The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway travels 125 miles through the Eastern Shore of Maryland before crossing into Delaware at Sandtown. It continues for another 98 miles, connecting through Dover to Wilmington.
Where is Harriet Tubman Center?
- Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. The National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service have teamed up to provide special family-friendly Grand Opening events and activities at the site and a first look at the new visitor center. It is located at: 4068 Golden Hill Road, Church Creek, Maryland. All events are free.
What routes did the Underground Railroad follow?
Routes. 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.
How many routes did Harriet Tubman have?
Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known of all the Underground Railroad’s “conductors.” During a ten-year span she made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom. And, as she once proudly pointed out to Frederick Douglass, in all of her journeys she “never lost a single passenger.”
Where was Harriet Tubman’s route?
She learned that Tubman’s exact traverse along Maryland’s marshy Eastern Shore is not entirely clear. In Tubman’s numerous treks, she is known to have traveled from Dorchester County through Delaware and finally to Philadelphia, which was part of a free state.
What was the most common route in the Underground Railroad?
One hero of the Underground Railroad was Levi Coffin, a Quaker who is said to have helped around 3,000 slaves gain their freedom. The most common route for people to escape was north into the northern United States or Canada, but some slaves in the deep south escaped to Mexico or Florida.
How many Underground Railroad routes were there?
There were four main routes that the enslaved could follow: North along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to the northern United States and Canada; South to Florida and refuge with the Seminole Indians and to the Bahamas; West along the Gulf of Mexico and into Mexico; and East along the seaboard into Canada.
What route did Harriet Tubman take to freedom?
The Return. Shortly after returning to the farm, Tubman set out on her own, guided through the night by the North Star and well-worn paths of the Underground Railroad up into Pennsylvania, where slavery was illegal. Tubman’s freedom proved to be bittersweet, as she would recount in her biography.
Where is the Underground Railroad?
The site is located on 26 acres of land in Auburn, New York, and is owned and operated by the AME Zion Church. 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.
How many slaves used the Underground Railroad?
The total number of runaways who used the Underground Railroad to escape to freedom is not known, but some estimates exceed 100,000 freed slaves during the antebellum period. Those involved in the Underground Railroad used code words to maintain anonymity.
How far did the Underground Railroad go?
Because it was dangerous to be in free states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, or even Massachusetts after 1850, most people hoping to escape traveled all the way to Canada. So, you could say that the Underground Railroad went from the American south to Canada.
Was the Underground Railroad civil disobedience?
However, in some places, especially after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Underground Railroad was deliberate and organized. Despite the illegality of their actions, people of all races, class and genders participated in this widespread form of civil disobedience.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
Was there ever a real Underground Railroad?
Nope! Despite its name, the Underground Railroad wasn’t a railroad in the way Amtrak or commuter rail is. It wasn’t even a real railroad. The Underground Railroad of history was simply a loose network of safe houses and top secret routes to states where slavery was banned.
In pictures: Harriet Tubman’s route on the Underground Railroad
Harriet Tubman is depicted in a photograph in the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park’s Visitor Center, which is located near Church Creek, Maryland. (Source: State Department/Astrid Riecken) Harriet Tubman, an anti-slavery campaigner who herself fled ruthless slave masters in 1849, will become the first African-American woman and the first woman of color to be portrayed on a United States currency note beginning in 2020. Her role as a “conductor” on the “Underground Railroad” during the nineteenth century is already well known to Americans, and her tale is being told again owing to a historical site that opened in 2017 in the rural Maryland area where Tubman was born and reared.
Visitors who are unfamiliar with the park’s history will ask Angela Crenshaw, the park’s assistant manager, things such as “Where is the station?” and “Where are the tracks?” Bucktown, Maryland is a small town in Maryland.
Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland in 1820 and managed to escape in 1849.
Runaway slaves trekked across the woods at night, guided by the North Star, in search of freedom.
Runaways were smuggled into carriages with concealed compartments and reunited in desolate locations such as cemeteries.
Along the way, they were chased by slave catchers and others hoping to cash in on the opportunity to apprehend them and take their money.
Because they were utilizing railway terminology such as “stations” and “conductors,” they were able to keep their identities hidden.
The Dorchester County Courthouse in Cambridge, Maryland, was the site of slave auctions in the 19th century. During one of the auctions, Tubman’s niece and her niece’s two children managed to get away from the place. (Source: State Department/Astrid Riecken)
Quaker meeting house
The Dorchester County Courthouse in Cambridge, Maryland, was the site of slave auctions. When one of the auctions took place, Tubman’s niece and her niece’s two children managed to flee. Astrid Riecken, State Department Photographer
Fugitive gathering place
A meeting spot for fugitives on the Underground Railroad, Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Preston, Maryland, is an African-American cemetery that has been there for almost a century. (Source: State Department/Astrid Riecken)
Church Creek, Maryland: The region surrounding the Little Choptank River was well-known to fleeing slaves who used this location to launch their boats. (Source: State Department/Astrid Riecken) For eight years, Tubman served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and he was able to boast something that other conductors couldn’t: “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger,” he remarked. Many passengers found their way to William Still, a free black man living in Philadelphia who was one of the Underground Railroad’s most significant conductors.
- Still stated in his memoirs that many of Tubman’s contemporaries were concerned for her safety because her trips carried her away for weeks at a time.
- “However, she appeared to be completely free of personal dread.” The thought of being caught by slave hunters or slaveholders didn’t appear to even cross her head at the time.
- She was on the verge of death and would suffer from the consequences of the serious brain injury for the rest of her life.
- In addition, she organized an armed expedition in South Carolina that resulted in the liberation of more than 700 slaves.
- Anthony and Emily Howland.
- After dying in 1913, she is going to become one of the most known faces in the United States, more than a century after her death.
What was the Underground Railroad? : Harriet Tubman
The Underground Railroad was established in the early nineteenth century and reached its zenith between 1850 and 1860, when it was at its most active. It’s possible that reliable numbers on fleeing slaves who used the Underground Railroad may never be discovered because so much of what we know now comes from narratives written after the Civil War. Between 1810 and 1860, it is estimated that over 100,000 slaves managed to escape using the network. In the upper south, the bulk of slaves were transported from slave states that bordered free states such as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland; very few slaves were transported from the Deep South.
As this story in the New York Times from November 1852 demonstrates, the phrase “Underground Railroad” was becoming more widely known by the mid-1850s. Various Underground Railroad routes were discovered.
Why was it called Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad; it was a network of people and ideas. Due to the network’s clandestine actions being secret and illegal, it was necessary for them to remain “underground” in order to aid fleeing slaves in their efforts to remain hidden from the authorities. Historically, the word “railroad” was used to describe a developing transportation system whose proponents communicated in secret through the usage of railroad code (also known as railroad code).
The homes where fugitives would rest and dine were referred to as “stations” or “depots,” and the owner of the property was referred to as the “station master,” while the “conductor” was the person in charge of transporting slaves from one station to the next, among other things.
Secret codes and phrases are included in this exhaustive collection.
With no clearly defined routes, the Underground Railway was a loosely structured network of linkages rather than a well-organized network of connections. They assisted slaves in their journey to freedom by providing them with housing and transportation. Small groups of supporters were formed independently; the majority of them were familiar with a few connecting stations but were unfamiliar with the complete trip. This technique maintained the confidentiality of those participating while also reducing the likelihood of infiltration.
- There was no one path, and there were most likely a number of them.
- These locations are listed on the website of the National Park Service.
- The majority of them traveled on foot and hid in barns or other out-of-the-way locations such as basements and cupboards.
- These committees generated cash to assist fugitives in resettling by providing them with temporary lodging and employment referrals.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
Until 1850, fugitives had a minimal probability of being apprehended while residing in free states. Following the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Actas part of the Compromise of 1850, the Underground Railroad was diverted to Canada as its final objective, with the United States being the final destination. In newly constructed settlements in Southern Ontario, tens of thousands of slaves were resettled. In an instant, their work became more difficult and perhaps dangerous. A $1000 fine or six months in jail was imposed on anybody who assisted slaves.
Slave catchers were lavishly compensated, and even free African Americans were subjected to re-education through the destruction of their free documents.
The end of the Underground Railroad
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Confederate states of the United States of America. Following the war’s conclusion, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1865, thereby ending slavery in the whole United States and putting an end to the Underground Railroad’s operations throughout the country.
Supporters of the Underground Railroad
Black and white abolitionists, free blacks, Native Americans, and religious organizations such as the Religious Society of Friends, often known as Quakers and Congregationalists, were among those who sympathized with the network’s goals and objectives. It was the Quakers in Pennsylvania that issued the first demand for the abolition of slavery in the United States in 1688. Levi Coffin, William Still, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Garrett, Samuel Burris, William Lloyd Garrison, Sojourner Truth, Joh Brown, Anderson Ruffin Abbott, Henry Brown, Obadiah Bush, Asa Drury, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Samuel Green, Gerrit Smith, Lucretia Coffin Mott, and Jermain Loguen are just a few of the most well-known supporters of the Underground Railroad: Levi Coffin, William Still, Frederick More information on the history of the Underground Railroad may be found at the following websites.
From the National Park Service’s Freedom Sites Network The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is located in Washington, D.C.
Under the categories of “popular” and “underground railroad,”
Harriet Tubman’s Path to Freedom (Published 2017)
After a three-day journey over the Eastern Shore, which included Tubman’s birthplace and the terrain she crossed with escaped slaves in tow, I arrived in Philadelphia, having traveled from Dorchester County through Delaware. My visit coincided with the resurgence of interest in Tubman in the state: The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, a $21 million project in Church Creek that commemorates Tubman’s journey from slave to Underground Railroad “conductor” and, later in life, Civil War scout, spy, and nurse, will open to the public on March 11.
As part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, which spans 125 miles and includes 36 historically significant locations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the facility will be located on 17 acres of land on the Eastern Shore.
Initially, the region served as a gateway through which slave traders transported them from Africa to the colonies, and later as an important network of paths and waterways that served as a part of the Underground Railroad.
“However, few returned to the land of their enslavers, risking capture and re-enslavement, and even lynching, in order to assist others in their own struggle for freedom,” says Ms. Larson. Tubman was one of the select few.
In the Mire
Although the precise year of Harriet Tubman’s birth is uncertain, historians generally believe that she was born Araminta Ross in 1822 to Benjamin and Harriet (Rit) Greene Ross. When she married in 1844, she took on her mother’s first name, which she changed to Harriet Tubman. A native of Peters Neck, she was raised on a property owned by Anthony Thompson, a medical doctor and lumber tycoon, before moving to Bucktown with her family when she was a child. My first stop was the Bucktown farm of Edward Brodess, Dr.
It was a 20-minute drive from my hotel.
I came to numerous interesting places along the road, including:
3. Stanley Institute
My journey also took me to the Stanley Institute, a one-room 19th-century schoolhouse that once served as a chapel, where I sat at one of its wooden desks for a brief period of time. It is one of the state’s oldest schools, and it is run entirely by members of the black community. Tubman herself never received a formal education in reading or writing. After being rented out to work by local families since she was 5 years old, she has performed a variety of tasks include checking muskrat traps in streams and rivers, serving as a nursemaid to a planter’s child, and working in the fields of wood farms.
4. Bucktown Village Store
The Bucktown Village Store, which dates back to Tubman’s time but has been refurbished, is still in operation. This is where Tubman first shown symptoms of disobedience as a teenager, and it was here that she suffered the consequences of her actions.
Tubman had come to Bucktown Village Store one day with the chef of a slave owner, and they had crossed paths with an overseer who was having a disagreement with his slave. According to reports, the slave had fled the property without authorization. When the overseer ordered Tubman to assist him in restraining the guy, she refused, resulting in the slave breaking free. The overseer then took a two-pound weight off the counter, hurled it at the running slave, and instead hit Tubman in the back of the head.
She married John Tubman, a free black man, over a decade later, despite the fact that she remained in slavery to the Brodess family at the time.
They subsequently returned, fearing they would face punishment.
Tubman left the farm shortly after returning, guided through the night by the North Star and the well-worn trails of the Underground Railroad up into Pennsylvania, where slavery was prohibited at the time. She would later write in her book about her experience of being free, which she described as “bittersweet.” She was free and lonely in Philadelphia, where she worked odd jobs to supplement her income. Tubman began planning her return to her hometown in order to bring her family with her: “I was free, and dey should be free as well.
- Tubman’s niece, Kessiah, was the subject of the sale.
- As soon as he received the highest price for Kessiah and their children, he transported them to a local safe house, where they were met by Tubman, who conducted them on a tour of Philadelphia until they reached the city’s harbor.
- Her visits to Maryland’s Eastern Shore numbered a dozen during the following decade, during which she saved the lives of around 70 family members and friends.
- The author of the Tubman biography, Ms.
She used bribes to get others to do what she wanted. Rivers snaked northward, and she followed their course. As she made her way north, she followed the stars and other natural phenomena.”
After crossing the border into Caroline County and entering Poplar Neck as the sun began to drop in Dorchester County, I continued northward. In addition to offering breathtaking vistas of the Choptank River, the region is rich in historical significance. Mount Pleasant Cemetery is located here, as is Tubman’s former home, where she escaped slavery in 1849 and returned later, in 1857, to free her parents from their then-owner, Dr. Thompson, who controlled 2,200 acres of land in this region.
Safe Houses of Worship
After crossing the border into Caroline County and entering Poplar Neck as the sun began to drop in Dorchester County, I continued north through the countryside. Apart from the stunning scenery along the Choptank, this location is a treasure trove of historical significance. Not only is it the site of Mount Pleasant Cemetery, but it is also the location where Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849 and subsequently returned to liberate her parents from their then-owner, Dr. Thompson, who controlled 2,200 acres of land in the region at the time.
On my final day on the Eastern Shore, I was inspired by the Quakers’ dedication to the Underground Railroad to pay a visit to the Friends Meeting House in Wilmington, Del., which houses the burial site of Thomas Garrett, a Quaker abolitionist who was a close friend of Harriet Tubman and one of the most important “stationmasters” on the Underground Railroad during the abolitionist movement. Garrett supported over 2,700 enslaved persons on their path to liberation over the course of four decades, offering them with food, housing, money, and contacts to other abolitionists along the way.
In a letter sent in 1868, Garrett expressed his admiration for Tubman, saying, “For the truth be told, I never met with any individual, of whatever hue, who had greater trust in the voice of God.” Tubman had sent a letter to Ednah Dow Cheney, a philanthropist and suffragist, a decade earlier, in which she detailed her religious beliefs.
Pathways to Freedom
The audio element cannot be played because your browser does not support it. As you read this chapter, pay attention to the audio! What routes did the Underground Railroad take across Maryland, and how did they differ from one another? The paths used by enslaved persons on their journey northward to freedom were numerous and varied. One of the routes out of Maryland that Harriet Tubman usually took was the Route of the Underground Railroad. She guided her groups along the Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Delaware, starting on foot and working their way up.
- They continued their journey from Delaware to Philadelphia or other locations in southeastern Pennsylvania.
- Some went to Massachusetts or New York, while others went to California.
- Escapees boarded boats that traveled up the Chesapeake Bay, where they hoped to find safety.
- Baltimore was the most populous of these cities.
- Many of the ship’s pilots were African Americans who assisted fugitives by concealing them and escorting them to safety.
- It was usual to see African American males aboard ships since so many black people, both free and enslaved, worked as sailors.
As a result, their presence on ships did not provoke too much suspicion. How were enslaved persons able to travel by rail or ship without being found by authorities? «return to the home page»
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway
MD 16, MD 14, MD 331, MD 313 and MD 287 are the routes that take you 51.7 miles. Directions As soon as you’ve completed the southern portion of your journey, head north to the East New Market National Historic District, where you can stop for antique shopping along the way before embarking on a self-guided walking tour that takes you past beautiful examples of 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century architecture. Faith Community United Methodist Church, which is located near a historic railroad station, should be on your list to visit.
- Samuel Green, a free black farmer and Underground Railroad agent who was also a trustee.
- The home of Jacob and Hannah Leverton, Quaker abolitionists, and the site of a historic Quaker meeting house near Mt.
- In Preston, the settlement of Choptank Landing is located on Poplar Neck, just a few miles away from the town of Linchester.
- She rescued herself, then returned to this location to rescue her brothers, and then her parents, who had been trapped in this region.
- The 1852James Webb Cabin, located near the town of Preston, is the only surviving pre-Civil War log cabin on the Eastern Shore that has been shown to have been built by and for an African American family.
- The next destination is Denton, which has a long history of association with the Underground Railroad.
- The neighboring Tuckahoe Neck Meeting House, which was erected in 1803 and hosted renowned Quaker women speakers who were acquainted with Tubman, was dedicated to her memory.
- From here, you may either continue north via the historic towns of Greensboro and Goldsboro until you reach the Mason-Dixon line near the Delaware border, or you can follow the Wye Mills side road from Denton to the Mason-Dixon line.
Side Track to Hillsboro from Denton
One-way distance is 8.3 miles. Directions via MD 404 | MD 404 | Travel west on MD 404 at Denton to read about Frederick Douglass, the famed 19th-century orator and statesman who opened his autobiography with the words, “I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about 12 miles from Easton.” Take a look at the spot where Frederick Douglass began his voyage via St.
Michael’s, Annapolis, Baltimore, and other sites along the Chesapeake Bay before escaping his slavery and rising to the position of abolitionist leader.
Immerse yourself in the world of Harriet Tubman via displays that are educational, evocative, and emotional. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center opened its doors to the public on March 11, 2017, and it is designed to immerse visitors in Tubman’s world via educational, evocative, and emotive exhibits. More information may be found here. Harriet Tubman’s Life and Times Get to know Harriet Tubman, who was a freedom seeker, Underground Railroad conductor, abolitionist, suffragist, and human rights campaigner, and learn about her life and legacy.
- Myths and Facts about Harriet Tubman Guide in audio format Storytelling brought to life through the award-winning audio tour includes tales of enslavement and escape, violence and charity.
- In addition, the book contains interactive augmented and virtual reality experiences at a number of byway locations.
- Itinerary for a trip to see the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad and African-American heritage sites The Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
- More information may be found here.
- This page contains information about the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, including certified host businesses, a map (pdf), a guide (pdf), a digital guide, and a mail order form. This page also contains information about the Maryland’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Guide (pdf), and an exploration of the Maryland’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Places of the Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)
A map of the United States depicting the many paths that freedom seekers might follow in order to attain freedom. NPS provided the image. When enslaved African Americans attempted to obtain their escape via the use of an underground railroad network of routes, safehouses, and resources distributed across the country, they were referred to as “fugitives from justice.” This attempt was frequently spontaneous, with enslaved persons setting off on their quest to liberation on their own initiative.
During the 1820s and 1830s, the United States experienced a surge in the number of people who sought independence from oppression.
In certain instances, the choice to aid a freedom seeking may have been a result of a spur of the moment decision.
Origins of the Underground Railroad
Enslaved people have long sought liberation, dating back to the earliest days of the institution of slavery. Colonial North America – which included Canada and the northern states of the United States – was heavily involved in the slave trade during the nineteenth century. Newly enslaved Africans frequently fled in groups with the intention of establishing new communities in isolated locations. Slavery was particularly widespread in the northern states, making escape extremely difficult. Before the mid-nineteenth century, Spanish Florida and Mexico were the most popular escape destinations for those fleeing bondage.
- The Clemens’ residence is owned by James and Sarah Clemens.
- Following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 by Congress, Canada became a shelter for many people who were hoping to gain their freedom.
- Those living in free Black communities in the North were devastated by this.
- However, as a result of these seizures and kidnappings, a large number of individuals were persuaded to provide assistance as part of the Underground Railroad.
- Formerly enslaved men and women also played an important part in assisting freedom seekers, such as the Clemens family, in their quest for freedom.
- In addition to establishing a school and a cemetery, they served as a station on the Underground Railroad from their residence.
Several freedom seekers made their way to Greenville as their last destination. Bethel AME Church is a congregation of African-Americans. Photo by Smallbones, used under a Creative Commons license.
The Role of Women in the Underground Railroad
A large number of women were involved in the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman was one of the most well-known Underground Railroad conductors, having undertaken more than a dozen excursions into slave-holding states to assist oppressed persons in their journey to freedom. Despite the fact that Tubman had several hiding places, oral histories indicate that she regularly stopped at the Bethel AME Church in Greenwich Township, New Jersey, to rest. Freedom seekers traveling north from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Delaware were accommodated in the church, which was located in the center of the Black village of Springtown.
- One of her most well-known routes was through Delaware, which led north.
- CC BY-SA 4.0 license, photo by Historic Newton.
- Mary Jackson and her family, who lived in Massachusetts at the time, donated their farm as a safe haven for anyone fleeing slavery through the Underground Railroad.
- Ellen was instrumental in the establishment of the Freedman’s Aid Society in Newton in 1865.
- Photo by Jim Roberts, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
- Due to the fact that the Underground Railroad was made up of a loose network of persons – both enslaved and free – there is little evidence on how it functioned and who was involved.
- When she blogged about her experiences hosting freedom seekers at their home, she received a lot of positive feedback.
- Nathan Thomas House in Schoolcraft, Michigan.
Legacy of the Underground Railroad
Locations related with the Underground Railroad may be found all throughout the United States, and a number of national preservation projects are devoted to recording these historical places of significance. In the case of the National Park Service’sNetwork to Freedomprogram, for example, the program includes locations that may be proven to have a link to the Underground Railroad. By working in conjunction with government agencies, people, and organizations to recognize, preserve, and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, the Network to Freedom hopes to bring attention to this important part of human history.
- The Barney L.
- The public domain is a term used to describe a piece of property that is owned by the public.
- Identification, evaluation, and protection of America’s historic and archeological resources are the goals of this National Park Service program, which brings together public and private efforts.
- This is true of places such as theBarney L.
- With the help of the Underground Railroad, Barney was able to escape from his bondage.
- Barney finally settled in Denver, where he made a name for himself as a successful businessman.
- Barney was also an outspoken fighter for African-American civil rights, and he played a crucial part in Colorado’s admittance to the Union as a free state.
- Ford Building contribute to the telling of the tale of the Underground Railroad and its participants – both free and enslaved – in the United States.
Members of the public can assist in the recognition and preservation of locations, structures, and landscapes linked with the Underground Railroad by nominating them to the Network to Freedom or to the National Register of Historic Places.
Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the southern United States by providing them with refuge and assistance. It came forth as a result of the convergence of numerous separate covert initiatives. Although the exact dates of its inception are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Civil War ended.
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.
While some traveled north via Pennsylvania and into New England, or through Detroit on their route to Canada, others chose to travel south. More information may be found at 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 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.
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.
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.
Coffin eventually relocated to Indiana and then Ohio, where he continued to assist fugitive enslaved individuals no matter where he was.
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
Operation of the Underground Railroad came to an end in 1863, during the American Civil War. In actuality, its work was shifted aboveground as part of the Union’s overall campaign against the Confederate States of America. Once again, Harriet Tubman made a crucial contribution by organizing intelligence operations and serving as a commanding officer in Union Army efforts to rescue the liberated enslaved people who had been freed.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman led a daring Civil War raid after the Underground Railroad was shut down.
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 Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway begins on Willow Grove Road in Kent County, where the Maryland Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway terminates. In Camden and Dover, the route passes through known Underground Railroad sites before continuing north on US 13, passing through Smyrna, and then continuing on Rte 15 to Middletown and Odessa. It then follows Route 9 along the Delaware River to Wilmington, where it passes through 13 locations associated with the Underground Railroad.
Approximately 95 kilometers (miles) (including the loops) Tour Guide for the Harriet Tubman Drive Fill out the form on the right to get your driving tour map, which includes directions and information for sites in Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
It will take around 3 hours.
Full Enjoyment Time
It will take around 3 hours to complete
Corridor Management Plan
A comprehensive listing of this final report, including all appendices, maps, and instructions, may be found at the conclusion of this document. Preceding the American Civil War, African American Freedom Seekers sought refuge in the northern United States through a network of people and terrain that became known as the “Underground Railroad.” Delaware, as the final slave state, was a crucial stepping stone on the road to freedom. A group of “conductors,” including Harriet Tubman and others, led more than 3,000 Freedom Seekers through Delaware.
Harriettubmanbyway.org This Byway provides travelers with an alternate travel route through the state that is primarily south to north in direction, while also providing opportunity to learn about and experience Delaware’s Underground Railroad history by visiting the areas where this history took place.
Byway Video and Drive Tour
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and Geographic Information System (GIS) Drive Tour
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad: how one woman saved hundreds from hell
She had managed to get away from hell. Slavery in the United States was a hellish experience characterised by bondage, racist treatment, terrorism, degrading conditions, backbreaking labor, beatings, and whippings. Harriet Tubman escaped from her Maryland farm and walked over 90 miles by herself to reach the free state of Pennsylvania, where she died in 1865. In order to make the perilous voyage, she had to go at night through woods and through streams, with little food, and dreading anybody who would gladly give her back to her masters in order to receive a reward.
Her 1849 escape from slavery was described as follows: “When I realized I had crossed the border, I glanced at my hands to check if I was the same person.” “There was such a radiance in everything.” I had the feeling that I was in heaven as the sun filtered through the trees and over the meadows.” Tubman was transferred to a region where she could live somewhat free of bondage thanks to the Underground Railroad; but, while others endured cruelty and misery, she would risk her life as the network’s most renowned conductor.
Tubman made it out of hell just to turn around and walk right back into it.
When and where was Harriet Tubman born?
Araminta Ross, Tubman’s given name, would have been put to work on her family’s plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland, practically as soon as she began to walk, according to family legend. It was the same terrible initiation to slavery that she and her eight siblings endured when they were born into it. Her rigorous outdoor job, along with long hours of domestic employment as a maid and then as a cook, resulted in her being underweight and unwell at times. The little Minty, like millions of other slaves in America, became all-too familiar with the awful physical and mental torture she suffered at the hands of her owners.
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Minty’s harsh upbringing resulted in a fervent Christian faith, which she developed as a result of hearing Bible tales read to her by her mother, as well as extraordinary strength, courage, and a desire to put herself in danger in order to save others. These characteristics helped her so effectively in the Underground Railroad, yet they almost resulted in her death when she was a little girl. Once, as Minty was on her way to get supplies from a dry goods store, she found herself stuck between an overseer who was looking for a slave who had fled his property without permission and the slave’s pursuing master.
What was the Underground Railroad?
The term does not allude to genuine trains that went up and down the length of America in tunnels (at least not in the early nineteenth century), but rather to a system of clandestine routes that were designed to assist runaway slaves in reaching the free states of the North or Canada. In order to escape discovery, guides guided them down the circuitous routes, which frequently required trudging into the woods, crossing rivers, and climbing mountains to reach their destination. Although it was not always the case, a route may have involved conveyance, such as boats or carts.
- It was all done in secret, thus the term “underground,” and it made use of jargon from the booming railway industry.
- It was common for those participating – which included everyone from runaway slaves to rich white abolitionists and church officials – to congregate in small groups.
- ‘vigilance committees’ formed established in the bigger cities of the North, such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, to support the railroad.
- It struck Minty in the head, knocking her out cold and leaving her in a pool of blood.
- These remained constant throughout her life (although she claimed them to be premonitions from God).
- There was no reprieve from the horrendous conditions as the years passed, yet all of Minty’s hours of hard labor had given her a surprising amount of strength for her small five-foot body.
Despite the fact that she became Harriet Tubman in approximately 1844 – after marrying a free black man called John Tubman and choosing to use her mother’s first name – it would be another five years before she made her first steps toward freedom.
How did Harriet Tubman escape from slavery?
What makes Tubman’s escape from slavery even more remarkable is that she had to accomplish it twice before she was successful. When Mary left the plantation with two of her brothers on September 17, 1849, Harry and Ben had second thoughts and returned to the plantation with her mother and father. Instead of continuing without them, Tubman made sure they returned before attempting a second time to save her life. The 90-mile trek could have taken her anywhere from one to three weeks if she had done it on foot.
- As a result, in 1850, she returned to Maryland to pick up her niece Kessiah and her husband, as well as their two kids, and bring them back to Pennsylvania.
- (some accounts say she went as many as 19 times).
- It is estimated that she personally freed roughly 300 slaves – including some of her brothers and their families, as well as her own parents – and gave instructions to dozens of others in the process.
- An advertising for the ‘Liberty Line’ in 1844, which was a thinly veiled allusion to the Underground Railroad, and which promised “seats free, regardless of race,” is seen below.
- It only grew more perilous after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, which made it possible for runaway slaves to be apprehended in the North and returned to their original owners.
- As a result, Tubman had to find a way to get to Canada, which was under British control.
When Tubman was a conductor, her colleague William Still remarked, “Great anxieties were expressed for her safety, yet she appeared to be completely devoid of personal dread.” With her success in exploiting and growing the network to transport escaped slaves to safety, abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison dubbed Tubman the ‘Moses of her people’ for her efforts.
She would frequently travel during the winter, when the nights were longer, and would leave with her ‘passengers’ on a Saturday evening – since runaway notices would not appear in newspapers until the following Monday – in order to avoid being discovered.
“Either you’ll be free or you’ll die,” she declared emphatically.
‘General Tubman’ was contacted before to his failed 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry in the hopes of igniting a slave insurrection, and it is said that he wanted her to take part in the attack as a member of the armed forces.
Seward was so impressed with Tubman’s work that she purchased a small plot of land near Auburn, New York – where she lived with her elderly parents, whom she had rescued during one of her final journeys – from her friend and admirer.
On the Underground Railroad, did coded songs aid people in their attempts to elude enslavement and find freedom? In connection with the Underground Railroad, there is a widespread idea that songs had hidden messages in the lyrics that either assisted slaves in finding their path to freedom or served as a warning. To summarize: The expression “follow the Drinkin’ Gourd” actually refers to the North Star, “Wade in the Water” is an instruction to hide, and the phrase “I am bound for Canaan” could be used by a slave to announce his or her intention to flee and seek refuge in Canada, which would serve as their Canaan in the new world.
Tubman would subsequently vary the speed of the song in order to shift the meaning of the message.
According to a related notion, specific patterns in quilts were created in order to symbolize secret instructions, however this theory has also been called into doubt.
In spite of this, songs formed an important part of the culture of those in bondage, whether employed as prayers (known as’spirituals’), to provide a rhythm to their work, or as oral history in a society where many people were illiterate.
Harriet Tubman and the American Civil War
Although the Underground Railroad came to a close with the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, it did not mark the end of Tubman’s heroic efforts on the Underground Railroad. She worked in the Union Army as a cook, laundress, and nurse, caring for wounded troops and escaped slaves, who were referred to as ‘contrabands,’ without regard for her own well-being. Tubman led a troop of scouts into Confederate territory after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, laying the groundwork for the abolition of slavery.
Because of the intelligence she acquired, Colonel James Montgomery was able to launch a deadly attack on enemy fortifications, making her the first woman to command an armed assault in the United States history.
More than 750 slaves were liberated during the uprising.
What were Harriet Tubman’s actions during the American Civil War?
Sophie Beale, a journalist, investigates. The first bullets of the American Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861, in the state of Virginia. Tubman had a large number of abolitionist admirers by this time, and Massachusetts governor John Andrew funded her to travel to Port Royal, South Carolina, which had recently been liberated from the Confederates by Union forces. Her first assignment after the onset of war was as a volunteer with Union troops stationed near Fort Munroe in Virginia. Harriet worked wherever she was needed: nursing those suffering from disease, which was common in the hot climate; coordinating the distribution of charitable aid to the thousands of ex-slaves who lived behind union lines; and supervising the construction of a laundry house, where she taught women how to earn money by washing clothes for others.
Hunter delegated power to Tubman to assemble a group of scouts who would enter and survey the interior of the country.
This persuaded Union leaders of the value of guerrilla operations, which led to the infamous Combahee River Raid, in which Tubman served as scout and adviser to Colonel Montgomery, commander of the second South Carolina volunteers, one of the new black infantry regiments, during the American Civil War.
- In order to avoid rebel underwater explosives, Tubman escorted them to certain locations along the beach.
- Others seized thousands of dollars’ worth of crops and animals, destroying whatever that was left behind as they did so.
- As soon as everyone had boarded the steamers, they began their journey back up the river, transporting the 756 freshly freed slaves to Port Royal.
- Using the exact people the Confederates wished to keep subdued and enslaved, this well-coordinated invasion had dealt a devastating blow to the Confederates’ cause.
- She received such low salary that she was forced to sustain herself by selling handmade pies, ginger bread, and root beer, and she received no remuneration at all for more than three decades.
- A renowned icon of the anti-slavery movement today, she was the subject of two biographies (written in 1869 and 1866) with the revenues going entirely to assist her pay her debts to the institution of slavery.
- As a result of her lectures in favour of women’s suffrage, she was invited to be the keynote speaker at the first conference of the National Association of Colored Women, which took place in 1896.
- (When she was a conductor, she had returned to save John Tubman, but he had remarried by the time she returned.) Tubman and Davis became the parents of a newborn girl named Gertie, whom they adopted as a couple.
She died of pneumonia on March 10, 1913, in the presence of her family and close friends. Her dying words, spoken as a fervent Christian till the end, were, “I am going to prepare a place for you.”
- When it comes to slavery, Lincoln said, “If I could save the union without liberating a single slave, I would.”
If her deeds and accomplishments aren’t enough of a testament, these final remarks eloquently depict a lady who has dedicated her life to others while seeking no recognition or glory for herself. A lady who rose to prominence in the United States while remaining anonymous. A lady who was able to escape the misery of being a slave and went on to assist others in doing the same has been honored. “Most of what I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been done and suffered in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way,” Frederick Douglass, Tubman’s friend and revered abolitionist, wrote to Tubman about her time as a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
“I have worked throughout the day; you have worked during the night.”
Jonny Wilkes is a freelance writer specialising in history
This article was first published in History Revealed in January 2017 and has since been updated.