What Is The Central Idea Of The Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad—the resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, through the end of the Civil War—refers to the efforts of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom by escaping bondage. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape.

What is the central theme of the Underground Railroad?

  • Perhaps the most central theme in The Underground Railroad, freedom is the goal that motivates the protagonist, Cora. Her meditations on freedom provide valuable insight into the importance of this theme.

What is the central idea of the text the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad was established to provide a secret way for slaves to escape from slavery in the South to freedom in the North.

What is the main idea of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad?

Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head.

What are the themes of the Underground Railroad?

For today the students should have read the second half of Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad. This day, the class will focus around some of the themes present in the novel: Family, Heritage, and Home; Endurance vs. Rebellion; Death and Freedom.

What can we learn from the Underground Railroad?

It provided an opportunity for sympathetic Americans to assist in the abolition of slavery. It demonstrates the creativity and innovation of communication systems and planned escapes.

Why does the author choose to call the individuals who worked on the underground railroad conductors?

Why does the author choose to call the individuals who worked on the Underground Railroad “conductors”? They were responsible for driving the trains that took slaves from slavery in the South to freedom in the North. They carried pistols on their hips that were known by people in the North as “conductors.”

What are the routes of the Underground Railroad?

These were called “stations,” “safe houses,” and “depots.” The people operating them were called “stationmasters.” There were many well-used routes stretching west through Ohio to Indiana and Iowa. Others headed north through Pennsylvania and into New England or through Detroit on their way to Canada.

Was the underground railroad an actual railroad?

Nope! Despite its name, the Underground Railroad wasn’t a railroad in the way Amtrak or commuter rail is. It wasn’t even a real railroad. The Underground Railroad of history was simply a loose network of safe houses and top secret routes to states where slavery was banned.

Did the underground railroad start the Civil War?

The Underground Railroad physically resisted the repressive laws that held slaves in bondage. By provoking fear and anger in the South, and prompting the enactment of harsh legislation that eroded the rights of white Americans, the Underground Railroad was a direct contributing cause of the Civil War.

Why was the underground railroad important?

The underground railroad, where it existed, offered local service to runaway slaves, assisting them from one point to another. The primary importance of the underground railroad was that it gave ample evidence of African American capabilities and gave expression to African American philosophy.

What is the theme of escape to freedom?

The Dual Nature of Freedom By entitling his book “Escape from Freedom” Fromm conjures up what seems to be a paradox. This freedom from external control is indeed freedom, Fromm writes, but it comes at a cost. The more a person is free, Fromm argues, the less he is connected to others. Fromm uses the example

What happens to Cora in the Underground Railroad?

Cora is a slave on a plantation in Georgia and an outcast after her mother Mabel ran off without her. She resents Mabel for escaping, although it is later revealed that her mother tried to return to Cora but died from a snake bite and never reached her.

What genre is the Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead?

The Underground Railroad was a secret system developed to aid fugitive slaves on their escape to freedom. The free individuals who helped runaway slaves travel toward freedom were called conductors, and the fugitive slaves were referred to as cargo.

The Underground Railroad Themes

Perhaps the most important subject in The Underground Railroad is the pursuit of freedom, which is what drives the protagonist, Cora, to accomplish what she does. It is through her reflections on freedom that we gain a great understanding of the significance of this topic. Freedom is “the dearest coin of all,” as it is even more valuable than the profit that fuels the institution of slavery in the United States (175). Freedom, on the other hand, is an elusive ideal that remains just out of grasp throughout the whole story.

When Ridgeway discovers them and the white villagers murder Caesar, this false promise of freedom is brought to an abrupt halt.

In the end, Cora and her caravan set off westward, bringing the tale to a close.

As a result, the novel’s notion of freedom is more nuanced and confusing than just the absence of slavery.

  • Cora is cooped up in an attic in North Carolina, nominally free from slavery, but she is unable to move freely or do as she pleases because of the conditions of her confinement.
  • To put it another way, perhaps liberation is always just a step or two away.
  • Underground Railroad Slavery is a type of bondage in the United States in which African-origin human beings are enslaved on the African continent and transferred to the United States, where they work for white profit until they die.
  • Garner’s farm in Virginia, which was a comparatively moderate version of slavery.
  • A ruthless slave owner exercising his whims on a totally defenseless slave population is best illustrated by Terrance Randall, who whips, dismembers, hangs, and rapes his slaves for the most minor of offenses on his estate.
  • Innovations in technology, such as the cotton gin, result in higher cotton yields and, if the number of slaves in the field increases, more profits are expected.
  • As Cora points out, even the slaves themselves acknowledge the need of their enslavement: it is necessary for America, the “machine that will not stop,” to continue making profits (117).

Slavery is also shown as a monster with a long reach, one that rears its head even after characters believe they have defeated it.

Every time Cora believes she has achieved freedom—first in South Carolina, then in Indiana—Ridgeway appears to bring her back to where she started.

North Carolina white folks, for example, live in terror of a black uprising since they live in a white-dominated state.

Labor plays a crucial role in the Underground Railroad’s history.

Regardless of the environment, work is essential.

Connelly and his whip are there in the fields, making the hard work of the slaves even more arduous.

Work songs assist slaves maintain their spirits throughout the day.

It is also this slave labor that serves as the engine of white America’s economic growth and prosperity.

Labor, on the other hand, exists in a free society as well.

The motto for Valentine’s Day is “Stay and contribute.” Cora contributes to the household by helping out in the laundry, the milk house, the nursery, and the cornfields.

Cora struggles at first to ignore the negative implications that labor carries; every sort of job reminds her of her time on the Randall plantation.

As a result, work serves as a metaphor for how one’s experience is shaped by their environment, whether it be slavery or freedom.

Cora goes through a number of various locations throughout the novel, each of which represents a different component of the plot.

man’s It serves as a type of transitional state between slavery and freedom.

Cora’s mother perishes in the marsh, her body being consumed by the in-between world.

First and foremost, South Carolina’s environment exemplifies the state’s bureaucratic approach to maintaining racial order.

In addition, the Griffin Building on Main Street, a skyscraper filled with government and commercial sector buildings, towers above the town’s black population, evoking the authoritarian, hierarchical nature of South Carolina.

Body after body line this length of road through the woods, which is lined with hanged black men, women, and children, who were displayed as a warning of North Carolina’s genocidal rule.

The promise of open space or territory stands in stark contrast to these developed landscapes, and this motif recurs throughout the story.

The text tells the story of how white males in America forced the Cherokee out of their homeland in order to make place for European settlers.

As Cora makes her journey west, the novel finishes with the promise of new country, maybe free of the stain of slavery.

Much of Cora’s tale is shaped by the experiences of her mother, Mabel, and her maternal grandmother, Ajarry, who came before her.

Ajarry’s chains are passed down through generations, and they have an impact on Cora as she contemplates whether or not to flee.

It is symbolic of the sustenance mothers provide to their daughters even after their deaths that the yams and turnips harvested from Ajarry’s garden are harvested by Mabel and Cora.

Cora has resented her mother her entire life for abandoning her in bondage, believing that Mabel has successfully escaped to the United States.

Cora’s dreams, on the other hand, reflect a strong affinity for youngsters as well as a strong bond with her mother.

She also cherishes her connections with the young folks she meets along the way, beginning with Chester on the Randall plantation and moving on to Molly on the Valentine farm later in the book.

It is shown in the book through Cora’s focus with the often-troubled relationship between a mother and her daughter that the importance of the link between generations is highlighted.

The novel juxtaposes many perspectives on the progression of the plot.

Cora contemplates the new development from the roof one evening as she looks down on the neighborhood.

and their new initiatives,” she cannot help but want for a similar future for herself: “One day, the structure would be joined by brothers and sisters, who would stride across the earth.

However, the government operations that are administered out of the Griffin Building’s offices turn out to be nefarious, including coercive birth control and medical investigations that are reminiscent of the Tuskegee experiment.

Indeed, the novel casts a sharply critical eye on the concepts of progress that have become entrenched in American culture.

It was a non-stop engine, with a voracious boiler that was fueled by human blood and guts ” (117).

It was essential to the development of the nation’s economy.

Mountain Ridgeway holds fast to the concept of “Manifest Destiny,” a fatal axis of profit, ownership, and expansion that he believes is the fate of white people in America.

There is no alternative path, no means for her to change the course of her life.

According to Cora, the world is unpredictable; good people suffer, while wicked ones prosper, and vice versa. Throughout the story, Cora’s journey explores the conflict that exists between destiny and the random whims of the world around her.

What is the central idea of the text? Underground Railroad (commonlit) – Brainly.com

What is it that the clinker process enables the Viking ships to accomplish? A. Use the wind to your advantage in order to gain speed B. Unload as soon and effectively as possible C. Travel more quickly with heavier goods on board D. Intimidate other countries by wearing bright colors. Nicodemus was a Jewish ruler who also served as a: Scribe Priest of the Pharisees and Sadducees Please give an example of Sumerian architecture to illustrate your point. How did writing evolve in Sumeria through time, according to the “Cuneiform in Mesopotamia” portion of the website?

  • Have a wonderful DaYyYy!
  • Is it possible to tell what happened to Babylon over the thousand years after Hammurabi’s reign?
  • Which of the following was a constraint that African Americans in the northern United States encountered during the antebellum period?
  • Unable to remain outside after a predetermined curfew has been established.
  • Being unable to visit the state without authorization D.
  • The situation is as follows: The Scientific Revolution marked a shift away from religion and ancient literature, and instead emphasized empiricism and experimentation.
  • Consider the following example: if you want to know why the leaves change color, you would not look to religion or historical literature for the answer.
See also:  Where Did Underground Railroad End? (Solution)

Observational learning Studying the intrinsic qualities of leaves, as well as how those internal properties react to and adapt to external influences, is the focus of this study.

When it comes to learning about the world, the scientific method is a technique or a procedure to follow.

In what respects does empiricism offer a challenge to established methods of knowledge acquisition?

It was these sources that you resorted to when you needed to discover whether something was true or not.

A popular technique to learning about nature and the world would be to study the Bible and see what it has to say about it.

In addition, intellectuals from Ancient Greece and Rome wrote on their findings, which is a standard technique to take.

According to these new scientists, neither the church, nor the king, nor the old intellectuals possessed all of the answers.

The main idea is as follows: PLEASE HELP ME OUT!

is an excerpt from “Science,” by Cristian Violatti, which was published in the Ancient History Encyclopedia.

During the reign of Confucius (c.

479 BCE), Chinese astronomers were able to predict the occurrence of eclipses with reasonable accuracy.

After many centuries and generations, a mathematical treatise titled The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art was finally finished in the 2nd century BCE, after many years and generations.

As a result of this book’s development of algebra and geometry, it is also the first time in recorded history that negative quantities are mentioned.

The creation of innovations was an area in which the Chinese demonstrated extraordinary ability.

In what ways did gunpowder, printing, and the compass move beyond the borders of Asian civilizations? What countries did these technologies expand to, and what was the impact of these innovations? HELP!

Eastern Illinois University : Teaching with Primary Sources

When it comes to Viking ships, what can they get away with using the clinker method? In order to increase speed, A. must force the wind against the sails; B. must unload swiftly and effectively C. Travel more quickly with heavier loads on board D. Use bright colors to intimidate other nations. A king of the Jews, Nicodemus had the titles of Scribe Priest of the Pharisees and the Sadducees Please give an example of Sumerian architecture to demonstrate your point. How did writing evolve in Sumeria through time, according to the “Cuneiform in Mesopotamia” part of the book?

  1. Greetings and best wishes!
  2. During the thousand years after Hammurabi’s reign, what happened to Babylon?
  3. African Americans in the northern United States were subjected to what kind of restrictions in antebellum times?
  4. Unable to remain outside after a predetermined curfew has been enforced.
  5. Being unable to enter the state without permission D.
  6. The situation is as follows: the.
  7. Empiricism is the belief that knowledge can only be gained from experience.

You wouldn’t turn to religion or ancient texts to find out.

Studying the intrinsic qualities of leaves, as well as how those internal properties react to and adapt to external influences, is what we’re doing here.

When it comes to learning about the world, the scientific method is a method or a process to use.

Describe how empirical inquiry represents a challenge to established methods of knowledge acquisition.

When you needed to know whether anything was real or not, you went to the following sources for confirmation.

Religion (the Church, the Bible, and God) is number one on the list.

Because most people were illiterate, they would have to consult a Christian Priest who was literate.

As a genuine basis for truth, the Scientific Revolution’s intellectuals called into question the legitimacy of various sources of information.

Instead of relying on others for solutions, they chose to attempt to find them for themselves.


Document B Source: An excerpt from “Science,” by Cristian Violatti, which was published in the Ancient History Encyclopedia.the development of Chinese science.

In particular, the court astronomers were interested in the sciences of astronomy and mathematics because the calendar was a delicate imperial matter: the life of the sky and the life on earth had to evolve in harmony, and the sun and the moon governed the many festivals.

551 to 479 BCE).

A mathematical treatise titled The Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art was finished during the 2nd century BCE, following many decades and generations of work.

Algebra and geometry are developed in this book, and for the first time in recorded history, negative quantities are mentioned as well.

The ability to create innovations was one area in which the Chinese excelled.

In what ways did gunpowder, printing, and the compass move beyond the borders of Asian civilization? When and where did these technologies become widespread, and what was the result of their influence? HELP!

A Dangerous Path to Freedom

Traveling through the Underground Railroad to seek their freedom was a lengthy and risky trek for escaped slaves. Runaway slaves were forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, in a short amount of time in order to escape. They accomplished this while surviving on little or no food and with little protection from the slave hunters who were rushing after them in the night. Slave owners were not the only ones who sought for and apprehended fleeing slaves. For the purpose of encouraging people to aid in the capture of these slaves, their owners would post reward posters offering monetary compensation for assisting in the capture of their property.

  1. Numerous arrested fugitive slaves were beaten, branded, imprisoned, sold back into slavery, or sometimes killed once they were apprehended.
  2. They would have to fend off creatures that wanted to kill and devour them while trekking for lengthy periods of time in the wilderness, as well as cross dangerous terrain and endure extreme temperatures.
  3. The Fleeing Slave Law of 1850 permitted and promoted the arrest of fugitive slaves since they were regarded as stolen property rather than mistreated human beings under the law at the time.
  4. They would not be able to achieve safety and freedom until they crossed the border into Canada.
  5. Aside from that, there were Underground Railroad routes that ran south, on their way to Mexico and the Caribbean.
  6. He was kidnapped from his northern abode, arrested, and prosecuted in Boston, Massachusetts, under the provisions of this legislation.
  7. After the trial, Burns was returned to the harshness of the southern states, from which he had thought he had fled.

American Memory and America’s Library are two names for the Library of Congress’ American Memory and America’s Library collections.

He did not escape via the Underground Railroad, but rather on a regular railroad.

Since he was a fugitive slave who did not have any “free papers,” he had to borrow a seaman’s protection certificate, which indicated that a seaman was a citizen of the United States, in order to prove that he was free.

Unfortunately, not all fugitive slaves were successful in their quest for freedom.

Harriet Tubman, Henry Bibb, Anthony Burns, Addison White, Josiah Henson, and John Parker were just a few of the people who managed to escape slavery using the Underground Railroad system.

He shipped himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a box that measured three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two feet in diameter. When he was finally let out of the crate, he burst out singing.


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

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

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

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

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

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

See also:  Why Was The Underground Railroad Called The Underground Railroad?

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

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

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

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

Efforts of Abolitionists Telling Their Story:Fugitive Slave Narratives

Henry Bibb was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner. After several failed efforts to emancipate himself from slavery, he maintained the strength and persistence to continue his struggle for freedom despite being captured and imprisoned numerous times. His determination paid off when he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then on to Canada with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, which had been highly anticipated. The following is an excerpt from his tale, in which he detailed one of his numerous escapes and the difficulties he faced as a result of his efforts.

  1. I began making preparations for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the shackles that tied me as a slave as soon as the clock struck twelve.
  2. On the twenty-fifth of December, 1837, the long-awaited day had finally arrived when I would put into effect my previous determination, which was to flee for Liberty or accept death as a slave, as I had previously stated.
  3. It took every ounce of moral strength I have to keep my emotions under control as I said goodbye to my small family.
  4. Despite the fact that every incentive was extended to me in order to flee if I want to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free, oh, man!
  5. I was up against a slew of hurdles that had gathered around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded soul, which was still imprisoned in the dark prison of mental degeneration.
  6. Furthermore, the danger of being killed or arrested and deported to the far South, where I would be forced to spend the rest of my days in hopeless bondage on a cotton or sugar plantation, all conspired to discourage me.
  7. The moment has come for me to follow through on my commitment.
  8. This marked the beginning of the construction of what was known as the underground rail route to Canada.

For nearly forty-eight hours, I pushed myself to complete my journey without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: “not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not a single house in which I could enter to protect me from the storm.” This is merely one of several accounts penned by runaway slaves who were on the run from their masters.

Sojourner Truth was another former slave who became well-known for her work to bring slavery to an end.

Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal experiences.

Perhaps a large number of escaped slaves opted to write down their experiences in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or perhaps they did so in order to help folks learn from the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future for themselves.


The first few pages of the novel introduce the idea that Corawas was predestined to run away because her mother, Mabel, had also run away—that running away and wanting freedom is something she inherited from her mother and grandmother. Despite the fact that Cora despises her mother for abandoning her to a life of captivity, the last chapter indicates that Mabel felt that by fleeing, she would be able to implant the notion of freedom in Cora’s subconscious. This is a lineage of freedom between mother and daughter that has.

Everyone associated with the novel’s black protagonists, whether enslaved or free, must continuously navigate the hard option between suffering the cruelty of slavery and prejudice or risking everything in a (presumably futile) attempt to revolt against the system.

In a same vein, torture and execution.

Cora, on the other hand, observes that even individuals who would never consider fleeing still have a desire for freedom: “Every dream is a dream of escape.” Despite the fact that enslaved individuals are unable to consciously envisage liberation, they are actively seeking it in their unconsciousness.

Death and Freedom: A Critical Examination

Value, Ownership, and Commodification

At many points in the narrative, the narrator stresses that slavery is an economic system, and that the social and moral conduct of the white characters is primarily influenced by economic considerations. To provide an example, Terrance Randall’ssadistic attitude and cruel, lecherous actions toward Corais were related to his goal to make the Randall plantation the most efficient and lucrative possible. Additionally, Ridgeway determines that killing the seized slave Jasper will be more monetarily advantageous since he figures that it will.

Cora and the other characters are so accustomed to violence in their lives in the world of the novel that even the most cruel and terrible incidents, such as Big Anthony’s punishment after he is discovered attempting to flee, do not strike them as particularly shocking.

have a look at the Brutality and Violation report

History, Myth, and Fantasy

It should be noted that The Underground Railroad is a historical work, and much of what happens is an authentic picture of reality in mid-19th century America at the time of publication. As part of this strategy, Whitehead included a number of fanciful and ahistorical aspects in the tale, some of which will be more instantly identifiable to readers than others. With this choice, the historical fiction community has consciously rejected the need that historical fiction depict the past realistically and correctly.

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Underground Railroad

See how abolitionists in the United States, like as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Thomas Garrett, assisted enslaved people in their attempts to escape to freedom. Learn about the abolitionist movement in the United States, as well as the importance of the Underground Railroad in this historical period. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a publishing company that publishes encyclopedias. View all of the videos related to this topic. When escaped slaves from the South were secretly assisted by sympathetic Northerners, in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Acts, to reach safe havens in the North or Canada, this was referred to as the Underground Railroad in the United States.

Even though it was neither underground nor a railroad, it was given this name because its actions had to be carried out in secret, either via the use of darkness or disguise, and because railroad words were employed in relation to the system’s operation.

In all directions, the network of channels stretched over 14 northern states and into “the promised land” of Canada, where fugitive-slave hunters were unable to track them down or capture them.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, obtained firsthand experience of escaped slaves via her association with the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lived for a time during the Civil War.

The existence of the Underground Railroad, despite the fact that it was only a small minority of Northerners who took part in it, did much to arouse Northern sympathy for the plight of slaves during the antebellum period, while also convincing many Southerners that the North as a whole would never peacefully allow the institution of slavery to remain unchallenged.

When was the first time a sitting president of the United States appeared on television?

Amy Tikkanen has made the most current revisions and updates to this page.

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals – many whites but predominently black – who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year – according to one estimate,the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850. An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a “society of Quakers, formed for such purposes.” The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed “The Underground Railroad,” after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called “stations” and “depots” and were run by “stationmasters,” those who contributed money or goods were “stockholders,” and the “conductor” was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next.For the slave, running away to the North was anything but easy. The first step was to escape from the slaveholder. For many slaves, this meant relying on his or her own resources. Sometimes a “conductor,” posing as a slave, would enter a plantation and then guide the runaways northward. The fugitives would move at night. They would generally travel between 10 and 20 miles to the next station, where they would rest and eat, hiding in barns and other out-of-the-way places. While they waited, a message would be sent to the next station to alert its stationmaster.The fugitives would also travel by train and boat – conveyances that sometimes had to be paid for. Money was also needed to improve the appearance of the runaways – a black man, woman, or child in tattered clothes would invariably attract suspicious eyes. This money was donated by individuals and also raised by various groups, including vigilance committees.Vigilance committees sprang up in the larger towns and cities of the North, most prominently in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. In addition to soliciting money, the organizations provided food, lodging and money, and helped the fugitives settle into a community by helping them find jobs and providing letters of recommendation.The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.
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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Teacher’s Guide: 9780345804327

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR TEACHERS Instructions for Teachers The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes. Cora, a young African American lady who goes to freedom from the antebellum South via a magnificently conceived physical—rather than metaphorical—railroad, is introduced in The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. The locations and people Cora experiences throughout the novel, which is told in episodes, furnish her and the reader with important discoveries about the consequences of captivity.

The reader is reminded of the importance of hope, of resistance, and of freedom via Cora, making The Underground Railroadan essential supplement to any classroom curriculum.

An understanding of the slave trade, slavery, and how it operated in the United States is necessary in order to make sense of the number of Africans who were enslaved and the historical legacy of enslavement that has lasted through Reconstruction, the civil rights movement, and up to the present day in the United States.

  • Most importantly, including The Underground Railroadallows readers to bear witness to a counter-narrative of slavery that is not generally covered in the literature on slavery.
  • Because of the Underground Railroad, we are reminded that her tale may be used as a springboard for bigger talks about racism, gender, and a slew of other critical issues.
  • When used at the collegiate level, the book is suited for writing and literary classes, race and gender studies, and first-year/common reading programs, among other things.
  • The prompts are organized according to the standard that they most directly support.
  • For a comprehensive listing of the Standards, please see the following link: warnings: There are multiple instances of violence throughout the text (sexual and physical).
  • Although teachers should not avoid exposing children to these events, guiding them through them via conversation and critical analysis will help them gain a better understanding of the consequences of enslavement as it has been experienced by so many people throughout history.
  • Activity in the Classroom Make a list of all the ways in which Cora fights against the dehumanization that comes with servitude.

Then hold a Socratic seminar to determine in what ways she is a “insurrection of one” (172) and why her resistance is such a threat to the system of white supremacy.Key Ideas and Specifics : CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.3 Examine the consequences of the author’s decisions about how to develop and connect the many aspects of a tale or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

  1. Even while whites continue to orchestrate festivals among the slave population in South Carolina, free people are free to congregate and spend time with one another whenever they choose.
  2. And what do these get-togethers have to say about community, kinship, and happiness?
  3. What aspects of South Carolina’s enslavement are similar to those of slavery?
  4. What characteristics distinguish South Carolina from Randall?
  5. Her reading materials include a Bible and almanacs, which “Cora admired.
  6. What role does the act of reading, and hence literacy, play in Cora’s ability to be free?

Consider, as well, how Ethel and Ridgeway use the Bible and religion to justify slavery: “If God had not intended for Africans to be enslaved, they would not be in chains” (195); and Cora’s observation: “Slavery is a sin when whites are subjected to the yoke, but not when Africans are subjected to the yoke” (195).

  • This is how Ridgeway describes his position: “I’m an idea of order.” Likewise, the slave who vanishes is only a fictitious concept.
  • If we allow it to happen, we are acknowledging the fault in the imperative.
  • Is there a “defect in the imperative,” and why is it critical for Ridgeway and the larger institution of enslavement that is reliant on Black people that this flaw be addressed and eliminated?
  • Mingo and Lander are similar in many ways.
  • What are the similarities and differences between these two guys and Booker T.
  • E.
  • Du Bois?

Examine the relevance of how each person who worked on the railroad—from station agents to conductors—was influenced by their jobs and the railroad itself.

Which concepts such as resistance, agency, and responsibility do these individuals hold dear to their hearts?

The ability to read and to be literate provided one with a tremendous instrument for comprehending the world and for liberating others from oppression.

Consider the significance of the Valentine library, which boasts “the largest collection of negroliterature this side of Chicago,” among other things (273).

What role does Cora’s experience play in articulating the relationship between freedom and literacy?

Cora’s grandmother, Ajarry, is our first introduction to her.

What role does Ajarry play in setting a good example for Mabel, and in especially for Cora, is unclear.

A comparison has been made between the episodic structure of The Underground Railroad and that of Jonathan Swift’sGulliver’s Travels by Colson Whitehead.

A station agent tells Cora, “If you want to see what this country is all about, I always say you have to ride the rails,” as he tells her he wants her to ride the trains.

What role does Lumbly’s appraisal play in framing Cora’s next phase of her trip once she leaves Georgia?

Cora travels the majority of the way by herself.

Years ago, she had taken a wrong turn and was no longer able to find her way back to the folks she had left behind” (145).

Also, how do her travels influence her perspective on the ever-present threat of sexual assault against Black women, as well as the general lack of protection for enslaved women?

Examine the Friday Festivals and the night riders to see how they compare.

What are the ways in which these occurrences express worries of black rebellion?

Instead, he and his family were sold and split apart by the government.

Gulliver’s Travels is the title of the book.

The notion of literacy for freedom is sustained by Caesar’s hunger for knowledge in what way is unclear.

Who was the one who started it?

The question is, how could this be both a “community striving for something precious and unique” and a threat to others (such as the residents in the nearby town, slave hunters, and so on)?

Is there a clear message about risk and return in this?

Why is Sam the only one that returns to Cora out of all of the agents she has encountered?

Look at page 285 and see how Lander responds to Mingo.

What is the role of illusion throughout the narrative, and why is this particular moment so important for the acts that follow?

“You have a responsibility to pass on something beneficial to your children” (293).

What is their legacy in Cora, and how has it been realized?

Examine the relevance of turning the Underground Train into a real-world railroad system.

Create stations for students to study and debate each advertising based on a framing text (for example, “New Databases Offer Insight into the Lives of Escaped Slaves” from the New York Times).

What are some of the parallels and contrasts between the actual announcements and Cora’s version of them?

Knowledge and ideas are integrated in this process.

“That tale, like so many that we tell about our nation’s past, has a complicated relationship to the truth: not exactly false, but simplified; not quite a myth, but mythologized,” argues Kathryn Schultz in her essay “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” in the New Yorker.

For what reason is it necessary to emphasize African Americans’ participation in the abolitionist movement?

According to the Slave Memorial Act of 2003, “the District of Columbia shall be the site of a memorial to slavery to: (1) acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery throughout the United States and its thirteen American colonies; and (2) honor the nameless and forgotten men, women, and children who have gone unrecognized for their undeniable and weighty contribution to the development of the United States.

” There are no national monuments dedicated to the enslavement of Africans in the United States at this time.

What is the most appropriate method to commemorate and remember the enslavement of African people?

Draw on examples from the book to support your reasoning as you create an artistic depiction that places Cora inside that lineage, stretching the history all the way to the current day.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.7 Research projects that are both short and long in duration are carried out to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; when necessary, inquiries are narrowed or broadened; and multiple sources on the subject are synthesized to demonstrate understanding of the subject under investigation.

One of the episodes should be chosen as a starting point for doing critical analysis and presenting findings from research on one of the issues listed below, along with an explanation of how that topic relates to the novel’s themes.

forced sterilization, settler colonialism, lynching, African Americans and abolitionism, African American slave rebellions, sexual violence against African American women, reparations, literacy practices during and after enslavement, the role of white women in slavery, maroons and maronage, racial health disparities, and reparations.

(Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” The Atlantic, November 2005.

Social Theory, Sociology, “Settler Colonialism: An Introduction from the Perspective of Global Social Theory.” (E.

The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City.

NPR’s “Fresh Air” program.

Kathryn, “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” is a book about the Underground Railroad.

Works of Spectacular Interest Podcast with a historically black cast.

Ashley Bryan is a writer of children’s books.

Ava DuVernay’s Thirteenth (film) Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Alex Haley (film), Joel C.

Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a classic.

Promoting High Achievement Among African American Students, Young, Gifted, and Black (Young, Gifted, and Black), Theresa Perry is a woman who works in the fashion industry.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is located in Washington, DC.

Gregory Christie is a writer and poet from the United Kingdom.

Heather’s book, Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, is a must-read for anybody interested in African American history.

Author of Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom, Heather A.

Monroe Work is the webpage for the Lynching Project.

Kimberly N.

Previously, she served as president of the New England Association of Teachers of English and as the National Council of Teachers of English’s Secondary Representative at-Large for the secondary division.

A Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois at Champaign, Dr. Parker is an expert in the field of education. WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUThtml /

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