What States Did The Underground Railroad Start? (Suits you)

Most of the enslaved people helped by the Underground Railroad escaped border states such as Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland. In the deep South, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made capturing escaped enslaved people a lucrative business, and there were fewer hiding places for them.

Was the Underground Railroad really underground?

  • The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century, and used by African-American slaves to escape into free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. However, the network now generally known as the Underground Railroad was formed in the late 1700s, ran north to the free states and Canada, and reached its height between 1850 and 1860.

How many states were involved in the Underground Railroad?

The network of routes extended in all directions throughout 14 Northern states and “the promised land” of Canada, which was beyond the reach of fugitive-slave hunters.

When did the Underground Railroad begin and end?

The Underground Railroad was formed in the early 19th century and reached its height between 1850 and 1860.

Where did the first underground railroad lead to?

Underground Railroad routes went north to free states and Canada, to the Caribbean, into United States western territories, and Indian territories. Some freedom seekers (escaped slaves) travelled South into Mexico for their freedom.

Did the Underground Railroad go through upstate New York?

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. As Foner details in his new book, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, New York was a crucial way station from the Upper South through Pennsylvania and onward to upstate New York, New England and Canada.

Where did Harriet Tubman start the Underground Railroad?

Born into slavery in Maryland, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 to become the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. Tubman risked her life to lead hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom on this elaborate secret network of safe houses.

When did slavery end in the northern states?

Slavery itself was never widespread in the North, though many of the region’s businessmen grew rich on the slave trade and investments in southern plantations. Between 1774 and 1804, all of the northern states abolished slavery, but the institution of slavery remained absolutely vital to the South.

What cities did the Underground Railroad go through?

In the decades leading up to the American Civil War, settlements along the Detroit and Niagara Rivers were important terminals of the Underground Railroad. By 1861, some 30,000 freedom seekers resided in what is now Ontario, having escaped slave states like Kentucky and Virginia.

Was the Underground Railroad illegal?

The Underground Railroad was a secret system developed to aid fugitive slaves on their escape to freedom. Involvement with the Underground Railroad was not only dangerous, but it was also illegal. So, to help protect themselves and their mission secret codes were created.

How long did it take to get through the Underground Railroad?

The journey would take him 800 miles and six weeks, on a route winding through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, tracing the byways that fugitive slaves took to Canada and freedom.

Where were stations in Indiana that were part of the Underground Railroad?

Indiana’s Underground Railroad All three paths eventually led to Michigan, then to Canada. (Canada abolished slavery in 1833.) The routes in Indiana went from Posey to South Bend; from Corydon to Porter; and from Madison to DeKalb County, with many stops in between.

Where did slaves escape from Texas?

Turns out her great-great-grandparents, who are buried there, were agents in the little-known underground railroad that led through South Texas to Mexico during the 1800s. Thousands of enslaved people fled plantations to make their way to the Rio Grande, which became a river of deliverance.

What parts of New York were part of the Underground Railroad?

Underground Railroad sites in New York

  • North Star Underground Railroad Museum, Ausable Chasm.
  • Harriet Tubman National Historical Site, Auburn.
  • Plymouth Church, Brooklyn.
  • Gerrit Smith Estate National Park, Petersboro.
  • Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, Niagara Falls.

Why did slaves go to New York?

During the American Revolutionary War, the British troops occupied New York City in 1776. The Philipsburg Proclamation promised freedom to slaves who left rebel masters, and thousands moved to the city for refuge with the British. By 1780, 10,000 black people lived in New York.

Was New York the Underground Railroad?

Abolitionists employed a vast network of churches, safe houses, and community sites in New York, as well as the 445-mile border with Canada, to help emancipate enslaved people.

Underground Railroad

It’s not just the Underground Railroad’s operators who are important; it’s all of you as well. Whether they be little spurs or large trunk lines.” When Colson Whitehead was a boy, he was under the impression that the Underground Railroad was a real railroad that ran beneath the city. That childhood misunderstanding seems to have stayed with you. The author of “The Intuitionist” and a MacArthur Fellow returned to that boyhood vision to create a story about life in hell, decades after he first encountered it.

A few pages later, we are deep inside an American slave compound, witnessing a time-capsule series of sufferings perpetrated by white slave owners and the individuals who work for them through several decades and numerous pages.

Cora is 15 years old and the grandchild of Ajarry and Mabel.

More unimaginable suffering, a quagmire of heinous heinousness At 15, Cora decides to make her own break for it with the help of an unnamed man who goes by the name of Caesar.

  1. To make up for his failure to apprehend Cora’s mother, who may have fled to the North and freedom, Ridgeway sets out to find her and bring her back to him.
  2. Just as in Whitehead’s young dream, actual locomotives and flat cars rattle deep underground through endless tunnels, tunnels that pulse northward like arteries beneath the brown skin of the American heartland.
  3. To understand what it is like to be followed or chased across a foreign land with few roads and no maps, as well as never knowing whom to trust — or rather understanding that you can’t trust anybody — Whitehead takes us on a visual and emotional journey through the novel.
  4. As in the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” or Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas,” there is no turning away from the violence and its danger, the suspense of expected bloodshed.
  5. Whitehead’s superb characterisation and heart-stopping explanations are what make the novel work so brilliantly, and what keeps you reading.
  6. Round white faces like an unending field of cotton bolls, all made of the same materials,” says the author.
  7. As if it weren’t hot enough already, “it was still the south, and the devil had long, flexible fingers.” They were boys and men of questionable reputation; the job attracted a certain sort of person.

At the same time, his voice fills in a fine detail to help you feel the story as true, while still reminding you that this is a made-up tale written by a hardcore person, if you will.

The fact that they are in shackles indicates that they are not supposed to enjoy their freedom.

Were it not for destiny, the white man would not have taken possession of this new planet.

Property, slave, or continent are all yours.

Cora’s journey also takes her to a black-run farm in rural Indiana, an isolated haven from oppression, where she gets a glimpse of what life could be like if malevolence wasn’t actively stalking them.

Your curiosity has no doubt piqued about what will occur next: The farm is still in operation.

What if they run upon Cora’s mother, Mabel, who is there to welcome them?

Do the characters in the story receive justice?

As you are well aware, I am unable to share this information with you; instead, you will be required to make the journey for yourself.

This planet is our Darth Vader, and we’re the bad guys.

The enormity of what happened and what continues to happen in and beneath this strange land has taken some time to sink in for many of us, but we are now beginning to grasp the magnitude of what has occurred and what continues to occur in and beneath this crazy place.

There are tracks and tunnels all over the place now, thanks to “The Underground Railroad.” Now is a good time to board the train. Real Change News, a sister publication of Street Roots in Seattle, provided the image.

Quaker Abolitionists

The Society of Friends (Quakers) is often regarded as the first organized group to actively assist escaped enslaved persons. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with Quakers for attempting to “liberate” one of his enslaved servants. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were on the run from slavery. Abolitionist organisations founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitive slaves during the same time period.

What Was the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad was first mentioned in 1831, when an enslaved man named Tice Davids managed to escape from Kentucky into Ohio and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his liberation. When a fugitive slave called Jim was apprehended in 1839 in Washington, the press said that the guy confessed his plan to travel north along a “underground railroad to Boston” while under torture. The Vigilance Committees, which were established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard escaped enslaved persons from bounty hunters, rapidly expanded their duties to include guiding enslaved individuals on the run.

MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman and her fellow fugitives used the following strategies to escape through the Underground Railroad:

How the Underground Railroad Worked

The majority of enslaved persons aided by the Underground Railroad were able to flee to neighboring states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made catching fugitive enslaved persons a lucrative industry in the deep South, and there were fewer hiding places for them as a result of the Act. The majority of fugitive enslaved people were on their own until they reached specific places farther north. The escaping enslaved people were escorted by individuals known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were also used as hiding places throughout the war.

The personnel in charge of running them were referred to as “stationmasters.” There were several well-traveled roads that ran west through Ohio and into Indiana and Iowa.

The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.

Fugitive Slave Acts

The Fugitive Slave Acts were a major cause for many fugitive slaves to flee to Canada. This legislation, which was passed in 1793, authorized local governments to catch and extradite fugitive enslaved individuals from inside the borders of free states back to their places of origin, as well as to penalize anybody who assisted the fleeing enslaved people. Personal Liberty Laws were introduced in certain northern states to fight this, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1842. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was intended to reinforce the preceding legislation, which was perceived by southern states to be insufficiently enforced at the time of passage.

The northern states were still considered a danger zone for fugitives who had managed to flee.

Some Underground Railroad operators chose to station themselves in Canada and sought to assist fugitives who were arriving to settle in the country.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad during its heyday. When she and two of her brothers fled from a farm in Maryland in 1849, she was given the name Harriet (her married name was Tubman). She was born Araminta Ross, and she was raised as Harriet Tubman. They returned a couple of weeks later, but Tubman fled on her own again shortly after, this time making her way to the state of Pennsylvania. In following years, Tubman returned to the plantation on a number of occasions to rescue family members and other individuals.

Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other fugitive slaves to the Maryland state capital.

Frederick Douglass

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

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Agent,” according to the document.

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

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

Who Ran the Underground Railroad?

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

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

Finally, they were able to make their way closer to him. Coffin eventually relocated to Indiana and then Ohio, where he continued to assist fugitive enslaved individuals no matter where he was.

John Brown

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

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

End of the Line

Abolitionist He was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and it was during this time that he founded the League of Gileadites, an organization dedicated to aiding fleeing slaves in their journey to Canada. With the abolitionist movement, Brown would play a variety of roles, most notably leading an assault on Harper’s Ferry to raise an armed army that would march into the deep south and free enslaved people under threat of death. Eventually, Brown’s forces were defeated, and he was executed for treason in 1859.

  1. The year 1844, he formed a partnership with Vermont schoolteacher Delia Webster, and the two of them were jailed for aiding an escaped enslaved woman and her child escape.
  2. When Charles Torrey assisted an enslaved family fleeing through Virginia, he was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland.
  3. was his base of operations; earlier, he had served as an abolitionist newspaper editor in Albany, New York.
  4. In addition to being fined and imprisoned for a year, Walker had the letters “SS” for Slave Stealer tattooed on his right hand.

As a slave trader, Fairfield’s strategy was to travel across the southern states. Twice he managed to escape from prison. Tennessee’s arebellion claimed his life in 1860, and he was buried there.

Sources

Bound for Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad is a book about the Underground Railroad. Fergus Bordewich is a Scottish actor. A Biography of Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom Catherine Clinton is the first lady of the United States. Who Exactly Was in Charge of the Underground Railroad? ‘Henry Louis Gates’ is a pseudonym for Henry Louis Gates. The Underground Railroad’s History in New York is a little known fact. The Smithsonian Institution’s magazine. The Underground Railroad’s Dangerous Allure is well documented.

The Underground Railroad Route

Students will learn how to distinguish between slave states and free states during the time of the Underground Railroad, as well as the difficulties of escaping and choosing the path they would have chosen. Geography, Human Geography, and Physical Geography are the subjects covered. Students should be able to distinguish between slave and free states throughout the time of the Underground Railroad. Each pupil should be given a copy of the map titled “Routes to Freedom.” Inform pupils that the Underground Railroad aided enslaved individuals as they traveled from the South to the North during the American Civil War.

Afterwards, instruct pupils to locate each slave state on the map as you pronounce its name:

  • While studying the Underground Railroad, students will learn how to distinguish between slave and free states, explore the difficulties of emigration, and pick the path they would have followed. 1. Geography, Human Geography (including anthropology), and Physical Geography During the time of the Underground Railroad, have pupils identify slave states and free states. Assemble copies of the map “Routes to Freedom” for each of the students. Students should be informed that the Underground Railroad provided assistance to enslaved persons who were migrating from the southern United States to northern Canada. Inform kids about the map key. Afterwards, instruct pupils to locate each slave state on the map as you pronounce its name.

Explain to pupils that enslaved individuals did not have access to maps, compasses, or GPS systems throughout their time in slavery. The majority of enslaved individuals were never permitted to get an education, and as a result, they were unable to read or write. Consider the following question: How do you suppose enslaved people knew they were heading in the correct direction? Students should be informed that enslaved individuals resorted to guides on the Underground Railroad, as well as memory, visuals, and spoken communication to survive.

  1. Talk about the difficulties you’ve encountered on your path.
  2. Instruct pupils to examine the map and make note of any physical characteristics of the region that made the voyage challenging.
  3. In order to demonstrate proper shading techniques, students should go to Alabama, then northeast via Maine and into Canada to see how the Applachian Mountains are shaded.
  4. Ask:Can you think of anything else that made the travel difficult?
  • In the winter, being cold and outdoors
  • Not having enough food
  • Being exhausted yet unable to relax
  • Having to swim or traverse bodies of water
  • Having to travel great distances
  • Evading or avoiding people or animals

3. Ask pupils to identify the route they would have chosen if they were in their shoes. Students should be divided into small groups. Ask each group to look at the map and choose the route they would have gone to freedom if they had been able to do so.

Students should choose their selections based on the states, rivers, and mountain ranges that they would have to cover on their journey. Ask each group to describe the path they would have followed and why they would have done so.

Informal Assessment

Students should discuss what they believe to be the most difficult obstacles to fleeing enslaved people, such as distance, weather, mountains, wildlife, bodies of water, or densely inhabited places, among other things. Inquire as to how their chosen method might have assisted enslaved individuals in avoiding the difficulties they were faced with.

Learning Objectives

As a class, ask students to discuss the obstacles they believe they will face in escaping enslaved people. These obstacles may include distance, weather, mountains, wildlife, bodies of water, or populous places, among others. To find out how their selected way would have helped enslaved people escape the difficulties, ask them to describe how it did so.

  • The student will be able to identify slave states and free states during the time period when the Underground Railroad was active
  • Describe the difficulties encountered throughout the voyage
  • Indicate the path they would have followed, and explain their reasons.

Teaching Approach

  • Common Core Standard 1: How to interpret and share information via the use of maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technology, and spatial thinking
  • Standard 17: How to use geography to understand and interpret the past.

What You’ll Need

  • Highlighters, paper, pencils, and pens, as well as a wall map of the United States

Required Technology

  • Internet access is optional
  • Technological setup includes one computer per classroom and a projector.

Physical Space

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Writer

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Editor

Christina Riska Simmons is a model and actress.

Educator Reviewer

Jessica Wallace-Weaver is a certified educational consultant.

Sources

  • Based on the National Geographic Xpeditions lesson “Finding Your Way: The Underground Railroad,” this activity was created. Permissions Granted to Users Users’ permissions are detailed in our Terms of Service, which you can see by clicking here. Alternatively, if you have any issues regarding how to reference something from our website in your project or classroom presentation, please speak with your instructor. They will be the most knowledgeable about the selected format. When you contact them, you will need to provide them with the page title, URL, and the date on which you visited the item.

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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.

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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.

ConductorsAbolitionists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Efforts of Abolitionists Telling Their Story:Fugitive Slave Narratives

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 Underground Railroad – Lincoln Home National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)

He was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner named Henry Bibb. 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 multiple times. It was only through his determination that he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then to Canada with the help of the Underground Railroad, a feat that had been highly anticipated.

  1. For my own personal liberty, I made a decision somewhere during the autumn or winter of 1837 that I would try to flee to Canada if at all feasible.” Immediately after, I began preparing for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the chains that kept me a prisoner in my own home.
  2. I also purchased a suit that I had never worn or been seen in before, in order to escape discovery.
  3. It was the twenty-fifth of December, 1837.
  4. My moral bravery was tested to the limit when I left my small family and tried to keep my emotions under wraps at all times.
  5. No matter how many opportunities were presented to me to flee if I wanted to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free!
  6. A thousand barriers had formed around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded spirit, which was still imprisoned in the dark dungeon of mental degradation.
  7. It was difficult to break free from my deep bonds to friends and relatives, as well as the love of home and birthplace that is so natural among the human family, which were entwined around my heart and made it difficult to go forward.
  8. But I’d calculated the cost and was completely prepared to make the sacrifice before I started the process.

If I don’t want to be a slave, I’ll have to abandon friends and neighbors, along with my wife and child.” I was given something to eat by these gracious folks, who then set me on my way to Canada on the advise of a buddy who had met me along the road.” This marked the beginning of the construction of what was referred to be the underground rail track from the United States to the Canadian continent.

In the morning, I walked with bold courage, trusting in the arm of Omnipotence; by night, I was guided by the unchangeable North Star, and inspired by the elevated thought that I was fleeing from a land of slavery and oppression, waving goodbye to handcuffs, whips, thumb-screws, and chains, and that I was on my way to freedom.

I continued my journey vigorously for nearly forty-eight hours 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, being pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not being able to find a house in which to take shelter from the storm.” Among the countless accounts recorded by escaped slaves is this one, which is only one example.

Sojourner Truth, a former slave who became well-known for her efforts to bring slavery to an end, was another person who came from a slave background.

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

The writing down of one’s experiences by so many escaped slaves may have been done in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or it may have been done in order to help individuals learn from their mistakes in the aim of building a brighter future.

The Fugitive Slave Acts

Until the end of the Civil War, enslavement in the United States was considered lawful and acceptable. In contrast to the rhetoric of the Revolutionary War era about freedom, the new United States constitution safeguarded the rights of individuals to possess and enslave other people, including women. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 further reinforced these slaveholding rights, allowing for the return to captivity of any African American who was accused or simply suspected of being a freedom seeker under certain circumstances.

  • It was a $500 punishment for anybody who supported a liberator or just interfered with an arrest, a clear recognition of the significance and lasting influence on American society of the Underground Railroad phenomenon decades before it was given its official name.
  • Individuals in the North were brought face to face with the immoral issue by the spectacle of African Americans being reenslaved at the least provocation and the selling of abducted free African Americans to the South for slavery.
  • Those who aided freedom seekers in their attempts to flee were considered members of the Underground Railroad.
  • Stephens in his parting words.

Motivation of Freedom Seekers

The practice of enslaving people in the United States remained lawful until the end of the American Civil War. As a contrast to the language of freedom associated with the Revolutionary War era, the new United States constitution guaranteed the rights of individuals to possess and enslave others. According to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793, any African American charged or even suspected of being a freedom seeker would be returned to slavery if he did not surrender his slaveholding rights. A freedom seeker confronted any white person who made an oral claim of ownership to a magistrate, notwithstanding the fact that they were denied access to an attorney or a jury trial.

In response to a rising number of escapes, a stricter rule was enacted in 1850, known as the Fugitive Slave Act, which required all residents to assist in the arrest and return of freedom seekers, or face fines and jail terms.

Others against slavery chose to modify the legislation, while others acknowledged a higher moral rule that guided their actions.

Participants in the Underground Railroad were either freedom searchers themselves or assisted them in escaping. He concludes with the line “Buy us as well.” National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (also known as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA))

Geography of the Underground Railroad

Wherever there were enslaved African Americans, there were those who were desperate to get away. Slavery existed in all of the original thirteen colonies, as well as in Spanish California, Louisiana, and Florida, as well as in all of the Caribbean islands, until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the British abolition of slavery brought an end to slavery in the United States (1834). The Underground Railroad had its beginnings at the site of enslavement in the United States. The routes followed natural and man-made forms of movement, including rivers, canals, bays, the Atlantic Coast, ferries and river crossings, as well as roads and trails and other infrastructure.

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Freedom seekers used their inventiveness to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and brains in the process.

Commemoration of Underground Railroad History

Commemoration may only take place if local Underground Railroad figures and events have been discovered and documented. Primary materials, such as letters from the time period, court testimony, or newspaper articles, are used to verify the historical record. Education and preservation of the public are the following steps, which will be accomplished through the preservation of major locations, the use of authentic history in heritage tourism and educational programs, museum and touring exhibits, and commemorative sculpture.

Whenever a site has been paved over, changed, or reconstructed, a pamphlet, walking tour, school curriculum, road marker, or plaque might be used to educate the public about the significance of the location.

Uncovering Underground Railroad History

Despite years of assertions that the Underground Railroad’s history was shrouded in secrecy, local historians, genealogists, oral historians, and other researchers have discovered that primary sources describing the flight to freedom of many enslaved African Americans have survived to the present day. It is becoming clearer that the slaves were determined to pursue their own and their families’ freedom, as evidenced by court documents, memoirs of conductors and freedom seekers, letters, runaway advertisements in newspapers, and military records.

A lot of the time, no one has been able to piece together the parts of freedom seekers’ narrative by looking at their starting and ending locations, let alone the moments in between.

Anthony Burns is a writer who lives in New York City. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.

Unknown Underground Railroad Heroes

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people,” and Frederick Douglass, a freedom seeker who rose to become the greatest African American leader of his time, are two of the most well-known figures linked with the Underground Railroad. Both were from the state of Maryland. Those seeking freedom, on the other hand, came from every part of the world where slavery was legalized, even the northern colonies. From North Carolina arrived Harriet Jacobs after seven years of hiding in the attic of her grandmother.

  1. Louis and journeyed 700 miles until she reached Canada, where she sought sanctuary.
  2. Lewis Hayden, his wife, and their kid were able to flee from slavery in Kentucky to freedom in Ohio thanks to the assistance of Delia Webster and Calvin Fairbanks.
  3. Mary Ellen Pleasant, a black businesswoman from San Francisco, took in a fugitive named Archy Lee and hosted him in her house, setting the stage for an important state court case.
  4. Coffin and Rankin are two white clergymen from the Midwest who aided freedom seekers in their efforts to gain their independence.
  5. Residents of Wellington and Oberlin, Ohio, both black and white, stood up to slave hunters and refused to allow them to return John Price to his servitude in the state of Kentucky.
  6. Charles Torrey, Leonard Grimes, and Jacob Bigelow worked over years to enable persons like as Ann Marie Weems, the Edmondson sisters, and Garland White to seek freedom.

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people,” and Frederick Douglass, a freedom seeker who rose to become the greatest African American leader of his time, are two of the most well-known figures connected with the Underground Railroad. Maryland was the state of origin for both of these men. Those seeking freedom, on the other hand, came from every part of the world where slavery was legal, even the northern colonies. Harriet Jacobs arrived from North Carolina, where she had spent the previous seven years hidden in her grandmother’s attic.

  1. Louis, abandoned her life and walked 700 miles until she reached Canada, where she sought sanctuary.
  2. A group of people led by Delia Webster and Calvin Fairbanks helped Lewis Hayden and his family escape from slavery in Kentucky and make it to Ohio.
  3. Mary Ellen Pleasant, a black businesswoman from San Francisco, took in a runaway named Archy Lee and hosted him in her house, resulting in a significant state court victory.
  4. Coffin and Rankin are two white clergymen from the Midwest who aided freedom seekers in their efforts to gain independence from the United States.
  5. Black and white residents in Ohio’s Wellington and Oberlin refused to allow slave hunters to transport John Price back to Kentucky, where he would be sold into slavery.
  6. Charles Torrey, Leonard Grimes, and Jacob Bigelow were among the members of a multiracial network in Washington, D.C., who worked for years to assist individuals like as Ann Marie Weems, the Edmondson sisters, and Garland White in their quest for freedom.

William and Ellen Craft were able to flee over one thousand miles from Georgia to Boston by putting on a convincing disguise.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
  4. Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  5. 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.
  6. At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  7. 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?
  8. 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.
  • C.
  • “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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Dr.

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.

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