- Cargo / Freight – Cargo or Freight was the name given to fugitive slaves who received assistance from conductors on the Underground Railroad Passengers – Passengers was another name give to slaves traveling the escape routes
What codes were used in the Underground Railroad?
The code words often used on the Underground Railroad were: “tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who helped the slaves connect to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in
What was a depot in the Underground Railroad?
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
What did slaves eat on the Underground Railroad?
In all contexts, enslaved people would have likely grown and eaten okra, corn, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes, as well as raised pigs, chickens, and goats, some for market.
What did slaves use quilts for?
When slaves made their escape, they used their memory of the quilts as a mnemonic device to guide them safely along their journey, according to McDaniel.
Where did slaves hide in the underground railroad?
People known as “conductors” guided the fugitive enslaved people. Hiding places included private homes, churches and schoolhouses. These were called “stations,” “safe houses,” and “depots.” The people operating them were called “stationmasters.”
What does the code word liberty lines mean?
Other code words for slaves included “freight,” “passengers,” “parcels,” and “bundles.” Liberty Lines – The routes followed by slaves to freedom were called “liberty lines” or “freedom trails.” Routes were kept secret and seldom discussed by slaves even after their escape.
Why are the trees painted white in Underground Railroad?
Trees painted white protects them from sun damage Paint can also be used to protect exposed tree trunks in cases where the bark has been damaged, this method protects the fragile trunk against pests and further damage until the bark has recovered.
What was the symbol of the Underground Railroad?
The hoot of an owl was used to convey messages. Certain Songs were sung as symbols of Underground Railway members. “All Clear” was conveyed in safe houses using a lighted lantern in a certain place as this symbol. Knocks on doors used a coded series of taps as symbols of identity.
What made slavery illegal in all of the United States?
Passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolished slavery in the United States and provides that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or
Does the Underground Railroad still exist?
It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman. Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.
How many slaves did Harriet Tubman save?
Fact: According to Tubman’s own words, and extensive documentation on her rescue missions, we know that she rescued about 70 people —family and friends—during approximately 13 trips to Maryland.
What did slaves do in the winter?
In his 1845 Narrative, Douglass wrote that slaves celebrated the winter holidays by engaging in activities such as ” playing ball, wrestling, running foot-races, fiddling, dancing, and drinking whiskey ” (p.
How long did slaves live?
As a result of this high infant and childhood death rate, the average life expectancy of a slave at birth was just 21 or 22 years, compared to 40 to 43 years for antebellum whites. Compared to whites, relatively few slaves lived into old age.
Did slaves eat chitterlings?
Slaves were forced to eat the animal parts their masters threw away. They cleaned and cooked pig intestines and called them “chitterlings.” They took the butts of oxen and christened them “ox tails.” Same thing for pigs’ tails, pigs’ feet, chicken necks, smoked neck bones, hog jowls and gizzards.
Underground Railroad Terminology
Written by Dr. Bryan Walls As a descendant of slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad, I grew up enthralled by the stories my family’s “Griot” told me about his ancestors. It was my Aunt Stella who was known as the “Griot,” which is an African name that means “keeper of the oral history,” since she was the storyteller of our family. Despite the fact that she died in 1986 at the age of 102, her mind remained keen till the very end of her life. During a conversation with my Aunt Stella, she informed me that John Freeman Walls was born in 1813 in Rockingham County, North Carolina and journeyed on the Underground Railroad to Maidstone, Ontario in 1846.
Many historians believe that the Underground Railroad was the first big liberation movement in the Americas, and that it was the first time that people of many races and faiths came together in peace to fight for freedom and justice in the United States.
Escaped slaves, as well as those who supported them, need rapid thinking as well as a wealth of insight and information.
The Underground Railroad Freedom Movement reached its zenith between 1820 and 1865, when it was at its most active.
- A Kentucky fugitive slave by the name of Tice Davids allegedly swam across the Ohio River as slave catchers, including his former owner, were close on his trail, according to legend.
- He was most likely assisted by nice individuals who were opposed to slavery and wanted the practice to be abolished.
- “He must have gotten away and joined the underground railroad,” the enraged slave owner was overheard saying.
- As a result, railroad jargon was employed in order to maintain secrecy and confound the slave hunters.
- In this way, escaping slaves would go through the forests at night and hide during the daytime hours.
- In order to satiate their hunger for freedom and proceed along the treacherous Underground Railroad to the heaven they sung about in their songs—namely, the northern United States and Canada—they took this risky route across the wilderness.
- Despite the fact that they were not permitted to receive an education, the slaves were clever folks.
Freedom seekers may use maps created by former slaves, White abolitionists, and free Blacks to find their way about when traveling was possible during the day time.
The paths were frequently not in straight lines; instead, they zigzagged across wide places in order to vary their smell and confuse the bloodhounds on the trail.
The slaves could not transport a large amount of goods since doing so would cause them to become sluggish.
Enslaved people traveled the Underground Railroad and relied on the plant life they encountered for sustenance and medical treatment.
The enslaved discovered that Echinacea strengthens the immune system, mint relieves indigestion, roots can be used to make tea, and plants can be used to make poultices even in the winter when they are dormant, among other things.
After all, despite what their owners may have told them, the Detroit River is not 5,000 miles wide, and the crows in Canada will not peck their eyes out.
Hopefully, for the sake of the Freedom Seeker, these words would be replaced by lyrics from the “Song of the Fugitive: The Great Escape.” The brutal wrongs of slavery I can no longer tolerate; my heart is broken within me, for as long as I remain a slave, I am determined to strike a blow for freedom or the tomb.” I am now embarking for yonder beach, beautiful land of liberty; our ship will soon get me to the other side, and I will then be liberated.
No more will I be terrified of the auctioneer, nor will I be terrified of the Master’s frowns; no longer will I quiver at the sound of the dogs baying.
All of the brave individuals who were participating in the Underground Railroad Freedom Movement had to acquire new jargon and codes in order to survive. To go to the Promised Land, one needed to have a high level of ability and knowledge.
The Underground Railroad
BACK TO THE HISTORY OF AFRICANOS IN WESTERN NEW YORK STATE
|INTRODUCTION||The Fugitive Save Acts||Underground Railroad Maps|
In 1793, the first parliament of the province of Ontario passed “An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves and to Limit the Term of Forced Servitude within This Province,” which was known as “An Act to Prevent the Further Introduction of Slaves and to Limit the Term of Forced Servitude within This Province.” Despite the fact that this legislation affirmed the ownership of slaves at the time, it also provided that the offspring of slaves would be immediately set free when they reached the age of twenty-five years.
- Slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834, thanks to the authority of the Imperial Parliament’s Emancipation Act, which gave the Imperial Parliament the authority to do so.
- The Fugitive Slave Act and the Underground Railroad are two important historical documents.
- Tubman, after escaping slavery, led hundreds of Blacks to freedom via The Underground Railroad in the North and Canada over the course of 15 visits to the South.
- MAPSThis website provides information on the Underground Railroad (UGRR).
- When Amy Post (1802-1889) and Isaac Post (1798-1872) relocated to Rochester from Long Island in 1836, they were known as the Posts.
- It is believed that they were close friends of Frederick Douglass, and that their home on Sophia Street served as a station on the underground railroad at one point.
- This list of “all” people and sites associated with the Underground Railroad in New York was recently released by the New York History Net, and it is really interesting to read.
During the 240 years that elapsed between the arrival of the first African slave and 1860, slaves fled and some managed to escape to freedom.
A consequence of this was that slaves were hunted down by their masters or bounty hunters.
The Underground Train was named for the fact that it operated in a manner similar to a railroad system.
It was quite similar to traveling by train, and the act of conveying the runaway slaves included all of the phrases that are used on a railroad excursion.
Stations (such as Catherine Harris’ house) were designated as stopping points.
The escaped slaves were referred to as parcels or freight in order to maintain the greatest amount of secrecy possible.
A stop on the Underground Rail Road where Harriet Tubman met with fugitive slaves In 1842, William Wells Brown transported 69 escaped slaves from the United States to Canada on a steamboat.
The cities of Buffalo and Rochester, as well as their surrounding territories, were essential in the development of the Underground Railroad movement in the United States.
Without a doubt, this was one of the final stages before escaped slaves were finally recognized free men.
Rochester was elevated to the status of a major railroad hub thanks to the efforts of Harriet Tubman.
Catherines, Ontario, in Canada, among other places.
The “stations” provided food, rest, and a change of clothing for the exhausted slaves who had worked hard all day.
There were a variety of fundraising activities.
During the early nineteenth century, James and Eber Petit maintained outposts along the Lake Erie coast in Western New York.
James Petit, born in 1777, practiced in both Madison and Onandaga counties.
In 1839, James was living in the vicinity of Fredonia, where he and his brother Eber founded a local group called the Society for the Abolition of Slavery.
Here’s an example: Margaret was born aboard a slave ship on route to America from Africa.
She worked as a maid for a young woman in her early twenties. When Margaret refused to have sexual relations with her mistress’s husband, Margaret’s husband was sold and she was forced to work in the fields under the strict supervision of a strict overseer.
|Margaret was worked hard up until the day her baby (by her husband) was born. A week later she was put back to work. It was customary that babies be cared for by broken down slaves; but Margaret was forced to leave the baby Samuel in the shade of a bush by the field, returning to it only twice the entire day she worked.On returning to Samuel one day she found him senseless, exhausted with crying, and a large snake covering him. She then decided to run away with her baby or see it dead. She ran and the tail was magnificient. At one time she, with her baby on her shoulders and in a river, kills the favorite salave hunting dog of her master, an old mastiff.She escapes to her freedom and her finds a home in New York where her son was given education. Her son receives more education and becomes a great man, Frederick Douglas once called “the ablest man the country has ever produced” – Samuel Ward (right), author ofAutobiography of a Fugitive Negro: His Anti-Slavery Labours in the United States, Canada,England.|
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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.
Page that is easy to print An underground railroad system of persons who supported fleeing slaves in their journey for freedom existed prior to the American Civil War and was called the Underground Railroad. The word, which was in usage between around 1830 and 1860, alludes to the slaves’ ability to flee in a quick and “invisible” manner. In most cases, they concealed during the day and migrated throughout the night. As code phrases, the fugitives and others who assisted them utilized railroad terms: hiding spots were referred to as “stations,” those who provided assistance were referred to as “conductors,” and the runaways themselves were referred to as “passengers” or “freight.” Runaway slaves relied primarily on other slaves and free blacks, who were seldom misled by white members of the Underground Railroad, in addition to white members of the Underground Railroad.
- The most well-known black leader in the movement was Harriet Tubman, a fugitive slave who became renowned as the “Moses” of her people despite the fact that she was illiterate.
- The Society of Friends was the driving force behind the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement in North Carolina, as well as other states (Quakers).
- In 1809, Quaker slaveholders in Guilford County deeded all of their slaves to the North Carolina Yearly Meeting.
- The Manumission Society, subsequently known as the North Carolina Manumission Society, was founded in Guilford County in 1816 and grew to include numerous chapters and over 1,600 members within a few years of its founding.
- Vestal Coffin operated an Underground Railroad station in Guilford County as early as 1819, according to historical records.
- Among the abolitionists in Guilford County, these four men, particularly Levi, were definitely the most well-known.
- As a result of the large number of fugitive slaves who sought temporary shelter in his home, it became known as “Union Station.” The Compromise of 1850, which brought California to the Union as a free state, included the Fugitive Slave Act, which was passed by the United States Congress.
- Southern states believed that this step would be effective in returning slaves to their masters.
- Many authorities and people in the North not only refused to repatriate the fugitives, but they also began to take an active role in the Underground Railroad’s operations in the South.
Most sure, it was not the influx of escaped slaves that had been predicted by antebellum propagandists and subsequent fiction writers (up to 100,000 people). Indeed, it is likely that the actual figure represented just a small proportion of the total number of slaves held in bondage.
“Stealing a Little Freedom” — Slave Runaways in North Carolina is the topic for Grade 8. The North Carolina Civic Education Consortium is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting civic education in North Carolina. John Spencer Bassett and Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina are two sources to consult (1898). Charles L. Blackson’s article “The Underground Railroad: Escape from Slavery” appeared in National Geographic166 (July 1984). North Carolina: A Bicentennial History (William S.
- Powell, North Carolina through the Centuries is a historical novel (1989).
- Siebert (1898).
- Webber in 1891,” according to the image credit.
- Featured image courtesy of LearnNC Beginning on May 8, 2012, it will be available.
- Williams are co-authors of this work.
Underground Railroad Secret Codes : Harriet Tubman
“Stealing a Little Freedom” — Slave Runaways in North Carolina is the topic for Grade 8 this year. The North Carolina Civic Education Consortium is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting civic education in North Carolina communities. Several sources are cited, including John Spencer Bassett and Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina (1898). National Geographic166 published Charles L. Blackson’s “The Underground Railroad: Escape from Slavery” (July 1984). North Carolina: A Bicentennial History (William S.
- In Four Centuries of History, Powell, North Carolina (1989).
- Siebert (1898).
- Webber’s 1891 painting “The Underground Railroad” is credited as the source of this image.
- LearnNC provided the image.
- 01.01.2006 |
- WILSON, J.
|Agent||Coordinator, who plotted courses of escape and made contacts.|
|Baggage||Fugitive slaves carried by Underground Railroad workers.|
|Bundles of wood||Fugitives that were expected.|
|Conductor||Person who directly transported slaves|
|Drinking Gourd||Big Dipper and the North Star|
|Flying bondsmen||The number of escaping slaves|
|Forwarding||Taking slaves from station to station|
|Freedom train||The Underground Railroad|
|French leave||Sudden departure|
|Gospel train||The Underground Railroad|
|Stockholder||Those who donated money, food, clothing.|
|Load of potatoes||Escaping slaves hidden under farm produce in a wagon|
|Operator||Person who helped freedom seekers as a conductor or agent|
|Parcel||Fugitives that were expected|
|Patter roller||Bounty hunter hired to capture slaves|
|Preachers||Leaders of and spokespersons for the Underground Railroad|
|River Jordan||Ohio River|
|Shepherds||People who encouraged slaves to escape and escorted them|
|Station||Place of safety and temporary refuge, a safe house|
|Station master||Keeper or owner of a safe house|
Following that will be Songs of the Underground Railroad. Underground Railroad codes, coded language, coded music, Underground Railroad followers, underground railroad, supporters of the Underground Railroad Underground Railroad is a subcategory of the category Underground Railroad.
Underground Railroad, The (1820-1861)
Smuggled fugitives through the Underground Railroad during the winter seasonThe Underground Railroad was constructed to help enslaved persons in their escape to freedom. The railroad network was made up of dozens of hidden routes and safe houses that began in slaveholding states and extended all the way to the Canadian border, which was the only place where fugitives could be certain of their freedom. From Florida to Cuba, or from Texas to Mexico, there were shorter routes that took you south.
The Underground Railroad’s success was dependent on the collaboration of previous runaway slaves, free-born blacks, Native Americans, and white and black abolitionists who assisted in guiding runaway slaves along the routes and providing their houses as safe havens for the fugitive slave population.
- The Underground Railroad in the Nineteenth Century New York Public Library’s Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, part of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, provided this photograph.
- The railroad employed conductors, among them William Still of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was likely the most well-known of the group.
- Slave-hiding spots were called stations, and stationmasters were individuals who hid slaves in their houses.
- The Underground Railroad functioned as a number of interconnected networks.
- Those responsible for leading the fugitive slaves north did so in stages.
- The “freight” would be transferred on to the next conductor once it reached another stop, and so on until the full journey had been completed.
- When the Underground Railroad was successful, it engendered a great deal of hostility among slaveholders and their friends.
The law was misused to a tremendous extent.
Due to the fact that African Americans were not permitted to testify or have a jury present during a trial, they were frequently unable to defend themselves.
Ironically, the Fugitive Slave Act fueled Northern opposition to slavery and contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War.
A large number of those who escaped became human witnesses to the slave system, with many of them traveling on the lecture circuit to explain to Northerners what life was like as a slave in the slave system.
It was the success of the Underground Railroad in both situations that contributed to the abolition of slavery.
Blaine Hudson, Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2006); David W.
Instructions for Citing This Article (in APA Format): Waggoner, C., and Waggoner, C. (n.d.). The Underground Railroad was in operation from 1820 until 1861). Project on the History of Social Welfare. It was retrieved from
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865
Running away slaves from slave states to the North and Canada were assisted by white and African American abolitionists, who set up a network of hiding sites around the country where fugitives could conceal themselves during the day and move under cover of night. In spite of the fact that the majority of runaways preferred to travel on foot and trains were rarely used, the secret network was referred to as the “Underground Railroad” by all parties involved. The term first appeared in literature in 1852, when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote about a secret “underground” line in her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- Those working in the Underground Railroad utilized code terms to keep their identities hidden from others.
- While traveling on the Underground Railroad, both runaways and conductors had to endure terrible conditions, harsh weather, and acute starvation.
- Many were willing to put their lives on the line, especially after the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act made it illegal to provide assistance to escaped slaves, even in free areas.
- At the time, an abolitionist came to the conclusion that “free colored people shared equal fate with the breathless and the slave.” Listen to a tape of filmmaker Gary Jenkins talking on the Underground Railroad in the West at the Kansas City Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Underground Railroad routes that extended into Kansas and branched out into northern states like as Iowa and Nebraska, as well as all the way into Canada, were often utilized by the fugitives.
When asked about his feelings on doing so much good for the oppressed while doing so much harm to the oppressors, one conductor from Wakarusa, Kansas, responded, “I feel pretty happy and thankfullthat I have been able to do so much good for the oppressed, so much harm to the oppressors.” It was not uncommon for well-known persons to be connected with the Underground Railroad, such as Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and then returned 19 times to the South to help emancipate over 300 slaves.
- Tubman was said to have carried a revolver in order to guarantee that she never lost track of a passenger.
- Individuals from Kansas also played significant roles, such as Enoch and Luther Platt, who managed railroad stations out of their house in Wabaunsee County, Kansas Territory, in the 1850s.
- It is possible for “shareholders” to make donations to such groups, which may be used to supply supplies or to construct additional lines.
- In addition to developing new routes, members of assistance organisations evaluated the routes to ensure that men, women, and children could travel in safety on them.
During an escape, engineers guided passengers and notified the remainder of the train to reroute if there was a threat to the train’s integrity. The Underground Railroad: A Deciphering Guide
- The Underground Railroad, also known as the Freedom or Gospel Train
- Cargo, passengers, or luggage: fugitives from justice
- The StationorDepot is a safe haven for fugitives from slavery. A person who escorted fugitive slaves between stations was known as a conductor, engineer, agent, or shepherd. The term “stationmaster” refers to someone who oversaw a station and assisted runaways along their path. shareholder or stockholder: an abolitionist who made financial donations to the Underground Railroad during the American Civil War
In the Underground Railroad, there is a choice between freedom and gospel. Carriage, passengers, or luggage: fugitives from justice. Slave StationorDepots are safe havens for fugitive slaves. A person who directed fugitive slaves between stations was referred to as a conductor, engineer, agent, or shepherd. An someone who oversaw a station and assisted runaways in navigating their way through the area. abolitionist who made financial donations to the Underground Railroad (also known as a stockholder);
The Underground Railroad was a clandestine network of abolitionists that operated between 1861 and 1865. (people who wanted to abolish slavery). In order to get away from enslavement in the American South, they assisted African Americans in escaping to free northern states or Canada. The Underground Railroad was the most important anti-slavery emancipation movement in North America at the time of its founding. It was responsible for transporting between 30,000 and 40,000 fugitives to British North America (nowCanada).
- Please check The Underground Railroad for a plain English explanation of the subject matter (Plain-Language Summary).
- (people who wanted to abolish slavery).
- The Underground Railroad was the most important anti-slavery emancipation movement in North America at the time of its founding.
- This is the full-length entry on the Underground Railroad that can be found here.
When the 1793 Act to Limit Slavery was passed, a clause specified that any enslaved person who made it to Upper Canada would be declared free upon arrival. In response to this, a limited number of enslaved African Americans in quest of freedom were urged to enter Canada, mostly on their own. During and after the War of 1812, word traveled even further that independence was possible in Canada. The enslaved slaves of US military commanders in the South carried news back to the North that there were free “Black men in red coats” in British North America, which was confirmed by the British.
It gave slavecatchers the authority to track down fugitives in northern states.
This underground network of abolitionists was established in the early nineteenth century, with the majority of its members being based in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Within a few decades, it had developed into a well-organized and vibrant network of organizations. The phrase “Underground Railroad” first appeared in the 1830s and has been in use ever since. It had already begun to take shape at that point, an informal covert network to assist escaping slaves. The Underground Railroad was not a real train, and it did not operate on actual railroad rails like other railroads.
abolitionists who were devoted to human rights and equality were responsible for keeping the network running.
Its members comprised free Blacks, fellow enslaved individuals, White and Indigenous supporters, Quakers, Methodists, and Baptists, residents of urban centers and farmers, men and women, from all over the world (including the United States and Canada).
Symbols and Codes
In order to conceal the clandestine actions of the network, railroad language and symbols were employed. This also assisted in keeping the general public and slaveholders in the dark. Escaped slaves were referred to as “conductors” by those who assisted them on their voyage. It was their job to guide fugitives via the Underground Railroad’s routes, which included numerous kinds of transit on land and sea. Harriet Tubman was one of the most well-known conductors in history. The names “passengers,” “cargo,” “package,” and “freight” all referred to fugitive slaves on their way to freedom.
Terminals, which were stations located in numerous cities and towns, were referred to as “terminals.” Occasionally, lighted candles in windows or strategically positioned lanterns in the front yard may be used to identify these ephemeral havens of safety.
In order to conceal the clandestine actions of the network, railroad language and symbols were utilised. This also assisted in keeping the general public and slaveholders in the dark. – “Conductors” were those who assisted fugitive slaves on their voyage. In different forms of conveyance via land or by sea, they directed fugitives over the Underground Railroad’s many routes and stops. Harriet Tubman was a great conductor, and she was one of the most famous women in the world. “Passengers,” “cargo,” “package,” and “freight” were all phrases used to refer to fugitive slaves who had managed to flee.
Occasionally, lighted candles in windows or strategically positioned lanterns in the front yard may be used to identify these ephemeral havens of sanctuary.
“Ticket agents” assisted freedom-seekers in coordinating safe excursions and making travel arrangements by putting them in touch with station masters or conductors, among other things. It was not uncommon for ticket agents to be people who traveled for a living, such as circuit preachers or physicians, to work. They were able to hide their abolitionist operations as a result of this. Among those who served on the Underground Railroad were doctors such as Alexander Milton Ross (born in Belleville).
He also gave them with a few basic items so that they could get started on their escape.
Ways to the Promised Land
In order to assist freedom-seekers in contacting station masters or conductors, “ticket brokers” planned safe excursions and made travel arrangements on their behalf. People who traveled for a living, such as circuit preachers or physicians, were occasionally employed as ticket salesmen. Consequently, their abolitionist actions were kept under wraps. For example, the Belleville-born doctor Alexander Milton Ross was a member of the Underground Railroad. As he traveled around the southern states, informing enslaved individuals of the existence of the network, he used his bird-watching interest as a cover.
He also gave them with a few basic items so that they could get started on their getaway immediately after escaping. “Stockholders” were those who made contributions of money or materials to help in the emancipation of slaves.
The Canadian Terminus
During the last decades of enslavement in the United States, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 freedom seekers crossed the border into Canada. Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 fugitives entered the Province of Canada between 1850 and 1860 alone. Because of this, it became the primary terminal for the Underground Railroad. The immigrants settled in various sections of what is now the province of Ontario. Among these were Niagara Falls, Buxton, Chatham, Owen Sound, Windsor, Sandwich (now a part of Windsor), Hamilton, Brantford, London, Oakville, and Toronto.
- Following this huge migration, Black Canadians assisted in the creation of strong communities and made significant contributions to the development of the provinces in where they lived and worked.
- The Provincial Freeman newspaper published a thorough report of a specific case in its publication.
- They were on the lookout for a young man by the name of Joseph Alexander.
- Alexandra was present among the throngs of people and had a brief verbal encounter with his previous owner.
- The guys were forced to flee town after the mob refused to allow them to steal Alexander’s possessions.
The Underground Railroad functioned until the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibited slavery, was ratified in 1865. Freedom-seekers, free Blacks, and descendants of Black Loyalists settled throughout British North America during the American Revolutionary War. It is possible that some of them resided in all-Black colonies, such as the Elgin Settlement and the Buxton Mission in Ontario, the Queen’s Bush Settlement and the DawnSettlement near Dresden in Ontario, as well as Birchtown and Africaville in Nova Scotia, although this is not certain.
- Early African Canadian settlers were hardworking and forward-thinking members of society.
- Religious, educational, social, and cultural institutions, political groupings, and community-building organizations were all founded by black people in the United States.
- (See, for example, Mary Ann Shadd.) African-American men and women held and contributed to a diverse variety of skills and abilities during the time period of the Underground Railroad.
- They also owned and operated saw companies, frozen food distributors, livery stables, pharmacies, herbal treatment services and carpentry firms.
- Black people took an active role in the struggle for racial equality.
- In their communities, they waged war on the prejudice and discrimination they met in their daily lives in Canada by getting meaningful jobs, securing homes, and ensuring that their children received an education.
- Many people were refused the right to dwell in particular neighborhoods because of their color.
- Through publications, conferences, and other public activities, such as Emancipation Day celebrations, Black groups expressed their opposition to racial prejudice and worked to make society a better place for everyone.
- Beginning with their search for independence, security, wealth, and human rights, early Black colonists worked to create a better life for themselves, their descendents, and their fellow citizens in the United States.
In addition, see: Underground Railroad (Plain Language Summary); Black Enslavement in Canada (Plain Language Summary); Chloe Cooley and the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada; Anti-slavery Society of Canada; Josiah Henson; Albert Jackson; Richard Pierpoint; and Editorial: Black Female Freedom Fighters (in English and French).
Underground Railroad in Iowa
Initially funded by the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program in 2002, the Iowa Network to Freedom project, which investigated persons and locations involved with the Underground Railroad in Iowa, became the Iowa Freedom Trail Project in 2003. After a five-year period of grant funding, volunteers have continued to collect information from historical resources and compile it into a form containing general information, such as biographical data, resource references, associated properties, and researcher information, among other things, to be used by the public.
- Individuals (by name)
- Individuals (by county)
- Places (by county)
- Research Files (by county)
- Inventory of Individuals (by name)
- Inventory of Places (by county)
- Inventory of Research Files
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Researching Underground Railroad Activity
Since 2002, volunteers at the State Historical Society of Iowa have been doing research into the Underground Railroad’s presence in the state. The research and biographical form instructions can be found here. If you are interested in researching Underground Railroad activity in Iowa and have access to historical documents and primary sources, please review the instructions for submitting a research and biographical form to learn how you can contribute to the project.
- Beginning in 2002, members of the Iowa State Historical Society conducted investigation into possible Underground Railroad activities in the state. The research and biographical form instructions can be found here. If you are interested in researching Underground Railroad activity in Iowa and have access to historical documents and primary sources, please review the instructions for submitting a research and biographical form to learn more about how you can contribute to the project.
Iowa and the Underground Railroad
Beginning in the late 1700s and continuing until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the Underground Railroad was a network of people who assisted runaway slaves in their attempts to escape slavery. It included both northern and southern states, spanning from Texas all the way up to Maine. The vast majority of runaway slaves fled to Canada from the Deep South, although a minor number journeyed further south to Mexico and the Caribbean. Due to the fact that slaves were considered property in the United States at the time, helping runaway slaves was deemed larceny under American law at the time.
Prior to the American Revolution, slavery was lawful across the British Empire, including the United States.
These principles would transform the lives of black people, and many of them fought in the American Revolution in the hope that these rights would be given to them as well.
Vermont became the first state in the new United States of America to pass anti-slavery legislation after the British were defeated in the Revolutionary War in 1777.
Apart from that, there were no laws in the newly created United States that forced civilians to return fugitive slaves to their owners.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution both stated similar views on the subject at the time.
Taking it a step further, the Fleeing Slave Act of 1850 declared aiding and abetting fugitive slaves a federal felony punishable by penalties or jail.
As the Underground Railroad network began to take shape, people began to fill a number of positions inside it.
Fugitive slaves were often referred to as passengers, cargo, fleece, or freight when they were on the run.
Others choose to play a more passive role.
The modes of transportation used varied from one region to the next, and were mostly determined by concealment and closeness to slave hunters.
In contrast to this, the majority of fleeing slaves travelled at night, particularly in towns with ambivalent sentiments regarding slavery.
In the middle of the night, conductors would walk or ride horses to the next station to transport them.
Because of its physical proximity between Missouri, a slave state to the south, and Illinois, a free state to the east, Iowa saw a substantial amount of Underground Railroad activity during this period.
That meant that when Iowa became a state in the Union in 1846, it would be a free state.
Most fugitive slaves crossed through Iowa on their route to other free states farther north or to Canada, where Britain would protect them from being arrested and returned to slavery.
Southeastern Iowa was also home to a large number of fugitive slaves from northern Missouri who were making their way to the Mississippi River and Illinois.
Numerous Iowans also became involved in the growing political opposition to the expansion of slavery into the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which culminated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and granted Kansas and Nebraska the authority to determine their own slave-holding status.
You may get further information about the history of the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements in Iowa and other states by clicking here. Take a look at the resources listed below.
- The John Brown Freedom Trail (1859)
- Abolitionist Movement Primary Sources
- Underground Railroad Primary Sources
- Underground Railroad Sites in the Iowa Culture mobile app