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.
Conductors of the Underground Railroad
- Tubman: Conductor of the Underground Railroad. After Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery, she returned to slave-holding states many times to help other slaves escape. She led them safely to the northern free states and to Canada.
Who are some of the Underground Railroad conductors?
8 Key Contributors to the Underground Railroad
- Isaac Hopper. Abolitionist Isaac Hopper.
- John Brown. Abolitionist John Brown, c.
- Harriet Tubman.
- Thomas Garrett.
- William Still.
- Levi Coffin.
- Elijah Anderson.
- Thaddeus Stevens.
What does it mean that Harriet was a conductor for the Underground Railroad?
The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act allowed fugitive and freed workers in the north to be captured and enslaved. This made Harriet’s job as an Underground Railroad conductor much harder and forced her to lead enslaved people further north to Canada, traveling at night, usually in the spring or fall when the days were shorter.
What is the difference between a conductor and a station master?
The code words often used on the Underground Railroad were: “tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who helped the slaves connect to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in
Was Harriet Tubman a conductor on the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 1849. She then returned there multiple times over the next decade, risking her life to bring others to freedom as a renowned conductor of the Underground Railroad.
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 long was Harriet Tubman A conductor for?
Harriet Tubman’s career in the Railroad was ending by December 1860. She made her last rescue trip to Maryland, bringing seven people to Canada. In the ten years she worked as a “conductor” on the Railroad, Harriet managed to rescue over 300 people.
How old would Harriet Tubman be today?
Harriet Tubman’s exact age would be 201 years 10 months 28 days old if alive. Total 73,747 days. Harriet Tubman was a social life and political activist known for her difficult life and plenty of work directed on promoting the ideas of slavery abolishment.
Was Harriet Tubman an abolitionist?
Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading abolitionist before the American Civil War. She led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom in the North along the route of the Underground Railroad.
Why did William still help slaves?
He personally provided room and board for many Africans who escaped slavery and stopped in Philadelphia on their way to Canada. Through his work with the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery’s Vigilance Committee, he raised funds to assist runaways and arrange their passage to the North.
What is the difference between a train engineer and a conductor?
Locomotive engineers drive passenger and freight trains, while conductors manage the activities of the crew and passengers on the train. Conductors may take payments or tickets from passengers and assist them when they have any difficulties.
How many conductors are on a train?
Most freight trains on most railroads today have a crew of two: one engineer and one conductor.
Is Gertie Davis died?
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.”
Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad
Taking a look at Harriet Tubman, who is considered the most renowned conductor on the Underground Railroad, our Headlines and Heroes blog. Tubman and those she assisted in their emancipation from slavery traveled north to freedom, occasionally crossing the Canadian border. While we’re thinking about the Texas origins of Juneteenth, let’s not forget about a lesser-known Underground Railroad that ran south from Texas to Mexico. In “Harriet Tubman,” The Sun (New York, NY), June 7, 1896, p. 5, there is a description of her life.
Prints Photographs Division is a division of the Department of Photographs.
She then returned to the area several times over the following decade, risking her life in order to assist others in their quest for freedom as a renowned conductor of the Underground Railroad (also known as the Underground Railroad).
- Prior to the Civil War, media coverage of her successful missions was sparse, but what is available serves to demonstrate the extent of her accomplishments in arranging these escapes and is worth reading for that reason.
- Her earliest attempted escape occurred with two of her brothers, Harry and Ben, according to an October 1849 “runaway slave” ad in which she is referred to by her early nickname, Minty, which she still uses today.
- Photograph courtesy of the Bucktown Village Foundation in Cambridge, Maryland.
- Her first name, Harriet, had already been chosen for her, despite the fact that the advertisement does not mention it.
- She had also married and used her husband’s surname, John Tubman, as her own.
- Slaves from the Cambridge, Maryland region managed to evade capture in two separate groups in October 1857.
- In what the newspapers referred to as “a vast stampede of slaves,” forty-four men, women, and children managed to flee the situation.
Tubman and the majority of her family had been held in bondage by the Pattison family.
While speaking at antislavery and women’s rights conferences in the late 1800s, Tubman used her platform to convey her own story of slavery, escape, and efforts to save others.
There are few articles regarding her lectures during this time period since she was frequently presented using a pseudonym to avoid being apprehended and returned to slavery under the rules of the Federal Fugitive Slave Act.
“Harriet Tribbman,” in “Grand A.
Convention at Auburn, New York,” Anti-Slavery Bugle (Salem, Ohio), January 21, 1860, p.
Convention in Auburn, New York,” Anti-Slavery Bugle (Salem, Ohio), January 21, 1860, p.
A description of Harriett Tupman may be found in “A Female Conductor of the Underground Railroad,” published in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA) on June 6, 1860, page 1.
In addition, when Tubman’s remarks were mentioned in the press, they were only quickly summarized and paraphrased, rather than being printed in their whole, as other abolitionists’ speeches were occasionally done.
With the rescue of Charles Nalle, who had escaped slavery in Culpeper, Virginia, but had been apprehended in Troy, New York, where Tubman was on a visit, Tubman’s rescue attempts shifted from Maryland to New York on April 27, 1860, and continued until the end of the year.
At the Woman’s Rights Convention in Boston in early June 1860, when Tubman spoke about these events, the Chicago Press and Tribunereporter responded with racist outrage at the audience’s positive reaction to Tubman’s story of Nalle’s rescue as well as her recounting of her trips back to the South to bring others to freedom.
- Later media coverage of Tubman’s accomplishments was frequently laudatory and theatrical in nature.
- On September 29, 1907, p.
- This and several other later articles are included in the book Harriet Tubman: Topics in Chronicling America, which recounts her early days on the Underground Railroad, her impressive Civil War service as a nurse, scout, and spy in the Union Army, and her post-war efforts.
- In keeping with contemporary biographies such asScenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman(1869) and Harriet, the Moses of her People(1886), both written by Sarah H.
- Taylor, financial secretary at Tuskegee Institute, certain content in these profiles may have been embellished from time to time.
This request was made in an essay written by Taylor shortly before to the release of his book, “The Troubles of a Heroine,” in which he requested that money be delivered directly to Tubman in order to pay off the mortgage on her property so that she may convert it into a “Old Folks’ Home.” On March 10, 1913, Tubman passed away in the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged Negroes in Auburn, New York, where she had lived for the previous twelve years.
While these newspaper stories provide us with crucial views into Harriet Tubman’s amazing heroics, they also serve as excellent examples of the variety of original materials available inChronicling America. More information may be found at:
- Harriet Tubman: A Resource Guide
- Harriet Tubman: A Resource Guide
- Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide
- Slavery in America: A Resource Guide Newspaper advertisements for fugitive slaves, as well as a blog called Headlines and Heroes Topics in Chronicling America: Fugitive Slave Advertisements
A Guide to Resources on Harriet Tubman Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide; Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide Newspaper advertisements for fugitive slaves, as well as a blog called Headlines and Heroes; Topics in Chronicling America: Fugitive Slave Advertisements
Tips for Researching the Underground Railroad – National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Primary materials are the most effective approach to gain an understanding of the Underground Railroad and the experiences of freedom seekers and conductors who used it. Sydney Howard Gay, a New York conductor, kept confidential notes on more than 200 political prisoners. William Still, a conductor on the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia, wrote the first book on the subject, which was released in 1872 and recounted his experiences assisting freedom seekers. Slave tales, which have been written in excess of 6,000 copies, can also give valuable information.
- Consult the Library of Congress’s collection of almost 2,300 first-person narratives of enslavement, Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936 to 1938
Secondary sources from abolitionists, abolitionist organizations and abolitionist newspapers
These three types of sources may be used to get information on freedom seekers, conductors, and safe houses. You can learn about them by reading their personal letters, diaries, organizational records, and newspaper articles:
- The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
- The Library of Congress: Frederick Douglass Newspapers, 1847-1874
- Documenting the American South: Levi Coffin Papers, 1798-1877
- The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
A slew of novels have been produced about the Underground Railroad, freedom seekers, and conductors, among other subjects. Check out what’s available at your local library or bookshop. A short search on the internet may be beneficial for your study. Check that any books you cite were authored by a credible source, such as John Hope Franklin, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Eric Foner, or David Blight, before citing them.
- To get you started, we recommend the following: Eric Foner’s Gateway to Freedom: The Untold Story of the Underground Railroad is a must-read.
Local and state historical societies
Inquiring with your local or state history organization is an excellent approach to learn whether or if there was Underground Railroad activity in your neighborhood. These folks are experts in all elements of your local or state history, and they are an excellent source of information.
- If you reside in Ohio, you should check out the Ohio History Connection website.
National and state park services
Some Underground Railroad or abolitionist sites may come under the administration of the National Park Agency or a state park service, while others may fall under the control of a private entity. Among other things, the home where Frederick Douglass lived at Cedar Hill is a national historic monument that is overseen by rangers from the National Park Service. More information may be found at nps.gov.
Colleges and universities
It’s possible that local history instructors can assist you in the proper path if you’re not sure where to begin your investigation. Some of them may also be specialists on the history of the Underground Railroad, as well as individual conductors and freedom seekers who took part in it. A number of schools and institutions have created online databases that are devoted to certain historical themes and periods. Here are a few illustrations:
- Eastern Illinois University, the Yale University Macmillan Center: Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, and the Harvard University Hutchins Center for African American Research are among the institutions involved.
The use of libraries, and especially librarians, as a resource for historical study is highly recommended.
Choosing the appropriate primary and secondary materials for your assignment is something that librarians are excellent at accomplishing. In addition to books and periodicals, newspapers and databases are among the materials that are frequently available at libraries.
Library of Congress and National Archives
The Library of Congress and the National Archives are two reputable and respected databases to search for information. In contrast to Google and other public search engines, documents on these websites are subjected to a verification and authentication procedure before being published. Using the search term “Underground Railroad,” you will receive over 40,000 “results” from the Library of Congress.
We believe that interactive learning is an excellent method to educate yourself and your family about the Underground Railroad, and that museums like ours provide a variety of learning opportunities. Look up which museums are nearest to you and make a visit to one of them.
- Tickets to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center can be purchased online
If you’re seeking for a basic introduction to the Underground Railroad, I recommend seeing a well-regarded documentary about the subject matter. You will get an informative and inspirational understanding of the Underground Railroad and William Still, a great American hero, via the viewing of Underground Railroad: The William Still Story.
The Secret History of the Underground Railroad
Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race was the title of a series published by De Bow’s Review, a leading Southern periodical, a decade before the Civil War. The series was deemed necessary by the editors because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.
- However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
- Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
- How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
- Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
- The word “Underground Railroad” brings up pictures of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and moonlit routes through the woods in the minds of most people today, just as it did in the minds of most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
- At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
- The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of isolated, unconnected escapes?
- Which historians you trust in will determine the solutions.
One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “great and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, as well as a “great and intricate network” of agents (nearly all of them white).
- “I escaped without the assistance.
- “I have freed myself in the manner of a man.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.
- The journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of runaway slaves in the 1850s was found by an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University while working on her final thesis some years ago, and this discovery served as the inspiration for his current book.
- One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, according to the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always secret at all.
- The New York State Vigilance Committee, established in 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.
Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad, no matter how unlikely it may seem, became popular fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities.
- Political leaders, especially those who had taken vows to protect the Constitution — including the section ordering the return of runaways to their proper masters — blatantly failed to carry out their obligations.
- Judge William Jay, a son of the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, made the decision to disregard fugitive slave laws and contributed money to aid runaway slaves who managed to flee.
- One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that is worth noting.
- It was not recognized for its abolitionist passion, in contrast to places like as Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—as well as communities in upstate New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse.
Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow newspaper, published shortly before the Civil War, claiming the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off the sale of slave-grown cotton and sugar.
- Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bondage.
- The story begins in 1846, when a man called George Kirk slipped away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be discovered by the captain and shackled while awaiting return to his owner.
- The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of local African Americans who were on the lookout for him.
- In this case, the same court found other legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in short order this time.
- In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
- Co-conspirator Louis Napoleon, who is thought to be the freeborn son of a Jewish New Yorker and an African American slave, was employed as an office porter in Gay’s office.
- Gay was the one who, between 1855 and 1856, maintained the “Record of Fugitives,” which the undergraduate discovered in the Columbia University archives and which chronicled more than 200 escapes.
One first-person narrative starts, “I ate one meal a day for eight years.” “It has been sold three times, and it is expected to be sold a fourth time.
Undoubtedly, a countrywide network existed, with its actions sometimes shrouded in secrecy.
Its routes and timetables were continually changing as well.
As with Gay and Napoleon’s collaboration, its operations frequently brought together people from all walks of life, including the affluent and the poor, black and white.
Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, went around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insouciantly purchased a steamship ticket to New York from Savannah.
At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the overall population.
It not only played a role in precipitating the political crisis of the 1850s, but it also galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slaveholders, whether they had personally assisted fugitive slaves, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or simply enjoyed reading about slave escapes in books and newspapers.
- More than anything else, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice if necessary.
- Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments to escape capture.
- Cartwright’s most horrific nightmares.
- On one of the Union’s railway lines, an abolitionist discovered that the volume of wartime traffic was at an all-time high—except on one of them.
- The number of solo travelers is quite limited.” And it’s possible that New Yorkers were surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.
The accompanying essay, on the other hand, soon put their worries at ease. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park. It was never built.
The Underground Railroad Recap: A Different World
Image courtesy of Kyle Kaplan/Amazon Studios Griffin, South Carolina, is a peculiar town with a strange population. White people and Black people both dress up and go along the same streets in nice attire. There’s a building known as a skyscraper that has an elevator and appears to reach out and touch the clouds. It appears to be vastly different from, and far more hopeful than, the area Cora and Caesar left behind in Georgia. Caesar and Cora discuss the possibility of remaining in this place indefinitely, establishing themselves and establishing roots in this new world of access and near freedom.
- But what if Cora and Caesar aren’t in a hurry to get out of the house?
- Cora and Caesar have both found new employment in South Carolina, with Caesar working in a factory and Cora working at a museum.
- However, their mattresses are in dormitories with all of the other Black inhabitants, and their occupations are overseen by white supervisors, evoking memories of the plantation.
- “Work on channeling that African spirit,” he tells her.
- Despite the fact that Cora and Caesar have no idea where the next train will take them, it’s difficult to ignore the newfound liberties they have gained.
(Cora hasn’t merely disappeared; she’s being sought for murder.) I have to constantly reminding myself of this fact since it feels so unfair that she is being treated as the “criminal” in this situation.) Because Cora has stolen the okra seeds, which he describes as “her mother’s birthright,” Ridgeway surmises that she must not know where her mother has fled: “She’s not rushing to somewhere; she’s fleeing somewhere,” he says emphatically.
- As long as I put my exposition-analysis cap on, I suppose that makes sense; but, as long as I put my fuck-Ridgeway cap on, I’m annoyed by his hubris in believing he knows so much about her thought process.
- There is just so much time left with Ridgeway on the prowl.
- “Perhaps we should remain,” Caesar suggests to Cora, who is seated aside from the rest of the guests.
- Despite his best efforts, he is unable to get the kiss.
- “They’re murdering us,” to put it another way.
His companion, Caesar, informs him that “things are occurring here.
They will have to wait for the next train because they missed the one that Sam indicated.
When Homer discovers Cora in the museum, she flees to Sam’s house, where she is escorted down to the railroad tunnel, where she meets Caesar.
In the beginning, I thought Ridgeway wouldn’t recognize Caesar, but his “very special” eyes quickly reveal him to be the man he was.
Walking down the tunnel with a lantern in hand, he promises her that he will never abandon her and recite lines from The Odyssey: “Be strong, says my heart.” I am a member of the military.
Another thing has been taken away from them.
He is also not a conductor and is only authorized to do maintenance.
Cora, filled with emotion, sobs in the back of the cart as it rolls away, alone and unsure of where she is going.
Parker collaborated on the writing of “Chapter 2: South Carolina.” The Pharcyde’s “Runnin’,” from their albumLabcabincalifornia, is the song that plays during the credits at the end of the film.
Fields fall so effortlessly into the character of a slaveholder while giving advice to a white actor at the museum is a horrifying experience.
It’s much too much.
The photo of Caesar and his two coworkers going through town with their suit coats unfastened except for the top buttons was one of my favorites as well.
“However, it was when we were dancing that I saw a vision of our future.” Cora: “Wait a minute, you’re talking about babies?” Cora: “One kiss and you’re talking about babies?” “I’ve never seen a white man to show any regard for what Negroes are psychologically capable of,” Caesar says in response to the use of the word “aptitude.” “Do you understand what aptitude is?” says the doctor.
A little more about Cora’s resentment toward her mother is revealed when she tells one of the physicians, “After my mama left, a bunch of older males started calling me names and pestering me.” “They took me into the woods one night,” says the author.
Cora borrows a book of Gulliver’s Travels from Miss Lucy in this episode, and Caesar receives a gift from Miss Lucy.
A current novel, Reading Railroad: Lakewoodby Megan Giddings, tells the story of a Black college-age girl who agrees to take part in a strange scientific investigation.
The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes. Recap: It’s a Whole Other World
Fact check: Harriet Tubman helped free slaves for the Underground Railroad, but not 300
A statement made by musician Kanye West about renowned abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman has caused widespread discussion on social media about the historical figure. In his first political campaign event, held at the Exquis Event Center in North Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday, West, who declared his presidential run on July 4 through Twitter, received a standing ovation. In his lengthy address, West touched on a wide range of themes ranging from abortion to religion to international commerce and licensing deals, but he inexplicably deviated from the topic by going on a diatribe about Tubman.
- She just sent the slaves to work for other white people, and that was that “Westsaid, et al.
- One post portrays a meme that glorifies Tubman’s anti-slavery achievements and implies that the former slave was the subject of a substantial bounty on her head, according to the post.
- A $40,000 ($1.2 million in 2020) reward was placed on her head at one point.
- The Instagram user who posted the meme has not yet responded to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Tubman freed slaves just not that many
Dorchester County, Maryland, was the setting for the birth of Harriet Tubman, whose given name was Raminta “Minty” Ross, who was born in the early 1820s. She was raised as a house slave from an early age, and at the age of thirteen, she began working in the field collecting flax. Tubman sustained a traumatic brain injury early in his life when an overseer hurled a large weight at him, intending to hit another slave, but instead injuring Tubman. She did not receive adequate medical treatment, and she would go on to have “sleeping fits,” which were most likely seizures, for the rest of her life.
Existing documents, as well as Tubman’s own remarks, indicate that she would travel to Maryland roughly 13 times, rather than the 19 times claimed by the meme.
This was before her very final trip, which took place in December 1860 and saw her transporting seven individuals.” Abolitionist Harriet Tubman was a contemporary of Sarah Hopkins Bradford, a writer and historian who is well known for her herbiographies of the abolitionist.
“Bradford never said that Tubman provided her with such figures, but rather that Bradford calculated the inflated figure that Tubman provided.
In agreement with this was Kate Clifford Larson, author of “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero.” As she wrote in a 2016 opinion article for the Washington Post, “My investigation has validated that estimate, showing that she took away around 70 individuals in approximately 13 trips and supplied instructions to another approximately 70 people who found their way to freedom on their own.” Checking the facts: Nancy Green, the Aunt Jemima model, did not invent the brand.
A bounty too steep
The sole recorded bounty for Tubman was an advertisement placed on Oct. 3, 1849, by Tubman’s childhood mistress, Eliza Brodess, in which she offered a reward for Tubman’s capture. The $100 reward (equivalent to little more than $3,300 today) did not go primarily to Tubman; it also went to her brothers “Ben” and “Harry.” As explained by the National Park Service, “the $40,000 reward number was concocted by Sallie Holley, a former anti-slavery activist in New York who penned a letter to a newspaper in 1867 pleading for support for Tubman in her quest of back pay and pension from the Union Army.” Most historians think that an extravagant reward was unlikely to be offered.
Tubman did, in fact, carry a revolver during her rescue missions, which is one grain of truth in the story.
The photograph used in the meme is an authentic photograph of Tubman taken in her final years.
Our ruling: Partly false
We assess the claim that Harriet Tubman conducted 19 journeys for the Underground Railroad during which she freed over 300 slaves as PARTLY FALSE because some of it is not supported by our research. She also claimed to have a $40,000 bounty on her head and to have carried a weapon throughout her excursions. While it is true that Tubman did free slaves – an estimated 70 throughout her 13 voyages — and that she carried a tiny handgun for her personal security and to deter anybody from coming back, historians and scholars say that the other historical claims contained in the meme are exaggerations.
Our fact-check sources:
- The Washington Post published an article titled “5 Myths About Harriet Tubman” in which Kanye West claims that Tubman never “freed the slaves,” and the Los Angeles Times published an article titled “Rapper Kanye West criticizes Harriet Tubman at a South Carolina rally.” Other articles include Smithsonian Magazine’s “The True Story Behind the Harriet Tubman Movie”
- Journal of Neurosurgery’s “Head Injury in Heroes of the Civil
- Thank you for your interest in and support of our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app, or electronic version of the newspaper by visiting this link. Our fact-checking efforts are made possible in part by a grant from Facebook.
John P. Parker, Conductor, on the Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a network of free African Americans and sympathetic whites who worked together to conceal, clothe, and escort escaped slaves to the United States and eventual freedom. It was a series of stations that were frequently attended by local vigilance committees in northern settlements that made up the “railroad.” John P. Parker was born into slavery in Norfolk, Virginia, but he was emancipated by 1845 and became a free man. He relocated to Ripley, Ohio, which had a thriving abolitionist population, and worked as an iron master during the day while rescuing escaped slaves during the evening hours.
It is thought that Parker assisted hundreds of people in escaping to freedom over the Ohio River from Kentucky along the most heavily used section of the railroad.
Because of my initial trip, I was encouraged to relocate to Ripley, where there was an iron factory.
It was as crowded as a swarm at that point in time.
There was a thriving community of living males in the area, which helped to establish it as the hub of industry and finance.
There were the top and lower boatyards, which were both busy all year.
The boatyard was located on a point of land below the stream, which provided a secure harbor in both the winter and summer.
Throughout the winter, these boats were produced in large quantities and at a quick pace.
The bottoms of these boats were built first before being painted.
The steamboats were on the move throughout the winter months, as well.
Throughout the winter and summer, a steady stream of logs ran down the river roadways into the town, which was accessible at all times.
At all times of the year, the slaughterhouses were operating at full capacity.
One mill, set back from the river, was equipped with an overhead gravity runway, which transported barrels from the mill across the stream and down to the shore, where they were loaded onto flatboats.
Sleighs or teams of four to six horses were used to transport these items into town from the countryside.
The majority of the jeans for the town and flatboats were produced by a woolen mill.
33 During the Panic of 1837, this little town was so prosperous that it transferred cash to New York banks to assist them in getting through the crisis.
A passing observation: the time period I have just been dealing with is now 60 years after the time period I have just been dealing with.
The flatboats have long since vanished, and not even a steamboat can be seen in the harbor.
The men and women of Ripley’s city have gone to their last resting place.
So swiftly does our country evolve, not just in terms of its trading locations, but also in terms of its trading practices.
The small number of old-time abolitionists lived and worked in the middle of all of this economic activity.
Alexander Campbell, Rev.
Beasley, and Rev.
Abolitionists were not within the group of businesspeople, but they were anti-slavery activists.
The land was so hostile to abolitionism at the time that we could only transport fugitives out of town and through the country on specific routes that were clearly defined and limited.
Throughout the year, these guys stood guard along the riverside at all hours of the day and night.
The atmosphere became very strained.
Many Methodists expressed quiet support for the cause, would donate money to us, but would refrain from taking an active part in the fight.
Following the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law in, the attitude of the citizens of the town become even more skeptical of our organization’s activities.
I had kept a notebook in which I recorded the names, dates, and circumstances of all of the slaves I had assisted in their escape, a total of 315 at the time of writing.
However, despite the fact that the other men were similarly wary, the job continued.
Now for an experience that tested every ounce of my talent and resourcefulness in order to get me out of a sticky predicament.
His anxiousness was caused by a word from a freeman to the effect that there was a group of refugees sheltering in the woods in Kentucky approximately 20 miles from the river, which he had received.
They were completely powerless because they had no one to lead them.
I offered to go to the rescue since I was new to the field and quite enthusiastic about it.
Even the colored guy, who was once a slave, resided over the river in Kentucky with his family.
He further told me that he would transport me to the cabin of another colored slave, who would then direct me to the fugitives’ hiding place.
That night, we discovered the group in the middle of a dense forest, terrified and completely defenseless.
Since the death of their leader, they have been immobilized by terror, and they have gathered together like toddlers.
Fortunately, food had been provided by friends, so they were well nourished; otherwise, I would have been unable to do anything with them.
I drew my revolver and gave him the option of gathering up his belongings and accompanying me, or being shot in the head with a cold steel bullet.
As you will see in a moment, it was a fortunate thing for me that I did.
Due to the fact that we were in the Borderland, which was heavily guarded, and we were sure to come across one of the guards at any bend in the road, we were unable to go on with our group.
With the exception of a few clearings here and there, impenetrable trees stretched all the way down to the river, making it difficult to move during the day.
They were useless woodsmen; no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep them from tearing down the bushes and treading on dry logs, the cracking of which boomed through the woods like an alarm bell.
I quickly realized that I would have to confine them to the ravines, where the ferns and moss flourished.
I pleaded with him once again to stay near the celebration.
Fortunately, I was able to carry the celebration forward.
In pursuit of two white guys, Andcame tearing into the brush at breakneck speed.
The gentleman, having misplaced his bearings and flying by where we were resting, was arrested.
Drawing my revolver, I threatened them in hushed tones that I would shoot the first one who dared to make a disturbance, which had the effect of quieting them down.
After carefully scanning the bushes, I noticed our man being carried by a rope.
He had his arms tied behind his back, as if he were a prisoner.
It was a very tight escape for myself and my companions, for if we had continued straight ahead, we would have all been caught and taken prisoner.
With my voice, I convinced them that I was in worse danger than they were, and that, if they didn’t listen to me, I would leave them where they were and go in search of safety.
I moved forward, my party hidden behind me, to take stock of the situation.
Now that the party was ready to go forward, it was only after further threats that I was able to get securely into the brush.
Wagons rumbled past from time to time, and I didn’t dare let any of my party members get out of sight, much less move without my permission.
As a result, there was no boat waiting for us when we arrived.
My prospects were severely hampered when I came face to face with a patrol.
I had a feeling that the entire countryside would soon be buzzing like a hornet’s nest, and I was right.
As far as I was concerned, I could see the lights of the town, but they might have passed for the moon in terms of providing comfort to me in my current predicament.
My only chance was to make it to them before my pursuers did.
I just paused long enough to tell her to follow us if she was able, since I couldn’t stand the thought of waiting any longer.
The oars had to be found next, which was the following step.
I heard the howl of hounds while we were running around in circles.
Jumping into the boat to tear up a seat to use as a paddle, I lost my footing and tripped over the oars, which I had missed seeing in the darkness.
Two guys were abandoned on the side of the river.
I ignored her and continued to push off.
For one of the single men who was securely in the boat, upon hearing the woman’s cries for her husband, rose without saying anything and proceeded silently to the bank.
As I rowed away to safety, I caught a glimpse of the quiet but helpless victim in the distance.
Collins was both shocked and pleased to see me when I arrived.
James Gilliland, who lived approximately five miles outside of town at Red Oak Chapel.
See the John P.
Source: John P.
Parker, Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground Railroad, ed. Stuart Seely Sprague (New York: W.W. Norton, 1996), pp. 97–104 (John P. Parker, His Promised Land: The Autobiography of John P. Parker, Former Slave and Conductor on the Underground Railroad).