The Underground Railroad was a network of people, African American as well as white, offering shelter and aid to escaped enslaved people from the South.
How did the Underground Railroad help slaves?
The Underground Railroad was a secret system developed to aid fugitive slaves on their escape to freedom. The free individuals who helped runaway slaves travel toward freedom were called conductors, and the fugitive slaves were referred to as cargo.
Was there an Underground Railroad during slavery?
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.
What was the Underground Railroad It helped 100000 slaves to escape?
Established in the early 1800s and aided by people involved in the Abolitionist Movement, the underground railroad helped thousands of slaves escape bondage. By one estimate, 100,000 slaves escaped from bondage in the South between 1810 and 1850.
What was the Underground Railroad and why was it created?
The Underground Railroad was established to aid enslaved people in their escape to freedom. The railroad was comprised of dozens of secret routes and safe houses originating in the slaveholding states and extending all the way to the Canadian border, the only area where fugitives could be assured of their freedom.
What role did the Underground Railroad play?
The Underground Railroad provided hiding places, food, and often transportation for the fugitives who were trying to escape slavery. Along the way, people also provided directions for the safest way to get further north on the dangerous journey to freedom.
How was the Underground Railroad successful?
The success of the Underground Railroad rested on the cooperation of former runaway slaves, free-born blacks, Native Americans, and white and black abolitionists who helped guide runaway slaves along the routes and provided their homes as safe havens.
Who built the Underground Railroad?
In the early 1800s, Quaker abolitionist Isaac T. Hopper set up a network in Philadelphia that helped enslaved people on the run.
How did the Underground Railroad affect the Civil War?
The Underground Railroad physically resisted the repressive laws that held slaves in bondage. By provoking fear and anger in the South, and prompting the enactment of harsh legislation that eroded the rights of white Americans, the Underground Railroad was a direct contributing cause of the Civil War.
How did Harriet Tubman find out about the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad and Siblings Tubman first encountered the Underground Railroad when she used it to escape slavery herself in 1849. Following a bout of illness and the death of her owner, Tubman decided to escape slavery in Maryland for Philadelphia.
Why did Harriet Tubman wear a bandana?
As was the custom on all plantations, when she turned eleven, she started wearing a bright cotton bandana around her head indicating she was no longer a child. She was also no longer known by her “basket name”, Araminta. Now she would be called Harriet, after her mother.
Does the Underground Railroad still exist?
It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman. Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.
Who helped 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.
Why was the Underground Railroad important to American history?
The underground railroad, where it existed, offered local service to runaway slaves, assisting them from one point to another. The primary importance of the underground railroad was that it gave ample evidence of African American capabilities and gave expression to African American philosophy.
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. 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 Underground Railroad
|The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals – many whites but predominently black – who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year – according to one estimate,the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850. An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a “society of Quakers, formed for such purposes.” The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed “The Underground Railroad,” after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called “stations” and “depots” and were run by “stationmasters,” those who contributed money or goods were “stockholders,” and the “conductor” was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next.For the slave, running away to the North was anything but easy. The first step was to escape from the slaveholder. For many slaves, this meant relying on his or her own resources. Sometimes a “conductor,” posing as a slave, would enter a plantation and then guide the runaways northward. The fugitives would move at night. They would generally travel between 10 and 20 miles to the next station, where they would rest and eat, hiding in barns and other out-of-the-way places. While they waited, a message would be sent to the next station to alert its stationmaster.The fugitives would also travel by train and boat – conveyances that sometimes had to be paid for. Money was also needed to improve the appearance of the runaways – a black man, woman, or child in tattered clothes would invariably attract suspicious eyes. This money was donated by individuals and also raised by various groups, including vigilance committees.Vigilance committees sprang up in the larger towns and cities of the North, most prominently in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. In addition to soliciting money, the organizations provided food, lodging and money, and helped the fugitives settle into a community by helping them find jobs and providing letters of recommendation.The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.|
What is the Underground Railroad? – Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)
Harvey Lindsley captured a shot of Harriet Tubman. THE CONGRESSIONAL LIBRARY
I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say—I neverran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.
When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we’re talking about the attempts of enslaved African Americans to obtain their freedom by escaping bondage. The Underground Railroad was a method of resisting slavery by escape and flight from 1850 until the end of the Civil War. Escape attempts were made in every location where slavery was practiced. In the beginning, to maroon villages in distant or rough terrain on the outside of inhabited regions, and later, across state and international borders.
- The majority of freedom seekers began their journey unaided and the majority of them completed their self-emancipation without assistance.
- It’s possible that the choice to aid a freedom seeking was taken on the spur of the moment.
- People of various ethnicities, social classes, and genders took part in this massive act of civil disobedience, despite the fact that what they were doing was unlawful.
- A map of the United States depicting the many paths that freedom seekers might follow in order to attain freedom.
- All thirteen original colonies, as well as Spanish California, Louisiana and Florida; Central and South America; and all of the Caribbean islands were slave states until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and British abolition of slavery brought an end to the practice in 1804.
- The Underground Railroad had its beginnings at the site of enslavement in the United States.
- The proximity to ports, free territories, and international borders caused a large number of escape attempts.
- Freedom seekers used their inventiveness to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and brains in the process.
- The assistance came from a varied range of groups, including enslaved and free blacks, American Indians, and people from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.
- Because of their links to the whaling business, the Pacific West Coast and potentially Alaska became popular tourist destinations.
During the American Civil War, many freedom seekers sought refuge and liberty by fleeing to the Union army’s lines of communication.
The Underground Railroad in Indiana
Mary Schons contributed to this article. The 20th of June, 2019 is a Thursday. For 30 years before to the American Civil War, enslaved African Americans utilized the Underground Railroad to gain their freedom, a network known as the Underground Railroad (1861-1865). The “railroad” employed a variety of routes to transport people from slave-supporting states in the South to “free” states in the North and Canada. Sometimes abolitionists, or persons who were opposed to slavery, were responsible for organizing routes for the Underground Railroad.
- There was a great deal of activity on the Underground Railroad in the states that bordered the Ohio River, which served as a boundary between slave and free states.
- Not everyone in Indiana supported the emancipation of enslaved people.
- Because Indiana was a part of the Underground Railroad, its narrative is the tale of all states that had a role in it.
- However, while some people did have secret chambers in their homes or carriages, the great bulk of the Underground Railroad consisted of individuals surreptitiously assisting slaves who were attempting to flee slavery in whatever manner they were able to.
- The persons that were enslaved were referred to as “passengers.” “Stations” were private residences or commercial establishments where passengers and conductors seeking freedom might take refuge.
- If a new owner supported slavery, or if the residence was revealed to be a station on the Underground Railroad, passengers and conductors were obliged to locate a new station or move on somewhere.
- Only a small number of people kept records of this hidden activity in order to protect homeowners and others seeking freedom who required assistance.
People who were found assisting those who had fled slavery faced arrest and imprisonment.
No one knows exactly how the Underground Railroad received its name, nor does anybody care.
Another version of the story assigns the name to a freedom-seeker who was apprehended in Washington, D.C., in the year 1839.
A third narrative connects the name to an enslaved man called Tice Davids, who made the decision to pursue his freedom in 1831, according to the legend.
Unfortunately, there was no boat available to take us over the river.
His enslaver returned to Kentucky without him, claiming that Davids had vanished while traveling on a “underground railroad.” To put it another way, the name “Underground Railroad” had been widely accepted by the mid-1840s.
According to Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance, slavery was prohibited north of the Ohio River; however, the rule did not apply to enslaved persons who were already residing in the region.
Slavery was a common feature of life in the Northwest Territories at the time.
Indiana was established as a territory in 1800, with future United States PresidentWilliam Henry Harrison serving as the area’s first territorial governor.
Harrison and his followers also believed that permitting slavery in Indiana would increase the state’s population.
Their petition was refused by Congress.
The “contract holder” has the authority to determine how long the victim must be held in slavery.
When Indiana became a state in 1816, its stateConstitutioncontained wording that was comparable to Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance—new enslaved persons were not permitted, but existing enslaved people were allowed to continue in their current state of enslavement.
The term “slave” was still used to describe some Hoosiers as late as the 1820 census.
(White people were exempt from this requirement.) Indiana’s 1851 Constitution prohibited blacks from voting, serving in the military, or testifying in any trial in which a white person was accused of a crime.
All three pathways eventually went to Michigan and subsequently to Canada, although they took different routes.
Lewis Harding said in a 1915 history of Decatur County, Indiana, that the county was a spot where three roads came together after crossing the Ohio River at separate points in the county.
assisted the escaped slaves in every way imaginable,” he adds, using the injunction as an example.
As Harding says, “the sympathies of the majority of the residents of this nation were with the escaped slave and his rescuer.” Historians now feel that the path to independence resembled a spider’s web rather than three independent pathways to freedom.
While traveling, they had to avoid organized networks of patrolmen who grabbed freedom-seekers and held them hostage for ransom money.
Known as the “President of the Underground Railroad,” Coffin is credited for bringing slavery to Indiana in 1826.
In his memoir, Reminiscences, Coffin tells the story of two girls who escaped Tennessee and sought refuge with their grandparents in the Indiana county of Randolph.
They were not, however, destined to live in safety.
When the alarm went off, it attracted the majority of the settlement’s black people together in a single location.
Unknown to them, an uncle of the two girls rode up on his horse at the same time the enslaver was being held at bay by the grandmother’scorn knife.
They were not given any authorization to enter the premises or search for items, according to him.” The uncle remained at the doorway for as long as he could to continue the dispute with the enslaver.
According to the account, the girls were disguised as guys and sneaked past the crowd to where two horses were waiting for them.
The girls were able to make it to Coffin’s residence without incident.
Eliza Harris’s Indefatigable Escape Indiana is the scene of one of the most famous slave escapes in history, which took place in the state of Indiana.
Harris made the snap decision to flee to Canada with her infant son in tow.
There were no bridges, and there was no way for a raft to get through the thick ice.
Moving from one ice floe to another while carrying her child, she eventually made it to the other end.
Eliza, in fact, is the name of the character who travels across the frigid Ohio.
In order to recover from their ordeal, Harris and her child traveled to Levi Coffin’s Fountain City residence.
In 1854, Levi and Catherine Coffin were on a visit to Canada with their daughter when a woman approached Catherine and introduced herself.
God’s blessings on you!” It was Eliza Harris, who had safely migrated to Chatham, Ontario, Canada, when the call came through.
Illustration provided courtesy of The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.
Examine the list of locations to determine if any are in your immediate vicinity.
But it was carried out according to a completely other set of rules.
Levi Coffin’s Reminiscences, published in 1880abet Help is a verb that refers to assisting in the commission of a crime.
abolitionist A person who is opposed to slavery as a noun.
authority Making choices is the responsibility of a nounperson or organization.
The payment of a fine or the performance of a contract under the terms of an agreement constitutes a bond, which is an unenforceable agreement.
cattle Andoxen are nouncows.
The American Civil War The American Civil War was fought between the Union (north) and the Confederacy between 1860 and 1865.
conductor A person who escorted slaves to safety and freedom on the Underground Railroad was known as a guide.
The House of Representatives and the Senate are the two chambers of the United States Congress.
convictVerb to find someone guilty of committing a criminal offense.
Municipality is a type of political entity that is smaller than a state or province, but often larger than a city, town, or other municipality.
defendantNounperson or organization who has been accused of committing a crime or engaging in other wrongdoing.
economy The production, distribution, and consumption of commodities and services are all referred to as a system.
enslave familiar with the verbto completely control Adjectivewell-known.
forbidVerb to forbid or prohibit something.
fugitive a noun or an adjective that has gotten away from the law or another limitation a system or order established by a country, a state, or any other political body; government Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American writer and abolitionist activist who lived from 1811 to 1896.
Nouna huge, flat sheet of ice that is floating on the surface of a body of water.
labor is a noun that refers to work or employment.
Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the adjective negronoun was frequently used to refer to people of African descent.
During the American Civil War, the North was comprised of states that backed the United States (Union).
A portion of the modern-day states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota belonged to the Northwest Territory at the time of its creation.
The Ohio River is the greatest tributary of the Mississippi River, with a length of 1,580 kilometers (981 miles).
passenger A runaway slave seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad is referred to as a noun.
Requests are made verbally, and are frequently accompanied by a document signed by the respondents.
prominentAdjectivethat is significant or stands out.
recover from an injury or strenuous activityVerb to recover from an injury or strenuous activity repeal a verb that means to overturn or reject something that was previously guaranteed rouse a verb that means to awaken or make active.
Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude).
South During the American Civil War, the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) was backed or sympathized with by a huge number of states.
Supreme CourtNounin the United States, the highest judicial authority on issues of national or constitutional significance.
terminology A noungroup of terms that are used in a specialized subject area.
Nounland that is protected from intruders by an animal, a human, or the government.
the southern hemisphere Geographic and political territory in the south-eastern and south-central sections of the United States that includes all of the states that sided with the Confederacy during the American Civil War.
unconstitutional Adjective that refers to a violation of the laws of the United States Constitution.
9th President of the United States of America, William Henry HarrisonNoun (1773-1841). (1841). word-of-mouth Informal communication, sometimes known as rumor or rumor mill. NounA formal order issued by a government or other authoritative body.
With the exception of promotional graphics, which normally link to another page that carries the media credit, all audio, artwork, photos, and videos are attributed beneath the media asset they are associated with. In the case of media, the Rights Holder is the individual or group that gets credited.
Mary Schons is a writer who lives in New York City.
Mary Schons is a writer who lives in the United States of America.
Mary Schons is a writer who lives in the United States.
- User Permissions are set to expire on June 20, 2019. Users’ permissions are detailed in our Terms of Service, which you can see by clicking here. Alternatively, if you have any issues regarding how to reference something from our website in your project or classroom presentation, please speak with your instructor. They will be the most knowledgeable about the selected format. When you contact them, you will need to provide them with the page title, URL, and the date on which you visited the item.
If a media asset is available for download, a download button will show in the lower right corner of the media viewer window. If no download or save button displays, you will be unable to download or save the material.
It is possible to download media assets from the media viewer by clicking on the download button located in the upper right corner. The media cannot be downloaded or saved if there is no button visible.
- Any interactives on this page can only be accessed and used while you are currently browsing our site. You will not be able to download interactives.
Eastern Illinois University : Teaching with Primary Sources
You may only participate in any interactives on this page if you are currently on our website. Interactives are not available for download.
A Dangerous Path to Freedom
You may only participate in any interactives on this page if you are now viewing our website. You are unable to download interactives.
Any interactives on this page can only be accessed and used while you are currently browsing our website. You will be unable to download interactives.
Efforts of Abolitionists Telling Their Story:Fugitive Slave Narratives
Henry Bibb was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner. After several failed efforts to emancipate himself from slavery, he maintained the strength and persistence to continue his struggle for freedom despite being captured and imprisoned numerous times. His determination paid off when he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then on to Canada with the assistance of the Underground Railroad, which had been highly anticipated. The following is an excerpt from his tale, in which he detailed one of his numerous escapes and the difficulties he faced as a result of his efforts.
- I began making preparations for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the shackles that tied me as a slave as soon as the clock struck twelve.
- On the twenty-fifth of December, 1837, the long-awaited day had finally arrived when I would put into effect my previous determination, which was to flee for Liberty or accept death as a slave, as I had previously stated.
- It took every ounce of moral strength I have to keep my emotions under control as I said goodbye to my small family.
- Despite the fact that every incentive was extended to me in order to flee if I want to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free, oh, man!
- I was up against a slew of hurdles that had gathered around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded soul, which was still imprisoned in the dark prison of mental degeneration.
- Furthermore, the danger of being killed or arrested and deported to the far South, where I would be forced to spend the rest of my days in hopeless bondage on a cotton or sugar plantation, all conspired to discourage me.
- The moment has come for me to follow through on my commitment.
- This marked the beginning of the construction of what was known as the underground rail route to Canada.
For nearly forty-eight hours, I pushed myself to complete my journey without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: “not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not a single house in which I could enter to protect me from the storm.” This is merely one of several accounts penned by runaway slaves who were on the run from their masters.
Sojourner Truth was another former slave who became well-known for her work to bring slavery to an end.
Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal experiences.
Perhaps a large number of escaped slaves opted to write down their experiences in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or perhaps they did so in order to help folks learn from the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future for themselves.
He was born into slavery in Kentucky in the year 1815, and he was the son of a slave owner named Henry Bibb. After several failed efforts to emancipate himself from slavery, he maintained the strength and persistence to continue his struggle for freedom despite being captured and imprisoned multiple times. It was only through his determination that he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then to Canada with the help of the Underground Railroad, a feat that had been highly anticipated.
- For my own personal liberty, I made a decision somewhere during the autumn or winter of 1837 that I would try to flee to Canada if at all feasible.” Immediately after, I began preparing for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the chains that kept me a prisoner in my own home.
- I also purchased a suit that I had never worn or been seen in before, in order to escape discovery.
- It was the twenty-fifth of December, 1837.
- My moral bravery was tested to the limit when I left my small family and tried to keep my emotions under wraps at all times.
- No matter how many opportunities were presented to me to flee if I wanted to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free!
- A thousand barriers had formed around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded spirit, which was still imprisoned in the dark dungeon of mental degradation.
- It was difficult to break free from my deep bonds to friends and relatives, as well as the love of home and birthplace that is so natural among the human family, which were entwined around my heart and made it difficult to go forward.
- But I’d calculated the cost and was completely prepared to make the sacrifice before I started the process.
If I don’t want to be a slave, I’ll have to abandon friends and neighbors, along with my wife and child.” I was given something to eat by these gracious folks, who then set me on my way to Canada on the advise of a buddy who had met me along the road.” This marked the beginning of the construction of what was referred to be the underground rail track from the United States to the Canadian continent.
In the morning, I walked with bold courage, trusting in the arm of Omnipotence; by night, I was guided by the unchangeable North Star, and inspired by the elevated thought that I was fleeing from a land of slavery and oppression, waving goodbye to handcuffs, whips, thumb-screws, and chains, and that I was on my way to freedom.
I continued my journey vigorously for nearly forty-eight hours without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, being pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not being able to find a house in which to take shelter from the storm.” Among the countless accounts recorded by escaped slaves is this one, which is only one example.
Sojourner Truth, a former slave who became well-known for her efforts to bring slavery to an end, was another person who came from a slave background.
Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal journeys.
The writing down of one’s experiences by so many escaped slaves may have been done in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or it may have been done in order to help individuals learn from their mistakes in the aim of building a brighter future.
In the year 1815, Henry Bibb was born into slavery in the state of Kentucky. Despite several failed attempts to elude enslavement, he had the strength and fortitude to continue his battle for freedom despite being captured and imprisoned numerous times. His determination paid off when he was able to successfully escape to the northern states and then on to Canada with the assistance of the Underground Railroad. In the next section, he discusses one of his many escape attempts, as well as the difficulties he encountered along the way.
I began making preparations for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the shackles that held me captive as a slave at that hour.
I also purchased a suit that I had never been seen or known to wear before, in order to escape discovery.
I took action in response to the former, despite the fact that it was one of the most self-defying acts of my entire life, in order to bid farewell to an affectionate wife, who stood before me on my departure, holding dear little Frances in her arms and tears in her eyes as she bid me a long farewell.
- If Matilda had known what I was doing at the time, it would not have been feasible for me to escape, and I could still be a slave today.
- be free!’ I didn’t give in, and I was able to escape.
- My deep bonds to friends and relatives, as well as all of the affection for one’s home and birthplace that is so natural within the human family, entwined themselves around my heart and were difficult to disentangle.
- But I’d calculated the cost and was well prepared to make the sacrifice before proceeding.
- I must either abandon friends and neighbors, as well as my wife and kid, or accept to living and dying as a slave.” I was given something to eat by these gracious folks, who then set me on my way to Canada on the advise of a buddy who was also on my journey.
- I proceeded with courageous confidence, believing in the arm of Omnipotence; directed by the immovable North Star by night; and inspired by the high notion that I was fleeing from a place of servitude and persecution, saying farewell to handcuffs, whips, thumb-screws, and shackles.
I pursued my journey vigorously for nearly forty-eight hours without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, being pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not being able to find a house in which to take shelter from the storm.” This is merely one of several accounts written by runaway slaves who were on the run.
Sojourner Truth was another former slave who became well-known for her work to bring slavery to an end.
Green, and a slew of other celebrities, authored memoirs on their lives.
Perhaps a large number of escaped slaves opted to write down their experiences in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or perhaps they did so in order to help folks learn from the mistakes of the past in order to create a more prosperous future for themselves.
Underground Railroad “Stations” Develop in Iowa
Iowa shares a southern border with Missouri, which was a slave state during the American Civil War. The abolitionist movement (those who desired to abolish slavery) built a system of “stations” in the 1840s and 1850s that could transport runaways from the Mississippi River to Illinois on their route to freedom. Activists from two religious movements, the Congregationalists and the Quakers, played crucial roles in the abolitionist movement. They were also involved in the Underground Railroad’s operations in the state of New York.
- According to one source, there are more than 100 Iowans who are participating in the endeavor.
- The Hitchcock House, located in Cass County near Lewis, is another well-known destination on the Underground Railroad in one form or another.
- George Hitchcock escorted “passengers” to the next destination on his route.
- Several of these locations are now public museums that are available to the general public.
- Individual families also reacted when they were approached for assistance.
- When the Civil War broke out and the Fugitive Slave Law could no longer be enforced in the northern states, a large number of slaves fled into the state and eventually settled there permanently.
- It was determined that segregated schools and discrimination in public accommodations were both unconstitutional in Iowa by the Supreme Court.
Iowa: A Free State Willing to Let Slavery Exist
Slavery has been a contentious topic in the United States since its inception, and it continues to be so today. As new states entered the Union, the early fights did not revolve over slavery in the South but rather its expansion. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 created an east-west line along the southern boundary of Missouri, which would remain in place for the rest of time, separating free and slave settlement. States to the south may legalize slavery, whilst states to the north (with the exception of slave state Missouri) were prohibited from doing so.
The majority of Iowans were ready to allow slavery to continue in the South.
They enacted legislation in an attempt to deter black people from settling in the state.
Iowa did have a tiny community of abolitionists who believed that slavery was a moral wrong that should be abolished everywhere.
This increased the likelihood that Nebraska, which borders Iowa on its western border, would become a slave state. The majority of Iowans were opposed to the idea. The Republican Party has evolved as a staunch opponent of any future expansion of slavery into western areas in the United States.
- Slavery has been a source of contention in the United States since its founding. As new states entered the Union, the early fights did not revolve over slavery in the South but rather its spread. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 created an east-west line along the southern border of Missouri, dividing the state’s free and slave settlements for the rest of time. Southern states could legalize slavery, whereas northern states (apart from Missouri, which was a slave state at the time) could not. Iowa would be a free state, as the settlers anticipated. Despite the fact that slavery continued to exist in the South, the majority of Iowans were not against it. They held the belief in the supremacy of the white race, as did the majority of white Americans at the time, and were opposed to allowing African Americans equal rights and opportunity. They enacted legislation in an attempt to deter black people from settling in the state, which failed. Most importantly, they wished to find compromises that would allow the Union to remain together on a national level, An abolitionist movement existed in Iowa, but it was a tiny group of people who wished to see slavery abolished worldwide as a moral wrong. Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 granted the right to settler communities in new territories to determine whether or not to legalize slavery in their territories. Iowa’s western border state of Nebraska might potentially become a slave state as a result of this decision. The vast majority of Iowans were opposed to the idea of a nuclear power plant in their state. A significant opposition to any further expansion of slavery into western lands has evolved among members of the Republican Party.
How did runaway slaves rely on the help of abolitionists to escape to freedom?
- Article from the Anti-Slavery Bugle titled “William and Ellen Craft,” published on February 23, 1849 (Document)
- Anti-Slavery Bugle Article titled “Underground Railroad,” published on September 16, 1854 (Document)
- “A Presbyterian Clergyman Suspended for Being Connected with the Underground Railroad” Article published on November 8, 1855 (Document)
- William Maxson Home in West Liberty, Iowa, circa 1890 (Image)
How did some runaway slaves create their own opportunities to escape?
- A newspaper article entitled “The ‘Running of Slaves’ – The Extraordinary Escape of Henry Box Brown” published on June 23, 1849 (Document)
- The Henry “Box” Brown Song and the Engraved Box, published in 1850 (Image, Document)
- “The Resurrection of Henry ‘Box’ Brown at Philadelphia” illustration published in 1850 (Image)
- Robert Smalls: “The Steamer ‘Planter’ and Her Captor,” published on June 14, 1862 (Do
$200 Reward: Poster for the Return of Formerly-Enslaved People, October 1, 1847
“The ‘Running of Slaves’ – The Extraordinary Escape of Henry Box Brown” Article, June 23, 1849 (Document); “The Resurrection of Henry ‘Box’ Brown at Philadelphia” Illustration, 1850 (Image); Robert Smalls: “The Steamer ‘Planter’ and Her Captor,” June 14, 1862 (Document); “A Bold Strike for Freedom” Illustration, 1872 (Image); “The Resurrection of Henry ‘Box’ Brown
“Effects of the Fugitive-Slave-Law” Illustration, 1850
Written in strong opposition to the Runaway Slave Act, which was approved by Congress in September 1850 and expanded federal and free-state duty for the return of fugitive slaves, this letter is full of anger. The bill called for the appointment of federal commissioners who would have the authority to enact regulations. More information may be found here.
Fugitive Slave Law, 1850
As a result of the Fleeing Slave Law of 1850, it became unlawful for anybody in the northern United States to aid fugitive slaves in their quest for freedom. This statute supplemented the 1793 Fugitive Slave Act with additional clauses addressing runaways, and it imposed even harsher sanctions for interfering with their escape. More information may be found here.
Anti-Slavery Bugle Article – “William and Ellen Craft,” February 23, 1849
In this article from the abolitionist journal, The Anti-Slavery Bugle, the narrative of Ellen and William Craft’s emancipation from slavery is described in detail. Ellen disguised herself as a male in order to pass as the master, while her husband, William, claimed to be her servant as they made their way out of the building. More information may be found here.
Anti-Slavery Bugle Article – “Underground Railroad,” September 16, 1854
The Anti-Slavery Bugle article indicates the number of runaway slaves in northern cities in 1854, based on a survey conducted by the organization. This group contained nine slaves from Boone County, Kentucky, who were seeking refuge in the United States. Their captors were said to be on the lookout for them in Cincinnati, and they were found. More information may be found here.
“A Presbyterian Clergyman Suspended for Being Connected with the Underground Railroad” Article, November 8, 1855
During the year 1854, the Anti-Slavery Bugle published a report on the number of runaway slaves who had taken refuge in northern towns. This group included nine slaves from Boone County, Kentucky, who were seeking refuge in the United States from slavery. When they were mentioned as being in Cincinnati, they were found by their masters. More information may be found at.
William Maxson Home in West Liberty, Iowa, 1890
In the mid-nineteenth century, the William Maxson residence in Springdale, Iowa, served as an Underground Railroad site for African-Americans. The house served as a training ground for abolitionist John Brown and his men before the attack on Harpers Ferry. The home has since been demolished, although it was in the vicinity of Springdale, which was. More information may be found here.
“Fugitive Slave Case Was Tried” – A Daily Gate City Article, April 13, 1915
It was in the mid-nineteenth century that the William Maxson residence in Springdale, Iowa, served as an Underground Railroad stop. During the invasion on Harpers Ferry, abolitionist John Brown trained with his men in the house where he was born. This particular home, albeit it is no longer standing, stood near Springdale, where it had stood. More information may be found at.
“The ‘Running of Slaves’ – The Extraordinary Escape of Henry ‘Box’ Brown” Article, June 23, 1849
The escape of Henry “Box” Brown from Northumberland County (Pennsylvania) in 1849 was the subject of a story published in The Sunbury American newspaper in Northumberland County.
Brown transported himself in a wooden container from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was received by a group of abolitionists. More information may be found here.
Henry “Box” Brown Song and the Engraved Box, 1850
Image of the engraving on the box that Henry “Box” Brown built and used to send himself to freedom in Virginia. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. There is a label on the box that says “Right side up with care.” During his first appearance out of the box in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the attached song, Henry “Box” Brown sang a song that is included here. More information may be found here.
“The Resurrection of Henry ‘Box’ Brown at Philadelphia” Illustration, 1850
Henry “Box” Brown, a slave who escaped from Richmond, Virginia, in a box measuring three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two and a half feet broad, is depicted in a somewhat comical but sympathetic manner in this artwork. In the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society’s administrative offices. More information may be found here.
Robert Smalls: “The Steamer ‘Planter’ and Her Captor,” June 14, 1862
The escape of Robert Smalls and other members of his family and friends from slavery was chronicled in detail in an article published in Harper’s Weekly. Smalls was an enslaved African American who acquired freedom during and after the American Civil War and went on to work as a ship’s pilot on the high seas. More information may be found here.
“A Bold Stroke for Freedom” Illustration, 1872
The image from 1872 depicts African Americans, most likely fleeing slaves, standing in front of a wagon and brandishing firearms towards slave-catchers. A group of young enslaved persons who had escaped from Loudon by wagon are said to be shown in the cartoon on Christmas Eve in 1855, when patrollers caught up with them. More information may be found here.
- Harriet Tubman Day is observed annually on March 31. The statement issued by the State of Delaware on the observance of Harriet Ross Tubman Day on March 10, 2017 may be seen on the website. Governor John Carney and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long both signed the statement. Harriet Tubman – A Guide to Online Resources A wide range of material linked with Harriet Tubman may be found in these digital collections from the Library of Congress, which include manuscripts, pictures, and publications. It is the goal of this guide to consolidate connections to digital materials about Harriet Tubman that are available throughout the Library of Congress website. Scenes from Harriet Tubman’s Life and Times The website, which is accessible through the Digital Public Library of America, contains portions from the novel Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, written by Sarah Bradford in 1869 and published by the American Library Association.
Maryland’s Pathways to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in the State of Maryland On this page, you can find primary materials pertaining to Maryland and the Underground Railroad. This includes information from three former slaves, Samuel Green, Phoebe Myers, and their descendants today. “The Underground Railroad: A Secret History” by Eric Foner is a book on the history of the Underground Railroad. Among the topics covered in this piece from The Atlantic is the Underground Railroad’s “secret history,” which includes the reality that the network was not nearly as covert as many people believed.
Iowa Core Social Studies Standards (8th Grade)
The Iowa Core Social Studies content anchor standards that are most accurately reflected in this source set are listed below. The content standards applied to this set are middle school-age level and comprise the core subjects that make up social studies for eighth grade students.
- In this section, you will find the Iowa Core Social Studies content anchor standards that are most accurately represented in this source set. The content standards applied to this set are middle school-age level and comprise the core subjects that make up social studies for eighth grade students.