped. Slaves’ resistance to captivity took many forms, such as performing careless work, destroying property, or faking illness. Many enslaved persons who were able chose escape, however. Some tried to rejoin family members living on a nearby properties.
Did Harriet Tubman get caught?
Her success led slaveowners to post a $40,000 reward for her capture or death. Tubman was never caught and never lost a “passenger.” She participated in other antislavery efforts, including supporting John Brown in his failed 1859 raid on the Harpers Ferry, Virginia arsenal.
How many conductors were in the Underground Railroad?
These eight abolitionists helped enslaved people escape to freedom.
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.
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.
How many runaway slaves were there?
Approximately 100,000 American slaves escaped to freedom.
What was the punishment for helping runaway slaves?
The law also imposed a $500 penalty on any person who helped harbor or conceal escapees. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was immediately met with a firestorm of criticism.
What foods did slaves eat?
Weekly food rations — usually corn meal, lard, some meat, molasses, peas, greens, and flour — were distributed every Saturday. Vegetable patches or gardens, if permitted by the owner, supplied fresh produce to add to the rations. Morning meals were prepared and consumed at daybreak in the slaves’ cabins.
Is Gertie Davis died?
This period is chronicled in Harriet. Tubman ultimately rescued all but one. She didn’t save her sister Rachel Ross. She died shortly before her older sister arrived to bring her to freedom.
8 Key Contributors to the Underground Railroad
Isaac Hopper, an abolitionist, is shown in this image from the Kean Collection/Getty Images. As early as 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with a “organization of Quakers, founded for such reasons,” which had sought to free a neighbor’s slave. Quakers were instrumental in the establishment of the Underground Railroad. Slavery was opposed in especially in Philadelphia, where Isaac Hopper, a Quaker who converted to Christianity, created what has been described as “the first working cell of the abolitionist underground.” Hopper not only protected escaped slave hunters in his own house, but he also constructed a network of safe havens and recruited a web of spies in order to get insight into their plans.
Hopper, a friend of Joseph Bonaparte, the exiled brother of the former French emperor, went to New York City in 1829 and established himself as a successful businessman.
READ MORE: The Underground Railroad and Its Operation
2. John Brown
Isaac Hopper, an abolitionist, is shown in this image from the Kean Collection/Getty Images collection. As early as 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with a “organization of Quakers, founded for such reasons,” which had sought to free a neighbor’s slave. Quakers were instrumental in the establishment of the Underground Railroad. Slavery was opposed in especially in Philadelphia, where Isaac Hopper, a Quaker who converted to Christianity, created what has been dubbed “the first working cell of the abolitionist underground,” according to one source.
A tailor by profession, whose speciality was exploiting legal loopholes to secure the liberation of enslaved individuals in the courts of justice.
His work with runaway slaves continued there, and at one time he had to defend his Quaker bookstore from an anti-abolitionist crowd that had assembled outside.
3. Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she experienced repeated violent beatings, one of which involving a two-pound lead weight, which left her with seizures and migraines for the rest of her life. Tubman fled bondage in 1849, following the North Star on a 100-mile walk into Pennsylvania, fearing she would be sold and separated from her family. She died in the process. She went on to become the most well-known “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, participating in around 13 rescue missions back into Maryland and rescuing at least 70 enslaved individuals, including several of her siblings.
As a scout, spy, and healer for the Union Army, Tubman maintained her anti-slavery activities during the Civil War, and is believed to have been the first woman in the United States to lead troops into battle. Tubman died in 1865. When Harriet Tubman Led a Civil War Raid, You Should Pay Attention
4. Thomas Garrett
‘Thomas Garrett’ is a fictional character created by author Thomas Garrett. The New York Public Library is a public library in New York City. The Quaker “stationmaster” Thomas Garrett, who claimed to have assisted over 2,750 escaped slaves before the commencement of the Civil War, lived in Wilmington, Delaware, and Tubman frequently stopped there on her route up north. Garret not only gave his guests with a place to stay but also with money, clothing & food. He even personally led them to a more secure area on occasion, arm in arm.
Despite this, he persisted in his efforts.
He also stated that “if any of you know of any poor slave who needs assistance, please send him to me, as I now publicly pledge myself to double my diligence and never miss an opportunity to assist a slave to obtain freedom.”
5. William Still
William Still is a well-known author and poet. Photograph courtesy of the Hulton Archive/Getty Images Many runaways traveled from Wilmington, the final Underground Railroad station in the slave state of Delaware, to the office of William Still in adjacent Philadelphia, which was the last stop on their journey. The Vigilance Committee of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, which provided food and clothing, coordinated escapes, raised funds, and otherwise served as a one-stop social services shop for hundreds of fugitive slaves each year, was chaired by Still, who was a free-born African American.
Still ultimately produced a book in which he chronicled the personal histories of his guests, which offered valuable insight into the operation of the Underground Railroad as a whole.
His assistance to Osborne Anderson, the only African-American member of John Brown’s company to survive the Harpers Ferry raid, was another occasion when he was called upon.
6. Levi Coffin
William Still is an American author and poet. Photograph courtesy of the Hulton Archive and Getty Images. Many runaways made their way to the office of William Still in neighboring Philadelphia after leaving Wilmington, the last Underground Railroad destination in the slave state of Delaware. The Pennsylvania Abolition Society’s Vigilance Committee, which distributed food and clothes, planned escapes, generated cash, and otherwise operated as a one-stop social services shop for hundreds of fleeing slaves each year, was led by Still, who was a free-born African American.
It was his long-lost brother, who had spent decades in bondage in the Deep South, who was among others who showed up at his office and introduced themselves.
His assistance to Osborne Anderson, the only African-American member of John Brown’s troop to escape the Harpers Ferry raid, was another occasion when he was commended. When the Civil War broke out, Still was a successful businessman who also happened to be an abolitionist.
7. Elijah Anderson
The Ohio River, which formed the border between slave and free states, was referred to as the River Jordan in abolitionist circles because it represented the border between slave and free states. Madison, Indiana, was an especially appealing crossing point for enslaved persons on the run, because to an Underground Railroad cell established there by blacksmith Elijah Anderson and several other members of the town’s Black middle class in the 1850s. With his fair skin, Anderson might have passed for a white slave owner on his repeated travels into Kentucky, where would purportedly pick up 20 to 30 enslaved persons at a time and whisk them away to freedom, sometimes accompanying them as far as the Coffins’ mansion in Newport.
An anti-slavery mob devastated Madison in 1846, almost drowning an agent of the Underground Railroad, prompting Anderson to flee upriver to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he eventually settled.
8. Thaddeus Stevens
River Jordan was the name given to the Ohio River by abolitionists because it marked the border between slave and free states and represented the border between slave and free states. The Underground Railroad cell established at Madison, Indiana, by blacksmith Elijah Anderson and several other members of the town’s Black middle class, served as a particularly appealing crossing point for enslaved persons on the run during the Civil War. With his fair skin, Anderson might have passed for a white slave owner on his repeated travels into Kentucky, where he reportedly picked up 20 to 30 enslaved persons at a time and whisked them away to freedom, sometimes accompanying them as far as the Coffins’ mansion in Newport, Kentucky.
Anderson escaped upriver to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, after being attacked by a mob of pro-slavery whites in Madison in 1846, almost drowning an Underground Railroad agent.
Anderson was found dead in his cell in 1861, on what some sources claim was the exact day of his parole, according to other accounts.
9 Unsung Heroes of the Underground Railroad
With hundreds of people participating in the Underground Railroad’s operation, which spanned from the Deep South all the way to Canada, it’s hardly surprising that the network of underground pathways and safe homes known as the Underground Railroad was so large in scope. Some, like as Harriet Tubman, served as “conductors,” directing rescue efforts, while others, such as John Brown, served as “station masters,” welcoming fugitives into their houses and facilitating their safe journey to safety after their capture.
Here are nine more courageous individuals who risked their lives and limbs to assist others on their journey to freedom.
1. William Still
William Still, who was born in 1821 to previously enslaved parents in New Jersey, traveled to Philadelphia when he was 23 years old and took up the abolitionist banner in more ways than one. As a result, he learned himself to read and write and obtained employment as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, where he rose through the ranks until he was appointed head of the organization’s new Vigilance Committee in the early 1850s. While in that role, Still administered the region’s network of safe houses, which included his own residence, and generated funds to support important rescue operations, including a number of those undertaken by Harriet Tubman.
The fact that he’s frequently referred to as “the Father of the Underground Railroad” is due to another factor.
Hopefully, the “amazing drive and ambition” displayed in the terrible stories will serve as an inspiration to Black Americans as they continue the fight for civil rights.
2. John P. Parker
When John P. Parker was 8 years old, a trader in Norfolk, Virginia, removed him from his enslaved mother and sold him to a doctor in Mobile, Alabama. John P. Parker was born into slavery. With the assistance of the doctor’s children, Parker worked as an apprentice in an iron foundry, where he also learned to read and write. Having persuaded one of the doctor’s patients to purchase him at the age of 18, he was given the opportunity to gradually reclaim his freedom with the money he earned from his foundry.
- While all of this was going on, Parker was making regular trips over the Ohio River to transport fugitives from Kentucky back to Ripley’s safe homes (one belonged to John Rankin, a prominent white abolitionist who lived less than a mile from Parker).
- He once anticipated that an enslaversuspecteda married couple would seek to flee, so he kidnapped their infant and placed him in his chamber to sleep.
- The enslaver awakened and chased after Parker, firing his gun, but Parker and his family were able to flee across the river and into Canada.
- Gregg during a series of interviews in the 1880s, but the manuscript remained undiscovered in Duke University’s archives until historian Stuart Seeley Sprague unearthed it and published it in 1996.
Parker’s rescues were recounted to journalist Frank M. Gregg during a series of interviews in the 1880s, but the manuscript remained undiscovered in Duke University’s archives until historian Stuart Seeley Sprague unearthed
3. and 4. Harriet Bell Hayden and Lewis Hayden
Lewis Hayden, who was born enslaved in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1812, witnessed enslavers tear his family apart not once, but twice throughout his lifetime. His brothers were sold to a different enslaver at first, and then his wife and son were purchased by Kentucky senator Henry Clay and sold someplace in the Deep South, according to historical records. Hayden never saw them or heard from them again. In the early 1840s, he married an enslaved lady called Harriet Bell, adopted her son, and began preparing their escape from the plantation where they had been held.
- The couple had returned to the United States by 1846, when they had settled in Boston’s Beacon Hill district, where they had founded a clothes business.
- Despite the fact that slavery had been outlawed in Massachusetts since 1783, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 declared that enslaved persons who had escaped to free states might still be apprehended and returned to their enslavers in the southern United States.
- Among those who have received considerable notice are Ellen and William Craft, who gained notoriety for their perilous escape from slavery in Georgia, which required Ellen impersonating a white man and William as a Black servant.
- The bounty hunters didn’t take any chances and returned home empty-handed.
- In 1873, he was elected to the Massachusetts General Assembly, where he served until his death in 1904.
- The estate of Harriet Tubman, who died in 1893, was bequeathed to Harvard Medical School for the aim of creating an annual scholarship for Black students, which is still in existence today.
5. Henrietta Bowers Duterte
His wife, Henrietta Bowers, was 35 when she married Francis A. Duterte, a Haitian-American undertaker who was also 35 at the time. It should have been a long and happy union because they both hailed from well-respected Philadelphia households and Francis’s mortuary was prosperous; in other words, it should have been a joyful union. However, by the end of the decade, Henrietta was on her own: Her children had all died while they were young, and Francis had also died unexpectedly. Instead of handing over the funeral company to a male, as would have been anticipated at the time, Henrietta took over and transformed it into a particularly secretive station on the Underground Railroad, in addition to maintaining the mortuary business.
It was nonetheless profitable, and Henrietta used the proceeds to support organizations that supported Philadelphia’s Black population, such as the First Colored Church and Stephen Smith’s Philadelphia Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons, which were both founded by Stephen Smith.
In 1866, she assisted in the organization of the Freedman’s Aid Society Fair, which raised funds for previously enslaved persons in Tennessee.
6. David Ruggles
David Ruggles, who was born free in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1810, traveled to New York City when he was 17 years old and founded a grocery store, which he operated with liberated African Americans. Ruggles soon expanded his business to include lending and selling abolitionist books, pamphlets, and newspapers as well, making him the first Black bookshop proprietor in the United States. Ruggles and other local abolitionists formed the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835, which was an inter-racial group that, like the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, assisted people in their attempts to elude slavery.
- Frederick Douglass, who had escaped slavery and arrived in New York in 1838, impoverished and starving, was one of these temporary visitors.
- David Ruggles saved his life, as he revealed in his autobiography published in 1845.
- Ruggles’s alertness, kindness, and tenacity,” he wrote.
- Ruggles gave the couple $5 shortly after their wedding and arranged for them to go by steamer to New Bedford, Massachusetts.
- Ruggles distributed countless anti-slavery publications during his years as an Underground Railroad station master, and he advocated for “practical abolitionism,” which is the idea that each individual should actively participate in the emancipation of African-Americans.
- Not that he was without adversaries: his business was burned down on two occasions, and he was violently attacked on other times.
- Ruggles was able to restore some of his strength by hydrotherapy while he was there, and he subsequently founded his own hydrotherapy facility, where Douglass would frequently pay him a visit.
7. and 8. Harriet Forten Purvis and Robert Purvis
Robert Purvis, the son of a free Black woman and a free white man, was involved in virtually every aspect of Philadelphia’s anti-slavery movement from the 1830s to the Civil War, and he died in the Civil War. His work with prominent abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison to establish the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society a few years later resulted in the formation of the Vigilant Association of Philadelphia and its Vigilance Committee, which provided fugitive fugitives with boarding, clothing, medical attention, legal counsel, and northern passage.
- Harriet, like Mott, would go on to become a prominent figure in the women’s suffragist movement.
- Their home on Lombard Street became a well-traveled corridor for fugitives on their way to the United States border with Canada.
- The eighth anniversary of slavery’s abolition in the British West Indies was being celebrated when a mob of Irish people, resentful of their own low social standing, attacked the revelers and began looting and setting fire to Black-owned businesses along the street.
- However, according to reports, a Catholic priest diverted the rioters off their intended route to the Purvises’ home, where Robert was armed and ready to confront them.
Robert estimated that he had assisted in the emancipation of around one person each day between 1831 and 1861 (though it’s probable that this figure includes his larger involvement with other anti-slavery organizations).
9. Samuel D. Burris
For more than a decade in the 1840s, Samuel D. Burris worked diligently to transport fugitives through his home state of Delaware and into Philadelphia, where he resided with his wife and children. Despite the fact that Burris was a free man, he might be imprisoned and sold into slavery if he was found assisting fugitives in Delaware—which is exactly what happened to him in 1847. Burris was detained while attempting to sneak a lady named Maria Matthews onto a boat, according to authorities. Because his bail was set at $5000 (equivalent to more than $157,000 today), he was compelled to spend months in jail while awaiting his trial.
Burris was found guilty on November 2, 1847, and he was sentenced to 10 more months in jail as well as a $500 fine.
A group of Philadelphia abolitionists raised $500 during Burris’ 10-month prison sentence and sent a Quaker named Isaac Flint to masquerade as a merchant and acquire Burris at an auction while Burris was serving his sentence.
In Still’s words, “he was not in the least conscious that he had fallen into the hands of friends, but on the contrary, he appeared to be under the assumption that his freedom had been taken away.” ‘The joyous news was whispered in Burris’s ear that everything was OK; that he had been purchased with abolition money in order to keep him from going south.’ The historian Robin Krawitz of Delaware State University told CNN that Burris continued to assist fugitives after his release, and enraged Delawareans petitioned the government to punish him even more severely after he was sentenced to prison.
Burris’ operations in Delaware were suspended when officials approved legislation that prescribed public flogging as a penalty for anyone caught a second time.
When describing a network of meeting spots, hidden routes, passages, and safehouses used by slaves in the United States to escape slave-holding states and seek refuge in northern states and Canada, the Underground Railroad was referred to as the Underground Railroad (UR). The underground railroad, which was established in the early 1800s and sponsored by persons active in the Abolitionist Movement, assisted thousands of slaves in their attempts to escape bondage. Between 1810 and 1850, it is estimated that 100,000 slaves escaped from bondage in the southern United States.
A network of safe houses and abolitionists dedicated to emancipating as many slaves as possible assisted them in their escape, despite the fact that such activities were in violation of state laws and the Constitution of the United States.
Facts, information and articles about the Underground Railroad
Aproximate year of birth: 1780
The beginnings of the American Civil War occurred around the year 1862.
Estimates range between 6,000 and 10,000.
Harriet Tubman is a historical figure. William Still is a well-known author and poet. Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by author Levi Coffin. John Fairfield is a well-known author.
The Story of How Canada Became the Final Station on the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman’s Legacy as a Freedom Fighter and a Spion is well documented.
The Beginnings Of the Underground Railroad
Even before the nineteenth century, it appears that a mechanism to assist runaways existed. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with the assistance provided to one of his escaped slaves by “a organization of Quakers, founded for such purposes.” The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are more officially known, were among the first abolitionist organizations to emerge. Their influence may have played a role in Pennsylvania becoming the first state to abolish slavery, which was home to a large number of Quakers.
In recognition of his contributions, Levi is often referred to as the “president of the Underground Railroad.” In Fountain City, Ohio, on Ohio’s western border, the eight-room Indiana home they bought and used as a “station” before they came to Cincinnati has been preserved and is now a National Historic Landmark.
The Underground Railroad Gets Its Name
Owen Brown, the father of radical abolitionist John Brown, was a member of the Underground Railroad in the state of New York during the Civil War. An unconfirmed narrative suggests that “Mammy Sally” designated the house where Abraham Lincoln’s future wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, grew up and served as a safe house where fugitives could receive food, but the account is doubtful. Routes of the Underground Railroad It was not until the early 1830s that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was first used.
Fugitives going by water or on genuine trains were occasionally provided with clothing so that they wouldn’t give themselves away by wearing their worn-out job attire.
Many of them continued on to Canada, where they could not be lawfully reclaimed by their rightful owners.
The slave or slaves were forced to flee from their masters, which was frequently done at night. It was imperative that the runaways maintain their eyes on the North Star at all times; only by keeping that star in front of them could they be certain that they were on their trip north.
Conductors On The Railroad
A “conductor,” who pretended to be a slave, would sometimes accompany fugitives to a plantation in order to lead them on their journey. Harriet Tubman, a former slave who traveled to slave states 19 times and liberated more than 300 people, is one of the most well-known “conductors.” She used her shotgun to threaten death to any captives who lost heart and sought to return to slavery. The Underground Railroad’s operators faced their own set of risks as well. If someone living in the North was convicted of assisting fugitives in their escape, he or she could face fines of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which was a significant sum at the time; however, in areas where abolitionism was strong, the “secret” railroad was openly operated, and no one was arrested.
His position as the most significant commander of the Underground Railroad in and around Albany grew as time went on.
However, in previous times of American history, the phrase “vigilance committee” generally refers to citizen organizations that took the law into their own hands, prosecuting and hanging those suspected of crimes when there was no local government or when they considered the local authority was corrupt or weak.
White males who were found assisting slaves in their escape were subjected to heavier punishments than white women, but both were likely to face at the very least incarceration.
The Civil War On The Horizon
Events such as the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott decision compelled more anti-slavery activists to take an active part in the effort to liberate slaves in the United States. After Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Southern states began to secede in December 1860, putting an end to the Union’s hopes of achieving independence from the United States. Abolitionist newspapers and even some loud abolitionists warned against giving the remaining Southern states an excuse to separate. Lucia Bagbe (later known as Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson) is considered to be the final slave who was returned to bondage as a result of the Fugitive Slave Law.
Her owner hunted her down and arrested her in December 1860.
Even the Cleveland Leader, a Republican weekly that was traditionally anti-slavery and pro-the Fugitive Slave Legislation, warned its readers that allowing the law to run its course “may be oil thrown upon the seas of our nation’s difficulties,” according to the newspaper.
Following her capture, Lucy was carried back to Ohio County, Virginia, and punished, but she was released at some time when Union soldiers took control of the region. In her honor, a Grand Jubilee was celebrated on May 6, 1863, in the city of Cleveland.
The Reverse Underground Railroad
A “reverse Underground Railroad” arose in the northern states surrounding the Ohio River during the Civil War. The black men and women of those states, whether or not they had previously been slaves, were occasionally kidnapped and concealed in homes, barns, and other structures until they could be transported to the South and sold as slaves.
Kids History: Underground Railroad
Civil War is a historical event that occurred in the United States. During the American Civil War, the phrase “Underground Railroad” was used to describe a network of persons, residences, and hiding places that slaves in the southern United States used to flee to freedom in the northern United States and Canada. Is it possible that there was a railroad? The Underground Railroad wasn’t truly a railroad in the traditional sense. It was the moniker given to the method by which individuals managed to flee.
- Conductors and stations are two types of conductors.
- Conductors were those who were in charge of escorting slaves along the path.
- Even those who volunteered their time and resources by donating money and food were referred to as shareholders.
- Who was employed by the railroad?
- Some of the Underground Railroad’s conductors were former slaves, such as Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery by way of the Underground Railroad and subsequently returned to assist other slaves in their escape.
- They frequently offered safe havens in their houses, as well as food and other supplies to those in need.
What mode of transportation did the people use if there was no railroad?
Slaves would frequently go on foot during the night.
The distance between stations was generally between 10 and 20 miles.
Was it a potentially hazardous situation?
There were those trying to help slaves escape, as well as those who were attempting to aid them.
In what time period did the Underground Railroad operate?
It reached its zenith in the 1850s, just before the American Civil War.
How many people were able to flee?
Over 100,000 slaves are said to have fled over the railroad’s history, with 30,000 escaping during the peak years before the Civil War, according to some estimates.
This resulted in a rule requiring that fugitive slaves who were discovered in free states be returned to their masters in the south.
Slaves were now had to be carried all the way to Canada in order to avoid being kidnapped once more by the British.
The abolitionist movement began with the Quakers in the 17th century, who believed that slavery was incompatible with Christian principles.
Ducksters’ Lewis Hayden House is located in the town of Lewis Hayden. The Lewis Hayden House functioned as a station on the Underground Railroad during the American Civil War. Information on the Underground Railroad that is both interesting and educational
- Civil War (History) During the American Civil War, the phrase “Underground Railroad” was used to describe a network of persons, residences, and hiding places that slaves in the southern United States used to flee to freedom in the Northern United States and Canada. Is it possible that that was a train? In reality, the Underground Railroad was not a railroad at all. A term was given to the method by which individuals managed to get away from their situation. No one knows how it obtained its name in the beginning, but the “underground” portion of the name comes from the secrecy with which it operated, and the “railroad” half of the name comes from the manner it was utilized to carry people. Conductors and stations are two types of people that work in the transportation industry. In its organization, the Underground Railroad made use of railroad slang. Conductors were those who were in charge of leading slaves along the journey. Stations or depots were the names given to the hideouts and dwellings where slaves took refuge while traveling. In other cases, shareholders included those who donated money or food in order to assist others. Located within the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Levi Coffin House is a historic structure. Is it true that the railroad employed thousands of people? Conductors and secure locations for slaves to stay along the route were given by a large number of individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Former slaves, such as Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad and then returned to assist other slaves in their escape, served as conductors on the Underground Railroad. Many white people who believed that slavery was immoral, like as Quakers from the north, lent their assistance as well. Aside from hiding places in their houses, they frequently offered food and other supplies to those in need. Harriet Tubman was a pioneering woman who H. B. Lindsley was an American author and poet who lived during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. It’s unclear how people got about without a train system. A arduous and risky journey, traveling on the Underground Railroad was an experience. When slaves were traveling on foot at night, they were called “night runners.” Their plan was to slip from one station to the next in the hopes of not being discovered. A typical distance between stations was 10 to 20 miles. They would sometimes have to wait for a long period of time at one station before they were confident that the next station was secure and ready for them to go. What made you think it was risky? It was quite risky, to be honest with you. Both for the slaves attempting to flee and for those attempting to aid them in their endeavors Assisting fugitive slaves was against the law, and conductors were subject to execution by hanging in several southern states. Was the Underground Railroad operational at any point in time? From around 1810 through the 1860s, the Underground Railroad was active. As recently as the 1850s, it reached its zenith just prior to the American Civil War. Eastman Johnson’s A Ride for Liberty – The Fugitive Slaves is a historical novel about fugitive slaves who escape from their captors. The number of those who made it out is unknown. There is no way to know exactly how many slaves fled because they lived in obscurity. More than 100,000 slaves may have fled over the railroad’s history, with 30,000 of them making their escape during the peak years preceding the Civil War, according to some estimates. The Fugitive Slave Act was enacted in the United States in 1850, making slaves fugitives. Because of this, escaped slaves who were discovered in free states were required by law to be returned to their southern masters. For the Underground Railroad, this made things even more difficult. Slaves were now had to be carried all the way to Canada in order to avoid being seized once more by the British Empire. Abolitionists Those who believed that slavery should be abolished and that all present slaves should be freed were known as abolitionists. Abolitionist movements began with the Quakers in the 17th century, who believed that slavery was incompatible with Christian principles. When slavery was abolished in the United States in 1780, Pennsylvania was the first state. By the Ducksters, Lewis Hayden House is named after the author Lewis Hayden House. A station on the Underground Railroad, the Lewis Hayden House was built in 1836. The Underground Railroad: Interesting Facts and Myths
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Myths About the Underground Railroad
When it comes to teaching African-American Studies today, one of the great delights is the satisfaction that comes from being able to restore to the historical record “lost” events and the persons whose sacrifices and bravery enabled those events to take place, never to be lost again. Among our ancestors’ long and dreadful history of human bondage is the Underground Railroad, which has garnered more recent attention from teachers, students, museum curators, and the tourism industry than any other institution from the black past.
- Nevertheless, in the effort to convey the narrative of this magnificent institution, fiction and lore have occasionally taken precedence over historical truth.
- The sacrifices and valor of our forefathers and foremothers, as well as their allies, are made all the more noble, heroic, and striking as a result.
- I think this is a common misconception among students.
- As described by Wilbur H.
- Running slaves, frequently in groups of up to several families, were said to have been directed at night on their desperate journey to freedom by the traditional “Drinking Gourd,” which was the slaves’ secret name for the North Star.
The Railroad in Lore
When it comes to teaching African-American Studies today, one of the great delights is the satisfaction that comes from being able to restore to the historical record “lost” events and the persons whose sacrifices and bravery resulted in those events, which will never be lost again. In recent years, few institutions from our ancestors’ long and dreadful history in human bondage have garnered more attention than the Underground Railroad. It is one of our forefathers’ most venerable and philanthropic innovations, and it is also one of the most well-known and well-received by teachers, students, museum curators, and the tourism industry.
In order to communicate the truth about the past as it truly happened, scholars have put in a great lot of work to distinguish between fact and fiction, which has always been an important component of telling it straight.
When I hear our students talk about the Underground Railroad, I get the impression that they are under the impression that it was something akin to a black, Southern Grand Central Station, with regularly scheduled routes that hundreds of thousands of slave “passengers” used to escape from Southern plantations, aided by that irrepressible, stealthy double agent, Harriet Tubman.
Many people also believe that thousands of benign, incognito white “conductors” routinely hid slaves in secret rooms hidden in attics or basements, or behind the staircases of numerous “safe houses,” the locations of which were coded in “freedom quilts” sewn by slaves and hung in their windows as guideposts for fugitives on the run.
Siebert in his massive pioneering (and often wildly romantic) study, The Underground Railroad(1898), the “railroad” itself was composed of “a chain of stations leading from the Southern states to Canada,” or “a series of hundreds of interlocking ‘lines,’ ” that ran from Alabama or Mississippi, throughout the South, all the way across the Ohio River and Mason-Dixon Line, as the historian David Blight summarizes in Passages: The Underground Railroad, 1838-19 Escaped slaves, many of whom were entire families, were said to be guided at night on their desperate journey to freedom by the traditional “Drinking Gourd,” which was the slaves’ code name for the Northern Star.
A Meme Is Born
As Blight correctly points out, the railroad has proven to be one of the most “enduring and popular strands in the fabric of America’s national historical memory.” Since the end of the nineteenth century, many Americans, particularly in New England and the Midwest, have either made up legends about the deeds of their ancestors or simply repeated stories that they have heard about their forebears.
It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.
Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who managed to escape to Ohio in 1831, and it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was invented as a result of his successful escape.
According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished as though “the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad.” This is a fantastic narrative — one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor — but it is improbable, given that train lines were non-existent at the time.
- The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839, was captured.
- constructed from Mason and Dixon’s to the Canada line, upon which fugitives from slavery might come pouring into this province” is the first time the term appears.
- 14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T.
Myth Battles Counter-Myth
Historically, the appeal of romance and fantasy in stories of the Underground Railroad can be traced back to the latter decades of the nineteenth century, when the South was winning the battle of popular memory over what the Civil War was all about — burying Lost Cause mythology deep in the national psyche and eventually propelling the racist Woodrow Wilson into the White House. Many white Northerners attempted to retain a heroic version of their history in the face of a dominant Southern interpretation of the significance of the Civil War, and they found a handy weapon in the stories of the Underground Railroad to accomplish this goal.
Immediately following the fall of Reconstruction in 1876, which was frequently attributed to purportedly uneducated or corrupt black people, the story of the struggle for independence was transformed into a tale of noble, selfless white efforts on behalf of a poor and nameless “inferior” race.
Siebert questioned practically everyone who was still alive who had any recollection of the network and even flew to Canada to interview former slaves who had traced their own pathways from the South to freedom as part of his investigation.
In the words of David Blight, Siebert “crafted a popular tale of largely white conductors assisting nameless blacks on their journey to freedom.”
Truth Reveals Unheralded Heroism
That’s a little amount of history; what about those urban legends? The answers are as follows: It cannot be overstated that the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement itself were possibly the first examples in American history of a truly multiracial alliance, and the role played by the Quakers in its success cannot be overstated. Despite this, it was primarily controlled by free Northern African Americans, particularly in its early years, with the most notable exception being the famous Philadelphian William Still, who served as its president.
- The Underground Railroad was made possible by the efforts of white and black activists such as Levi Coffin, Thomas Garrett, Calvin Fairbank, Charles Torrey, Harriet Tubman and Still, all of whom were true heroes.
- Because of the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the railroad’s growth did not take place until after that year.
- After all, it was against the law to help slaves in their attempts to emancipate themselves.
- Being an abolitionist or a conductor on the Underground Railroad, according to the historian Donald Yacovone, “was about as popular and hazardous as being a member of the Communist Party in 1955,” he said in an email to me.
- The Underground Railroad was predominantly a phenomena of the Northern United States.
- For the most part, fugitive slaves were left on their own until they were able to cross the Ohio River or the Mason-Dixon Line and thereby reach a Free State.
- For fugitives in the North, well-established routes and conductors existed, as did some informal networks that could transport fugitives from places such as the abolitionists’ office or houses in Philadelphia to other locations north and west.
(where slavery remained legal until 1862), as well as in a few locations throughout the Upper South, some organized support was available.
I’m afraid there aren’t many.
Furthermore, few dwellings in the North were equipped with secret corridors or hidden rooms where slaves might be hidden.
What about freedom quilts?
The only time a slave family had the resources to sew a quilt was to shelter themselves from the cold, not to relay information about alleged passages on the Underground Railroad that they had never visited.
As we will discover in a future column, the danger of treachery about individual escapes and collective rebellions was much too large for escape plans to be publicly shared.5.
No one has a definitive answer.
According to Elizabeth Pierce, an administrator at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, the figure might be as high as 100,000, but that appears to be an overstatement.
We may put these numbers into context by noting that there were 3.9 million slaves and only 488,070 free Negroes in 1860 (with more than half of them still living in the South), whereas there were 434,495 free Negroes in 1850 (with more than half still living in the South).
The fact that only 101 fleeing slaves ever produced book-length “slave narratives” describing their servitude until the conclusion of the Civil War is also significant to keep in mind while thinking about this topic.
However, just a few of them made it to safety.
How did the fugitive get away?
John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, as summarized by Blight, “80 percent of these fugitives were young guys in their teens and twenties who absconded alone on the majority of occasions.
Because of their household and child-rearing duties, young slave women were significantly less likely to flee than older slave women.
Lyford in 1896 reported that he could not recall “any fugitives ever being transported by anyone, they always had to pilot their own canoe with the little help that they received,” suggesting that “the greatest number of fugitives were self-emancipating individuals who, upon reaching a point in their lives when they could no longer tolerate their captive status, finally just took off for what had been a long and difficult journey.” 7.
What is “Steal Away”?
They used them to communicate secretly with one another in double-voiced discussions that neither the master nor the overseer could comprehend.
However, for reasons of safety, privacy, security, and protection, the vast majority of slaves who escaped did so alone and covertly, rather than risking their own safety by notifying a large number of individuals outside of their families about their plans, for fear of betraying their masters’ trust.
Just consider the following for a moment: If fleeing slavery had been thus planned and maintained on a systematic basis, slavery would most likely have been abolished long before the American Civil War, don’t you think?
According to Blight, “Much of what we call the Underground Railroad was actually operated clandestinely by African Americans themselves through urban vigilance committees and rescue squads that were often led by free blacks.” The “Underground Railroad” was a marvelously improvised, metaphorical construct run by courageous heroes, the vast majority of whom were black.
Gara’s study revealed that “running away was a terrible and risky idea for slaves,” according to Blight, and that the total numbers of slaves who risked their lives, or even those who succeeded in escaping, were “not huge.” There were thousands of heroic slaves who were helped by the organization, each of whom should be remembered as heroes of African-American history, but there were not nearly as many as we often believe, and certainly not nearly enough.
Approximately fifty-five of the 100 Amazing Facts will be published on the website African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. On The Root, you may find all 100 facts.
Underground Railroad Secret Codes : Harriet Tubman
But enough about history; what about those urban legends? Answers to the questions are as follows: It cannot be overstated that the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement as a whole were possibly the first examples in American history of a genuinely multiracial alliance, with the Quakers playing a critical part in its success. Although it was mostly controlled by free Northern African Americans, particularly in its early years, it was also dominated by Philadelphians, most notably the famous William Still.
- Some of the Underground Railroad’s most heroic figures were both white and black campaigners.
- As reported by James Horton, William Still himself was responsible for the rescue of 649 fugitives who sought refuge in Philadelphia, including 16 who came on a single day (June 1, 1855), according to Blight.
- People were involved in its activities, but only a small number of them, relative to the number of people in the world.
- It is possible to be charged with “constructive treason” if you violate the 1850 Act of Congress.
- Because of this, it concentrated its operations mostly in the Free States.
- Because of these circumstances, the Underground Railroad could be put into operation.
Additionally, in Washington, D.C.
In addition, some slaves were aided in their attempts to flee from Southern seaports, albeit only a small number of people.
You know, those secret passageways or rooms in attics, garrets, cellars, or basements.
Tunnels were rarely used by escaped slaves, who preferred to sneak out of towns at night than than via them, which would have been a massive task and extremely expensive project.
Simply put, this is one of the strangest urban legends to have been perpetuated in the whole history of African-American culture and civilization.
The truth is that messages of many kinds were sent out at black church gatherings and prayer sessions from time to time, but none of them had information concerning Harriet Tubman’s arrival date and time.
How many slaves actually managed to escape to a new life in the North, in Canada, Florida, or Mexico?
No one is certain of anything.
It is estimated that as many as 100,000 people worked at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, according to Elizabeth Pierce, a center spokeswoman, but that sounds a bit optimistic to me given the current state of the economy.
In light of the fact that these data would include those fugitives who had successfully crossed into Canada via the Underground Railroad as well as natural growth, we can see how modest the numbers of runaway slaves who successfully crossed into Canada in this decade, for example, were.
According to John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger’s groundbreaking book, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation, more than 50,000 slaves fled not to the North, but “inside the South,” as Blight explains, “annually throughout the late antebellum period,” according to Franklin and Schweninger.
Families as a group?
Because of their family and child-rearing duties, young slave women were significantly less inclined to flee away.
Lyford, in 1896 reported that he could not recall “any fugitives ever being transported by anyone, they always had to pilot their own canoe, with the little help that they received,” suggesting that “the greatest number of fugitives were self-emancipating individuals who, upon reaching a point in their lives when they could no longer tolerate their captive status, finally just took off for what had become “Steal Away” is the seventh question.
Inventing coded languages to communicate clandestinely with one another, in double-voiced discourses that the master and overseer couldn’t comprehend, was a brilliant trait of African Americans during the slave trade era.
They did not put themselves or their families at danger by alerting a large number of individuals outside of their families about their plans, out of fear of being betrayed.
Let’s consider the following for a moment: If fleeing slavery had been this planned and maintained on a systematic basis, slavery would most likely have been abolished long before the American Civil War, don’t you believe?
According to Blight, “Much of what we call the Underground Railroad was actually operated clandestinely by African Americans themselves through urban vigilance committees and rescue squads that were often led by free blacks.” The “Underground Railroad” was a marvelously improvised, metaphorical construct run by courageous heroes, the majority of whom were African Americans.
Gara’s study revealed that “running away was a terrifying and risky idea for slaves,” according to Blight, and that the aggregate numbers of slaves who risked their lives, or even those who succeeded in escaping, was “not enormous.” There were thousands of heroic slaves who were helped by the organization, each of whom should be remembered as heroes of African-American history, but there were nothing like as many as we often believe, and certainly not nearly enough.
Approximately fifty-five of the 100 Amazing Facts will be made available on the African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross website. On The Root, you may read all 100 facts.
|Agent||Coordinator, who plotted courses of escape and made contacts.|
|Baggage||Fugitive slaves carried by Underground Railroad workers.|
|Bundles of wood||Fugitives that were expected.|
|Conductor||Person who directly transported slaves|
|Drinking Gourd||Big Dipper and the North Star|
|Flying bondsmen||The number of escaping slaves|
|Forwarding||Taking slaves from station to station|
|Freedom train||The Underground Railroad|
|French leave||Sudden departure|
|Gospel train||The Underground Railroad|
|Stockholder||Those who donated money, food, clothing.|
|Load of potatoes||Escaping slaves hidden under farm produce in a wagon|
|Operator||Person who helped freedom seekers as a conductor or agent|
|Parcel||Fugitives that were expected|
|Patter roller||Bounty hunter hired to capture slaves|
|Preachers||Leaders of and spokespersons for the Underground Railroad|
|River Jordan||Ohio River|
|Shepherds||People who encouraged slaves to escape and escorted them|
|Station||Place of safety and temporary refuge, a safe house|
|Station master||Keeper or owner of a safe house|
Following that will be Songs of the Underground Railroad. Underground Railroad codes, coded language, coded music, Underground Railroad followers, underground railroad, supporters of the Underground Railroad Underground Railroad is a subcategory of the category Underground Railroad.