What was the Underground Railroad and how did it work?
- During the era of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, places, and people that helped enslaved people in the American South escape to the North. The name “Underground Railroad” was used metaphorically, not literally. It was not an actual railroad, but it served the same purpose—it transported people long distances.
What literary devices are used in The Underground Railroad?
Within the text of The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead’s, the use of literary elements such as imagery, metaphor, and paradox amplifies the reader’s understanding of early 19th century slavery and its role in the South of the United States of America.
Who was the most famous guide of The Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman: A Captivating Guide to an American Abolitionist Who Became the Most Famous Conductor of the Underground Railroad.
What inspired The Underground Railroad?
Quaker Abolitionists In the early 1800s, Quaker abolitionist Isaac T. Hopper set up a network in Philadelphia that helped enslaved people on the run. At the same time, Quakers in North Carolina established abolitionist groups that laid the groundwork for routes and shelters for escapees.
What is literary devices in a story?
Literary devices are techniques that writers use to express their ideas and enhance their writing. Literary devices highlight important concepts in a text, strengthen the narrative, and help readers connect to the characters and themes.
What is the theme of the Underground Railroad?
Rebellion. All the black characters in the novel—whether enslaved or free—must constantly navigate an impossible choice between enduring the brutality of slavery and racism or risking everything in a (likely doomed) attempt to rebel.
How old would Harriet Tubman be today?
Harriet Tubman’s exact age would be 201 years 10 months 28 days old if alive. Total 73,747 days. Harriet Tubman was a social life and political activist known for her difficult life and plenty of work directed on promoting the ideas of slavery abolishment.
Who ended slavery?
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” effective January 1, 1863. It was not until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1865, that slavery was formally abolished ( here ).
Who was important in the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.
What are runaway slaves?
In the United States, fugitive slaves or runaway slaves were terms used in the 18th and 19th century to describe enslaved people who fled slavery. Most slave law tried to control slave travel by requiring them to carry official passes if traveling without a master with them.
What did Levi Coffin do?
Levi Coffin, (born October 28, 1798, New Garden [now in Greensboro], North Carolina, U.S.—died September 16, 1877, Cincinnati, Ohio), American abolitionist, called the “President of the Underground Railroad,” who assisted thousands of runaway slaves on their flight to freedom.
Is the Underground Railroad on Netflix?
Unfortunately, The Underground Railroad is not currently on Netflix and most likely, the series will not come to the streaming giant any time soon.
Why is Underground Railroad 18+?
Graphic violence related to slavery, including physical abuse, rape. and other cruelty to humans. Characters are shown being whipped, beaten, and killed, and the blood and wounds are a point of emphasis. There are rape scenes in which overseers force slaves to procreate.
How do I contact Colson Whitehead?
- Contact: [email protected].
- Speaking Engagements: Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau.
- Publicity: Michael Goldsmith [email protected].
- Photo: Chris Close.
- Upcoming events: 2021.
How does the novel Underground Railroad end?
After this interlude, Ridgeway forces Cora to lead him to the local Underground Railroad station, which Royal had shown her after they arrived at Valentine. She fights back at the entrance and leaves Ridgeway to die, propelling herself down the long, dark tunnel on a handcar.
The Underground Railroad – Literature / History
The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes. Within the pages of this riveting and emotionally painful novel, author Colson Whitehead tells the story of Cora, a teenage third-generation slave on a Georgia cotton farm who is mercilessly beaten by both whites and African-Americans. With the conviction that the horror will only worsen, she leaves with a young guy who knows how to find his way to the Underground Railroad. Almost everything Whitehead describes is vividly, and at times jarringly realistic; even the novel’s most fantastic element, his vision of this secret transport network as an actual railroad running through tunnels dug beneath the blood-soaked fields of the South, a jolting and resounding embodiment of heroic efforts and colossal risks, is vividly, and at times jarringly realistic.
— Booklist’s Donna Seaman says: (June 2016) You may browse around the website by clicking on the links provided below.
A deep-seated ambivalence regarding the American slogan of “Pursuit of Happiness” characterizes Railroad, just as it did in the original slave tales.
During each of the stops on the runaway slave characters’ journey, contentment may look as a trap, a tempting enticement to stay in a cozy area, which quickly turns sour and becomes the polar opposite of what was intended.
- The image of “the pleasant plantation and the satisfied slave who sang and danced and adored Massa,” which was widely circulated in the press and popular culture, contributed to the justification of this inequity (209).
- Due to her past experiences with other slaves, Cora is wary of closeness for the rest of the narrative.
- Slaves, on the other hand, can build minor attachments that provide them with a measure of satisfaction while simultaneously serving as a sort of resistance against dehumanization.
- The numerous parties, feasts, and “socials” that are shown in the work serve to disprove rather than reinforce the illusion of the happy slave, as is suggested by the title.
- Whitehead’s novel is highly critical of the American tenet of “the pursuit of happiness.” Slavery is viewed as a logical extension of white America’s desire of financial comfort.
- For slaves, happiness may appear to be an extravagance, with liberation being the primary goal of their search for freedom.
- Therefore, Cora’s departure and search, like the slave narratives and neoslave narratives on which it is based, sits in paradoxical contrast with the national character of the United States of America.
However, the same desire to avoid being imprisoned inside the confines of pre-determined identities applies to African-Americans’ self-definitions, whether in political debate or in literary fiction, regardless of their origins.
“Revue française d’études américaines” (French Journal of American Studies) published an article on the Underground Railroad (2016) The underground railroad is depicted in the novel as an actual train transportation system, as well as a network of safe homes and hidden passageways.
It established pathways for fugitive slaves to migrate to free states in the United States, Mexico, British North America (now Canada), and other countries.
Some researchers believe that the figure is higher.
In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as part of a larger organization.
According to historical tales of the railroad, conductors frequently pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways out of plantation prisons and train stations.
The railroad is transformed into a journey through some of the most famous incidents in African-American history, including the Tuskegee experiments, Harriet Jacobs’ autobiographicalretelling of hiding in an attic for seven years, W.E.B.
DuBois’ and Booker T. Washington’s differing visions of progress, lynchings, and the Maroons.
Books featuring the Underground Railroad
There have been a number of authors who have made the Underground Railroad the central theme of their literary works. Some of the books depict it in a more realistic manner than others. It is often believed that this system operates under a number of misconceptions. For example, the Underground Railroad was not a railroad in the traditional sense. During the early to mid-19th century, it was a network of secret passageways and “safe homes” that was largely constructed in the northern portion of the United States and Canada, particularly in the northern region of the United States and Canada.
- Abolitionists and friends who were sympathetic to their cause assisted fugitive slaves in their quest for freedom, which was made possible through the Underground Railroad.
- If you ever find yourself in Philadelphia, you should pay a visit to the Johnson House, which has remained virtually unchanged since its construction in 1768.
- Harriet Tubman, despite her little stature, paid a visit to the place.
- ‘It was a network that crossed over countries, faiths, and ethnicities,’ according to Christopher Densmore of the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College, who put it so well.
- Perhaps one of these publications, which depict areas, faiths, ethnicities, and sites associated with the Underground Railroad, will pique your interest and motivate you to go.
Fiction Books set around the Underground Railroad
In their literary works, a number of authors have chosen the Underground Railroad as a central theme. Some of the books depict it in a more realistic manner than other. It is widely believed that this system is based on mythology. The Underground Railroad, for example, was not a railroad in the traditional sense of the word. During the early to mid-19th century, it was a network of secret passageways and “safe homes” that was mostly developed in the northern section of the United States and Canada.
- Abolitionists and friends who were sympathetic to their cause assisted fugitive slaves in their quest for freedom, which was made possible through the Underground Railroad.
- In Philadelphia, you should pay a visit to the Johnson House, which remains virtually unchanged from its appearance in 1768.
- Harriet Tubman, despite her petite stature, paid a visit to the place.
- ‘It was a network that crossed over countries, faiths, and ethnicities,’ according to Christopher Densmore of the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College, who put it perfectly.
You could be inspired to travel by one of these novels, which cover a variety of topics such as faiths, ethnicities, and the Underground Railroad’s route. Both fiction and nonfiction titles are included on this list.
2.The Underground Railroadby Colson Whitehead
This1New York Timesbestseller, which was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, tells the story of a young slave’s exploits as she makes a desperate effort for freedom. Cora is a slave who works on a cotton farm in Georgia as a domestic servant. Following a conversation with Caesar, a recent immigrant from Virginia, about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a scary risk and go to freedom. During the course of his tale, Whitehead skillfully re-creates the specific terrors experienced by black people in the pre–Civil War era, while smoothly weaving the saga of America from the cruel immigration of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the contemporary day.
Visiting the Johnson House in Philadelphia was inspired by the Underground Railroad, which I learned about during my recent visit.
3.The Mapmaker’s Childrenby Sarah McCoy
Following the realization that her artistic abilities may be able to aid in the preservation of the lives of slaves fleeing north, Sarah Brown, the daughter of abolitionist John Brown, develops into one of the Underground Railroad’s leading mapmakers, taking inspiration from slave code quilts and concealing her maps within her paintings. Upon moving into an old house in the suburbs, Eden discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar, which turns out to be the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past filled with secret messages, danger, and deliverance.
4.Indigoby Beverly Jenkins
In her childhood, Hester Wyatt managed to flee slavery, and today the dark-skinned beauty is a committed member of Michigan’s Underground Railroad, giving other runaways the opportunity to experience the freedom she has come to cherish. She does not hesitate when one of her fellow conductors gives her an injured man to conceal, even after she is informed that he is being hunted down for a large sum of money. The guy in question is the renowned conductor known as the “Black Daniel,” who is a critical part of the Underground Railroad network in the northern United States.
Galen is a member of one of the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, but he has chosen to forego the luxury lifestyle he has been accustomed to in order to bring freedom to those who are enslaved in the southern United States.
5.The Last Runawayby Tracy Chevalier
In her childhood, Hester Wyatt managed to flee slavery, and today the dark-skinned beauty is a committed member of Michigan’s Underground Railroad, giving other runaways the opportunity to experience the freedom she has grown to cherish. She does not hesitate when one of her fellow conductors gives her an injured man to conceal, even after she is informed that he is being hunted for his life. The guy in question is the renowned conductor known as the “Black Daniel,” who is a critical part of the Underground Railroad network in the northern United States.
With his family being among the wealthiest free Black families in New Orleans, Galen has chosen to forego the luxury lifestyle he has come to expect in order to help liberate others who are still enslaved in the southern United States of America.
Although he is recuperating, he is unable to ignore Hester Wyatt’s presence in his life.
Nonfiction books featuring the Underground Railroad
Hester Wyatt escaped slavery as a kid, and today the dark-skinned beauty is a committed member of Michigan’s Underground Railroad, affording other runaways a shot at the freedom she has come to cherish. She does not hesitate when one of her fellow conductors gives her an injured man to conceal, even after she is informed of the high price on his head. The guy in issue is the renowned conductor known as the “Black Daniel,” a critical part of the Underground Railroad network in the northern United States, but Hester finds him to be so nasty and arrogant that she begins to doubt her decision to keep him hidden.
However, he is unable to turn his back on Hester Wyatt while he recovers.
2.Never Caughtby Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Kathleen Van Cleve
Editions for both adults and young readers are available: Beginning with her early years, continuing through her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, and ending with her escape to New Hampshire, the authors provide an intimate look into the life of a little-known but powerful figure in history, and her courageous journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country.
Ona Judge was born into a life of slavery and rose through the ranks to become George and Martha Washington’s “favorite” dower slave, finally becoming their heiress.
3.Twelve Years a Slaveby Solomon Northup
Editions for adults as well as children are available: Beginning with her early years, continuing through her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, and ending with her escape to New Hampshire, the authors provide an intimate look into the life of a little-known but powerful figure in history, and her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country. At the age of eighteen, Ona Judge was sold into slavery but rose through the ranks to become “preferred” dower slave to George and Martha Washington.
The Underground Railroad Literary Elements
Adult and Young Readers Editions are available, as well as: From her childhood, to her time with the Washingtons and living in the slave quarters, to her escape to New Hampshire, the authors provide an intimate glimpse into the life of a little-known, but powerful figure in history, as well as her brave journey as she fled the most powerful couple in the country. Ona Judge was born into a life of slavery and rose through the ranks to become George and Martha Washington’s “favorite” dower slave.
She took the bold and courageous step of fleeing to the north, where she would be treated as though she were a fugitive, after learning that she would be presented as the wedding gift to Martha Washington’s granddaughter.
16 Children’s Books About the Underground Railroad
“There are no trains in this narrative!” says the narrator. I brought home a stack of books about the Underground Railroad and this was my youngest son’s reaction when he saw them. The fact that this railroad had no trains or tracks, however, was swiftly discovered by my lads, who rapidly realized that it may have been the most significant and powerful railroad our nation had ever seen. You might also be interested in these books about the Civil Rights Movement! This collection of novels will assist both younger and older readers in comprehending the harshness of slavery as well as the costly price of freedom for those who attempt to flee from their oppressors.
I hope you may learn something new and be inspired by what you read here.
16 Books About the Underground Railroad
Using the biography of an American hero as inspiration, Adler has written yet another outstanding picture book. This book chronicles Harriet Tubman from her upbringing as a slave in Maryland to her emancipation via the Underground Railroad, and then to her return to the South to aid in the emancipation of other African-Americans. It also depicts her life during and after the Civil War, during which she continued to serve others and fight for justice for the rights of women. My recommendation for readers ages 5 and above is to read any of Adler’s biographies.
Follow the Drinking Gourdby Bernadine Connelly
This novel, which is inspired on the popular American folk song of the same name, tells the story of one family’s escape from slavery through the Underground Railroad system. It demonstrates how individuals fleeing to freedom would rely on natural cues such as stars to navigate their way to the northern reaches of the continent. This book is appropriate for children aged 5 and up. This story is also available on DVD, with Morgan Freeman providing the narration.
Henry’s Freedom Boxby Ellen Levine
Beginning when he was taken away from his family at an early age and continuing into adulthood, when his wife and children are sold to another slave master, Henry has always dreamt of being free. When it comes to becoming free, Henry comes up with an innovative solution: he will mail himself to the North! His arduous voyage in a shipping container is ultimately worth it since he receives a prize. Based on a true story, I recommend that children between the ages of 4 and 8 read this book aloud.
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quiltby Deborah Hopkinson
In the midst of her enslavement and sewn-up existence, a young lady named Clara dreams of achieving freedom, both for herself and for her family. Sometime later, she overhears two other slaves discussing something known as the Underground Railroad, and she understands that she may use her abilities as a seamstress to assist others in their journeys toward freedom.
It is her dream to create a quilt from scraps of cloth, which can also serve as a map to help her find her way to freedom in the North, thanks to the Underground Railroad. Sharing this book with youngsters aged three and up is highly recommended.
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroadby Henry Cole
It is just the hauntingly beautiful drawings that convey the seriousness of the historical period in this frightening picture book; there are no words. When a little girl discovers a runaway slave hiding in her barn, she is forced to make a difficult decision about her future. Is she able to raise the alarm about this unexpected visitor lurking in the shadows? Do you think she’ll go with the flow and follow her heart and compassion? This is a really emotional novel, however smaller children may want assistance in understanding what is occurring in the plot.
Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroadby Pamela Duncan Edwards
A Barefoot (escaped slave) must go through the woods at night in order to avoid being discovered by the Heavy Boots who are on the lookout for them. The Barefoot must pay heed to the clues that the forest is sending him, and the animals appear to be able to assist him in his quest for direction. Throughout his journey, readers will follow him as he hides in the forest and the swamp, until arriving at his final destination. This engaging picture book offers a really unique point of view, and I recommend it for children aged 5 and older because of its distinct perspective.
Almost to Freedomby Vaunda Micheaux Nelson
Lindy is infatuated with her doll Sally, and the two of them do everything together. Sally always follows Lindy everywhere she goes. Sally even joins Lindy and her family as they boldly flee slavery on the Underground Railroad. Lindy and her family are accompanied by Sally. Sally, on the other hand, gets abandoned along the route. She is depressed until she understands that she may be a source of comfort to another little girl on her journey to independence. With a narrative written from the perspective of Sally the doll, this story is a wonderful choice for reading aloud with children ages 5 and up.
The Birdmanby Troon Harrison
Alexander Ross was best known as an ornithologist, which is a scientific term that refers to someone who studies birds. However, after reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Ross discovered a new passion: assisting enslaved people in their quest for freedom. His extensive understanding of nature also assisted him in determining the most effective means of escaping for enslaved persons fleeing to Canada from the United States. Ross believed that if birds were allowed to fly wherever they pleased, then all humans should be given the same opportunity.
Beautifully illustrated, this picture book offers an enthralling glimpse into the life of a little-known hero, and it is appropriate for children aged 5 and above.
Blacksmith’s Songby Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
Ross was best known as an ornithologist, which is a term that means “bird researcher.” Ross discovered another love when reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which is assisting slaves in their quest for freedom. His extensive understanding of nature also assisted him in determining the most effective methods of escape for enslaved persons fleeing to Canada from the United States. When birds were given the ability to roam freely, Ross believed that all humans should be given the same opportunity to do so.
His life’s work has now become one of assisting African-Americans in their search for freedom and a fresh beginning. When it comes to reading with children ages 5 and older, this stunning picture book offers a riveting look at a little-known hero.
Before She Was Harrietby Lesa Cline-Ransome
Harriet Tubman is a historical figure whose full tale is unknown to those who only know her as such. She was more than just a formerly enslaved person. She was a spy, a suffragette, a general, a nurse, and a lot more things than that. This wonderful picture book goes into the numerous roles she played and the many aliases she went by during her long and illustrious life. I recommend that readers between the ages of 6 and 12 read this unusual biography.
Chapter Books and Early Readers
If you just know her as Harriet Tubman, you aren’t familiar with her entire life narrative, which is fascinating. A former slave, yes, but she was much more than that. She was a spy, a suffragette, a general, a nurse, and a lot more things besides. Over the course of her long and illustrious life, this magnificent picture book digs into the numerous roles she performed and many aliases she assumed. Sharing this unusual biography with readers as young as six years old is highly recommended by this author.
What Was the Underground Railroad?by Yona Zeldis McDonough
This is the second time that theWhoHQseries has published a fantastic non-fiction book about a vital issue. This book contains intriguing data, a plethora of images, maps, and biographies of people who took part in the expedition. An insert with images from the historical period is included so that children may see how slavery affected actual individuals who lived real lives and establish the link between the two. This gripping chapter book is best suited for children ages 8 and older because of its complexity.
Eliza’s Freedom Road: An Underground Railroad Diaryby Jerdine Nolen
In the aftermath of Eliza’s mother’s sale to a new family, all Eliza has left to recall is her quilt and the stories she used to tell. When Eliza’s mistress becomes ill, she begins to hear rumors about her being sold, and she realizes that her time has come. The words of her mother and the farmhand Joe guide her down the Underground Railroad, and before long, she is being guided by a gentle woman named Harriet into slavery. If your child is reading at or above the fourth grade level, this fictitious journal of a 12-year-old house slave in Virginia is a fantastic choice for them.
Dear Austin: Letters From the Underground Railroadby Elvira Woodruff
Levi has formed a friendship with a young child named Jupiter, who happens to be the son of a former slave. They have a lot of fun together, playing and enjoying the Pennsylvania countryside. When Jupiter’s sister is abducted by a slave trader, Levi and Jupiter come up with a scheme to free her from being sold into slavery. Naive Levi immediately learns how dire the position of the slaves is, and he communicates his observations to his brother, Austin, through letters sent to and from the slaves.
Stealing Freedomby Elisa Carbone
Abolitionist Anna Maria Weems was born into slavery, and that is the only way she has ever known existence. Her family is her one source of happiness in life; being able to spend time with them is what makes life tolerable for her. Although being a slave frequently meant being apart from family, Anna eventually finds herself alone and without the people she cared about. She is consumed by sadness and performs the only move that appears to make sense: she flees the scene.
As a guy, Anna sets out to discover independence as well as her family, which she believes she can’t find otherwise. This novel is based on a true tale, and it is recommended for readers aged 11 and above.
Bradyby Jean Fritz
Even though Brady is well-known for having a loud mouth, he’s never had to keep a secret quite like this before — the secret of an Underground Railroad stop close to his family’s house. Brady is presented with a difficult decision: should he reveal what he knows, or should he assist and protect slaves who are attempting to flee for their lives? This book is best suited for children who are reading at or above the third grade level.
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IMPORTANT NOTE FOR TEACHERS Instructions for Teachers The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes. Cora, a young African American lady who goes to freedom from the antebellum South via a magnificently conceived physical—rather than metaphorical—railroad, is introduced in The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. The locations and people Cora experiences throughout the novel, which is told in episodes, furnish her and the reader with important discoveries about the consequences of captivity.
The reader is reminded of the importance of hope, of resistance, and of freedom via Cora, making The Underground Railroadan essential supplement to any classroom curriculum.
An understanding of the slave trade, slavery, and how it operated in the United States is necessary in order to make sense of the number of Africans who were enslaved and the historical legacy of enslavement that has lasted through Reconstruction, the civil rights movement, and up to the present day in the United States.
- Most importantly, including The Underground Railroadallows readers to bear witness to a counter-narrative of slavery that is not generally covered in the literature on slavery.
- Because of the Underground Railroad, we are reminded that her tale may be used as a springboard for bigger talks about racism, gender, and a slew of other critical issues.
- When used at the collegiate level, the book is suited for writing and literary classes, race and gender studies, and first-year/common reading programs, among other things.
- The prompts are organized according to the standard that they most directly support.
- For a comprehensive listing of the Standards, please see the following link: warnings: There are multiple instances of violence throughout the text (sexual and physical).
- Although teachers should not avoid exposing children to these events, guiding them through them via conversation and critical analysis will help them gain a better understanding of the consequences of enslavement as it has been experienced by so many people throughout history.
- Activity in the Classroom Make a list of all the ways in which Cora fights against the dehumanization that comes with servitude.
Then hold a Socratic seminar to determine in what ways she is a “insurrection of one” (172) and why her resistance is such a threat to the system of white supremacy.Key Ideas and Specifics : CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.3 Examine the consequences of the author’s decisions about how to develop and connect the many aspects of a tale or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
- Even while whites continue to orchestrate festivals among the slave population in South Carolina, free people are free to congregate and spend time with one another whenever they choose.
- And what do these get-togethers have to say about community, kinship, and happiness?
- What aspects of South Carolina’s enslavement are similar to those of slavery?
- What characteristics distinguish South Carolina from Randall?
- Her reading materials include a Bible and almanacs, which “Cora admired.
- What role does the act of reading, and hence literacy, play in Cora’s ability to be free?
Consider, as well, how Ethel and Ridgeway use the Bible and religion to justify slavery: “If God had not intended for Africans to be enslaved, they would not be in chains” (195); and Cora’s observation: “Slavery is a sin when whites are subjected to the yoke, but not when Africans are subjected to the yoke” (195).
- This is how Ridgeway describes his position: “I’m an idea of order.” Likewise, the slave who vanishes is only a fictitious concept.
- If we allow it to happen, we are acknowledging the fault in the imperative.
- Is there a “defect in the imperative,” and why is it critical for Ridgeway and the larger institution of enslavement that is reliant on Black people that this flaw be addressed and eliminated?
- Mingo and Lander are similar in many ways.
- What are the similarities and differences between these two guys and Booker T.
- Du Bois?
Examine the relevance of how each person who worked on the railroad—from station agents to conductors—was influenced by their jobs and the railroad itself.
Which concepts such as resistance, agency, and responsibility do these individuals hold dear to their hearts?
The ability to read and to be literate provided one with a tremendous instrument for comprehending the world and for liberating others from oppression.
Consider the significance of the Valentine library, which boasts “the largest collection of negroliterature this side of Chicago,” among other things (273).
What role does Cora’s experience play in articulating the relationship between freedom and literacy?
Cora’s grandmother, Ajarry, is our first introduction to her.
What role does Ajarry play in setting a good example for Mabel, and in especially for Cora, is unclear.
A comparison has been made between the episodic structure of The Underground Railroad and that of Jonathan Swift’sGulliver’s Travels by Colson Whitehead.
A station agent tells Cora, “If you want to see what this country is all about, I always say you have to ride the rails,” as he tells her he wants her to ride the trains.
What role does it play in helping the reader comprehend the novel’s structure?
Despite the fact that she had company at certain times throughout her journey, she finally finds herself alone: “She was a stray after all.
Why is it necessary for her to travel alone?
North Carolina is a place built on the foundation of dread.
What function does each one perform?
Caesar had been misled by his owner, who had vowed to release him upon her death, but had failed to do so.
When he first arrives at the Randall plantation, he conceals a book that he reads at night.
In particular, consider the significance of literacy for Caesar, as seen by the lines “But, if he didn’t read, then he was a slave” (235) and “Now a page here and there, in the beautiful afternoon light, maintained him.” What are some of the parallels between Cora and Caesar?
Maroons, according to the Oxford Bibliographies, are “those who fled enslavement and established separate groupings and towns on the edges of slave society.” Consider the establishment of the Valentine farm as the formation of a Maroon society.
Who was the person who resided there?
Sam continued his Underground Railroad work despite the fact that he had lost his livelihood.
Is there anything in Sam’s work that suggests he believes in his goal and that he understands the responsibilities of those who worked as agents and conductors for the Railroad?
Consider the importance of his return, particularly in light of the time and place of his arrival.
Against this, Lander asserts, “Sometimes a helpful hallucination is preferable to a worthless fact.” Later, he provides instances of illusions, including “the belief that we may escape slavery,” “Valentine farm,” and “the belief that America is a hallucination, the biggest of them all.” What exactly does the name Lander mean?
- Cora’s “mother had left her a neat plot to look over in her inheritance, despite the fact that inheritance of property was banned for enslaved people.
- Mabel and Ajarry have left Cora a legacy of what they believe is important.
- To learn more about Whitehead’s decisions to make the Underground Railroad a literal one and to take creative license with historical events, check out his conversation with Terry Gross on Fresh Air (link in the Resources section).
- Activity in the Classroom Whitehead incorporated primary sources of actual runaway reward advertisements throughout the novel, including one for Cora as the novel’s final announcement on page 298 of the final chapter.
- In what ways do these commercials exhibit ingenuity and opposition to the establishment?
- Students may compose a brief answer that they may use as a starting point for small group conversations.
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7 Develop an understanding of and ability to integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in a variety of formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, and verbally) in order to answer a question or solve a problem.
The participation of white abolitionists in the historical underground railroad is frequently emphasized in discussions of the subject.
As one example, “all of the railroad workers, from Lumbly to Royal, answered with some form of ‘Who do you suppose made it?'” “Can you tell me who manufactures everything?'” (257).
” There are no national monuments dedicated to the enslavement of Africans in the United States at this time.
What is the most appropriate method to commemorate and remember the enslavement of African people?
Draw on examples from the text to support your thinking as you create an artistic representation that places Cora within that lineage, extending the timeline all the way to the present day.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.7 Research projects that are both short and long in duration are carried out to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; when necessary, inquiries are narrowed or broadened; and multiple sources on the subject are synthesized to demonstrate understanding of the subject under investigation.
One of the episodes should be chosen as a starting point for conducting critical analysis and presenting findings from research on one of the topics listed below, along with an explanation of how that topic relates to the novel’s themes.
forced sterilization, settler colonialism, lynching, African Americans and abolitionism, African American slave rebellions, sexual violence against African American women, reparations, literacy practices during and after enslavement, the role of white women in slavery, maroons and maronage, racial health disparities, and reparations.
- (Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Case for Reparations,” The Atlantic, November 2005.
- Social Theory, Sociology, “Settler Colonialism: An Introduction from the Perspective of Global Social Theory.” (E.
- The New York Times is a newspaper published in New York City.
- NPR’s “Fresh Air” program.
- Kathryn, “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” is a book about the Underground Railroad.
- Works of Spectacular Interest Podcast with a historically black cast.
- Ashley Bryan is a writer of children’s books.
Ava DuVernay’s Thirteenth (film) Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Alex Haley (film), Joel C.
Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a classic.
Promoting High Achievement Among African American Students, Young, Gifted, and Black (Young, Gifted, and Black), Theresa Perry is a woman who works in the fashion industry.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is located in Washington, DC.
Gregory Christie is a writer and poet from the United Kingdom.
Heather’s book, Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, is a must-read for anybody interested in African American history.
Author of Self-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom, Heather A.
Monroe Work is the website for the Lynching Project.
Previously, she served as president of the New England Association of Teachers of English and as the National Council of Teachers of English’s Secondary Representative at-Large for the secondary division.
A Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois at Champaign, Dr. Parker is an expert in the field of education. WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUThtml /
The Underground Railroad in Art and History: A Review of Colson Whitehead’s Novel
The Underground Railroad, a novel by Colson Whitehead that is both frighteningly clever and deceptively simple on the surface, is much more than a fictionalized recounting of historical truth. As with many creative works of art, even at its most fanciful, the book masterfully unearths the horrific reality at the core of racial slavery in a way that only a few historical works are capable of accomplishing. Author Alfred North Whitehead thanks the experts who helped him create this novel. These scholars include Edward Baptist, Fergus Bordewich, Eric Foner, Stephen Jay Gould and Nathan Huggins, who were all influenced by the novel’s subject matter of slavery, racism, and the Underground Railroad.
- Also evident from the work is that he is well-versed on the history of slavery, abolition, and other issues related to race, ethnicity, and gender.
- As a consequence, we get a beautiful and inventive work that is disturbing in its cold-blooded examination of that unfortunate narrative.
- The novel is not only an allegory for the Underground Railroad, but it is also a prolonged reflection on the history of race and slavery in the United States.
- Her mother, Mabel, is one of the few people who has managed to flee from servitude.
- It is only at the conclusion that we hear of Mabel’s harrowing demise.
- It is a mark of their fortitude and entrepreneurship that Ajarry and she leave Cora a vegetable patch as a testament to their love for her.
Cora’s own torment takes place on the plantation; she grows up as a motherless kid with no guardians, and the horror of her gang rape is summed in a single short sentence: “The Hob women stitched her up.” The Randall brothers, one sadistic and one indifferent, reign over plantations where every kind of brutality is exposed to the fullest extent possible.
- Phillips through Eugene Genovese’s version of the story.
- Cora must flee as a result of her act of rebellion.
- A physical train with unknown conductors and scattered branches that may or may not lead to freedom is used as a metaphor for the railroad, which is appropriate in its own right and goes to the heart of the historical truth in a fundamental sense.
- Running through each chapter are adverts for escaped slaves that are evocative of Theodore Weld’s famous abolitionist denunciation of slavery, American Slavery As It Is (1839).
- Whitehead’s physical underground train also serves to highlight the history of slavery through the tale of Cora’s escape, which is fairly remarkable in and of itself.
- As early as 1850, the enslaved Ajarry look to the “City of Pennsylvania,” where organized abolition took hold among Quakers and free blacks, as their only source of hope.
Inevitably, the insidious reality emerges: the greatest teachers and physicians in the state are passionate eugenicist and scientific racists, educated in the top universities and hospitals in the country and motivated by the prevention of the spread of a “inferior race.” As it turns out, this literary method properly portrays historical truth.
- Josiah Nott and J.D.B DeBow, South Carolina was also the site of Louis Agassiz’s collection of specimens and photographs of enslaved people in order to support his theory of polygenesis, or the multiple origins of man, which he developed on Carolinian plantations.
- It is via Whitehead’s narrative that we may perceive the motifs of fugitivity as well as the abolitionist underground.
- Another escape is reminiscent of Henry “Box” Brown, who achieved fame by parceling himself out of slavery.
- Martin, one of her friends, and his hesitant partner, his wife, who are exposed by their Irish maid, would suffer a similar fate to her.
- It appears that Cora is just a step ahead of, and at times even behind, slave hunters commanded by the persistent and cruel Irishman Ridgeway, whose assistant Homer is seen as an outcast of the African-American community.
- In Tennessee, she is rescued by a dashing free black abolitionist named Royal.
- Unlike other damsels in distress, Cora had slain a young white boy who attempted to seize her, which is a concern that recurs throughout the narrative, and she is determined to fight back against her enslavers and free herself.
- Many free and autonomous black settlements actually had their start in the old northwest, which was known for its harsh black laws and pro-slavery politics at the time of their founding.
- While Elijah Lander’s lecture at Valentine’s farm is an emotional high point, the film’s central figure, Frederick Douglass, represents not only the great black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, as many reviewers have speculated, but the entire interracial abolitionist movement.
Interracial activism characterizes the abolitionist movement; Lander, like David Walker, has published an Appeal; like William Lloyd Garrison, he has written “Declaration of the Rights of the American Negro,” run afoul of Maryland law, and been nearly lynched in the streets of Boston; and, like Frederick Douglass, with whom he shares the most similarities, he is an accomplished orator well-known on the abolitionist lecture circuit.
During his talk, a racist white mob destroys Valentine’s farm and burns it to the ground, killing Royal and Lander in the process.
A number of well-deserved accolades have been bestowed upon Whitehead’s work, including selection for Oprah’s Book Club and the 2016 National Book Award for fiction.
It does a better job of capturing the black experience of slavery and emancipation than other history texts. The New Yorker published an article by Kathryn Schulz titled “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” on November 27, 2016.
The Underground Railroad, a novel by Colson Whitehead that is both frighteningly clever and deceptively simple, is much more than a fictionalized retelling of actual events. As with many creative works of art, even at its most fanciful, the book masterfully unearths the horrifying reality at the core of racial slavery in a way that only a few historical works are capable of accomplishing. In his acknowledgements, Whitehead mentions the experts of slavery, racism, and the Underground Railroad on whose expertise he drew when writing this work, including Edward Baptist, Fergus Bordewich, Eric Foner, Stephen Jay Gould, and Nathan Huggins, among others.
Also evident from the work is that he is well-versed on the history of slavery, abolition, and other issues related to race, ethnicity, and enslavement.
As a consequence, we get a beautiful and inventive work that is disturbing in its cold-blooded examination of that tragic tale.
This novel begins not with Cora but with her African grandmother Ajarry, and in a few short sentences conveys the horror of the Middle Passage and the commodification of Africans through the Atlantic Slave Trade: “Chained from head to toe, head to head, in exponential misery” and “In America, the quirk was that people were things” and “Ajarry died in the cotton, the bolls bobbing around her like whitecaps on a brute ocean” Our protagonist Cora is descended from a long line of strong black women, as we learn early in the story.
Among those who have managed to escape enslavement is Mabel’s mother.
Mabel’s harrowing demise is revealed only at the conclusion of the novel.
It is a testament of their fortitude and entrepreneurship that Ajarry and she leave Cora a vegetable patch as a legacy.
It is the plantation that serves as Cora’s own hell; she grows up as a motherless kid with no guardians, and the horror of her group rape is summed in a single short sentence: “The Hob women stitched her up.” A sadistic brother and an indifferent brother govern over plantations, where every kind of brutality is exposed to the fullest extent possible.
- Phillips through Eugene Genovese’s historical narrative.
- It is necessary for Cora to flee as a result of her act of rebellion.
- A actual train with unknown conductors and scattered branches that may or may not lead to freedom is used as a metaphor for the railroad, which is appropriate in its own right and goes to the heart of the historical fact in a fundamental way.
- Runaway slave adverts, evocative of Theodore Weld’s famous abolitionist denunciation of slavery, American Slavery As It Is, introduce each chapter (1839).
- As Cora’s escape from slavery is told through Whitehead’s physical underground train, the history of slavery is brought to life in an astonishing way.
- As early as 1850, the enslaved Ajarry look to the “City of Pennsylvania,” where organized abolition took hold among Quakers and free blacks, as the only source of hope.
Inevitably, the insidious reality emerges: the greatest teachers and physicians in the state are fervent eugenicist and scientific racists, educated in the top institutions and hospitals in the country and dedicated to preventing the spread of a “inferior race.” As it turns out, this literary method properly evokes historical fact.
- Josiah Nott and J.D.B.
- In Whitehead’s fantastical depiction of the slave state of South Carolina, the common reader may learn from Cora about how the bogus science of race served as a handmaiden to racial slavery.
- Cora lives in the attic of her rescuer’s house in North Carolina, which is eerily similar to Harriet Jacobs’s description of years spent in her grandmother’s attic in her renowned female slave story, which is located in the same state as Cora.
- Although Cora watches minstrel shows that etch racism into the public American mind as well as the dangling bodies of arrested fugitives and those who help them, Jacobs observes her oblivious lord from her concealment.
When it comes to slavery, the novel depicts it as a state that is caught between slavery and freedom, with gradual compensation (to slaveholders), emancipation laws, and anti-black legislation that prohibits free blacks from entering its borders, all of which are reminiscent of British and northern emancipation A step ahead of, and at times even behind, a group of slave hunters lead by the persistent and vicious Irishman Ridgeway, whose servant Homer is portrayed as a black outcast.
- Ridgeway describes slavery in slaveholding America as a “human tax on development,” with “every name an asset, living capital, profit made flesh.” Rich and poor, local and immigrant, young and elderly, they are all in service to King Cotton.
- In Tennessee, she is rescued by Royal, a dashing free black abolitionist.
- Unlike other damsels in distress, Cora had slain a little white boy who attempted to catch her, which is a concern that recurs throughout the narrative, and she is determined to fight back against her enslavers.
- Many free and autonomous black settlements actually got their start in the old northwest, which was known for its harsh black laws and pro-slavery politics at the time of their formation.
- It has been believed by numerous commentators that the character of Elijah Lander, whose talk at Valentine’s farm is a high point, represents not just the renowned black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, but also the entire interracial abolitionist movement.
Interracial activism characterizes the abolitionist movement; Lander, like David Walker, has published an Appeal; like William Lloyd Garrison, he has written “Declaration of the Rights of the American Negro,” run afoul of Maryland law, and been nearly lynched on the streets of Boston; and, like Frederick Douglass, with whom he shares the most similarities, he is an accomplished orator well-known on the abolitionist lecture circuit.
In the middle of his lesson, a racist white mob destroys Valentine’s farm and burns it to the ground, killing both Royal and Lander in the process.
A number of well-deserved accolades have been bestowed upon Whitehead’s work, including selection for Oprah’s Book Club and the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction.
More accurately than other historical texts, it captures the African experience of slavery and emancipation. On November 27, 2016, Kathryn Schulz published “The Perilous Lure of the Underground Railroad” in The New Yorker.