The Underground Railroad was the network used by enslaved black Americans to obtain their freedom in the 30 years before the Civil War (1860-1865). The “railroad” used many routes from states in the South, which supported slavery, to “free” states in the North and Canada.
What were the stations on the Underground Railroad?
- William Jackson’s house in Newton, Massachusetts, was a “station” on the Underground Railroad. The Jacksons were abolitionists, people who worked to end slavery.
What is the freedom trail for slaves?
Enshrined in the legends and history of America’s abolitionist movement as ” the Underground Railroad,” it was a clandestine network of escape routes and hiding places maintained by slavery-hating whites and used by slaves fleeing the South for the North in the decades leading up to the Civil War.
Where is the Freedom Trail in the Underground Railroad?
The purpose of the Underground Railroad Freedom Trail is to continue the over 200 mile Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway through southern Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania to Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
Where did the Underground Railroad run from?
These were called “stations,” “safe houses,” and “depots.” The people operating them were called “stationmasters.” There were many well-used routes stretching west through Ohio to Indiana and Iowa. Others headed north through Pennsylvania and into New England or through Detroit on their way to Canada.
Did the Underground Railroad go through Delaware?
A clandestine operation that began during the colonial period became part of organized abolitionist activity in the 19th century, reaching its peak between 1830-1865 – with eastern passage going through Delaware, on the road to freedom in Pennsylvania.
Did Freedom Trail exist?
Although there are no historic traces of the Freedmen’s Colony along the trail, the wide and easy path weaves through maritime evergreen forest en route to the sea and ends at a lovely beach on the banks of Croatan Sound. About 150 yards from the road, the trail bears sharply right, following an old track southeast.
What was the Freedom Road?
Freedom Roads is a statewide trail system designed to recognize the roads, rivers and ports in North Carolina that were crucial to the efforts of enslaved African Americans seeking freedom, and to those groups and individuals who supported and assisted their efforts.
Where in NC was the Freedom Trail located?
Freedom Trail is a 2.4 mile out and back trail located near Manteo, North Carolina that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking. This trail system connects with both the Croatan Sound and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.
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.
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.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
Where is Harriet Tubman birthplace?
The Return. Shortly after returning to the farm, Tubman set out on her own, guided through the night by the North Star and well-worn paths of the Underground Railroad up into Pennsylvania, where slavery was illegal.
What did Harriet Tubman do in Delaware?
The 2019 movie “Harriet” chronicles the story of Harriet Tubman (portrayed by Tony- and Grammy-winner Cynthia Eviro) and African-American abolitionist William Still (Leslie Odom Jr., “Hamilton”), as they collaborated with Delaware’s Thomas Garrett to aid escaping slaves on a Underground Railroad network that ran right
Five Rail-Trails Along the Underground Railroad
These rail-trails throughout the route are giving linkages to some of the most iconic and historic locations associated with the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (UGRR), which stretches more than 2,007 miles between Alabama and Canada, commemorates the network that assisted slaves in their escape to freedom before and during the American Civil War.
A Historic Route
The first section of the route, which was developed in collaboration with the Center for Minority Health (now the Center for Health Equity) at the University of Pittsburgh and multiple advisory teams comprised of historians, preservationists, and researchers, was inspired by a song that slaves sang to communicate from plantation to plantation, titled “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” which refers to following the North Star and waterways to the Ohio River.
On an annual youth trip of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, Adventure Cycling volunteer and Ohio resident Chuck Harmon is joined by a student rider from Bronx Lab School.
This stretch of the trail, which includes several of the rail-trails described in this article and was built with the assistance of Chuck Harmon, a committed volunteer and citizen of Ohio.
Ginny Sullivan, director of travel projects at Adventure Cycling, described the region as “very rich in historical significance.” “Only a small number of freedom searchers made it from the south to the north.
This includes two such individuals in Ripley, Ohio, which is located immediately across the border from Kentucky: John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister who would light a candle (some say a pole with a lamp) to signal to freedom seekers that it was safe to cross the Ohio River, and who was later the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and John Parker, a foundryman and former slave who made the perilous crossing into Kentucky to assist in the emancipation of hundreds of people.
Because fugitive slaves might be returned by slave owners under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, genuine freedom meant abandoning the United States entirely—and the Underground Railroad had safe homes dotting the terrain all the way into Canada as part of its network of safe houses.
These rail-trails may be found all along this route.
Rail-Trails Along the UGRR
“> Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio | Photo courtesy of Jamie Holly| CC bySA-2.0 “> Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio Part of the U.S. Great Rivers Railroad (UGRR) is comprised of fifty miles of the 78.1-mile Little Miami Magnificent Trail, which runs from Milford north to Xenia, Ohio and provides a scenic ride through rural river vistas and small communities. Jamie Holly| CC bySA-2.0 The path connects to a number of networks, including a 340-mile off-road system that runs through the Miami Valley and the Ohio to Erie Trail, which is now being constructed and will stretch from Cincinnati to Cleveland for 272-miles.
Over 4,000 persons are believed to have fled here in the course of their journey to freedom, and the Springboro Part Historical Society has identified 27 Underground Railroad stations (in and around the city), which is believed to be the most in any other area of the state.
Trail users can now stay at one of these posts, which was once Wright’s house and is now known as the Wright House Bed and Breakfast.
2 Western Reserve Greenway (Ohio)
“> Hubbard House, located along the Western Reserve Greenway in Ohio | Photo courtesy of Smallcurio| CC by2.0 “> Hubbard House, located along the Western Reserve Greenway in Ohio With a route that stretches 43 miles from Warren to Ashtabula, the Western Reserve Greenway—of which 14.5 miles are a section of the Underground Railroad (from Rock Creek to Ashtabula)—features a dozen Underground Railroad interpretive markers along the 27 miles of its route that runs through Ashtabula County. (Note to bicyclists: pay attention!
It is now a museum dedicated to the Underground Railroad network in the surrounding region, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
3 Prairie Grass Trail/Ohio to Erie Trail (Ohio)
As part of the longer 326-mile Ohio to Erie Trail that connects Cleveland and Cincinnati, the picturesque 29-mile Prairie Grass Trail passes through a number of localities that played a role in the Underground Railroad between Xenia and London. The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, which is located just north of Xenia in Wilberforce, is a must-see stop on the tour itinerary. The museum’s mission is to disseminate information about African-American history, art, and culture. Wilberforce is also the location of two historically black colleges and universities: Wilberforce and Central State University of Louisiana.
4 Niagara River Recreation Trail (Canada)
National Park Service| CC by2.0 “> A photograph of Harriet Tubman, a former slave who rose to prominence as an abolitionist and one of the most prominent conductors of the Underground Railroad | Photo courtesy of the National Park Service National Park Service| Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution The Underground Railroad has a long and illustrious history in Canada, as evidenced by the 31 miles (53 kilometers) of the Niagara River Recreation Trail that follows the route of the Underground Railroad.
Legend has it that the owners of Murphy Orchards were Underground Railroad station masters during the Civil War.
The establishment of a historical center (placed in the former 1863 United States Custom House at the Amtrak Station) in May 2018 will honor the bravery of freedom seekers, free African Americans, and abolitionists “who sacrificed their own lives to obtain the most fundamental rights of liberty” (Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area website).
In St. Catharines, Ontario, a plaque recognizes Harriet Tubman, possibly the most renowned Underground Railroad conductor of all time, who stayed in the region for over a decade and is a little detour off the trail.
5 Georgian Trail (Canada)
It is possible to travel along the UGRR for nine miles of the Georgian Trail, which runs between Collingwood and Meaford in Ontario, Canada. The Georgian Trail is a 21-mile-long (34-kilometer) path connecting the towns of Collingwood and Meaford. A perk for trail users who want a little downtime is that the Georgian Trail begins at picturesque Harbourview Park, which features an arboretum, fishing area, and pergola. It then winds its way through other parks, golf courses, and services that make for a pleasurable day.
Photo courtesy of Adventure Cycling Association, taken by J.
You’ll eventually detour off the route and onto an on-road section that will take you to Owen Sound, which was historically known as the final station on the Underground Railroad.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Underground Railroad, check out these resource listings provided by the Adventure Cycling Association.
Underground Railroad Experience Trail
The simulated trail was established as part of the Ashton/Sandy Spring Master Plan in 1998, and it did not exist prior to that year. To offer more pedestrian routes in the neighborhood, maintain the rural scenery, and memorialize a portion of Sandy Spring’s and Montgomery County’s history, Montgomery Parks developed this trail in partnership with the Sandy Spring Historical Society. There is no historical proof that the proprietors of Woodlawn Manor or the structures on the grounds were involved in the Underground Railroad movement.
It is a part of the Rachel Carson Greenway and the National Park Service’s National Underground RailroadNetwork to Freedom(opens in a new tab)program, both of which are located in the same location.
The Ashton/Sandy Spring Master Plan was completed in 1998.
What was the Underground Railroad?
Slavery was allowed in America until the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1865, making it unconstitutional. The name “Underground Railroad” refers to a loose covert network of individuals and places that operated in the nineteenth century and assisted enslaved people seeking freedom in northern free states, Canada, and other locations. The network was never actually subterranean, nor was it a railroad in the traditional sense. There are no train tracks or tunnels to explore at this location.
The path and safe homes chosen by the freedom seeker were determined by his or her unique circumstances, starting point, and final goal.
There were numerous persons, places, routes, and modes of transportation involved in this civil disobedience action that took place on both land and sea. Despite the fact that it was risky for everyone involved, it is an essential aspect of American and Montgomery County history.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
The park grounds and path are available year-round, from sunrise to dark, and are completely free.
- Covid-19: All trail users are advised to adhere to safety recommendations, which include the use of face coverings, social separation, hand washing, and refraining from assembling in large groups that exceed existing restrictions. Trail maps are available for purchase on site, or you may download one from this page. Approximately 4.0 miles round-trip, the natural surface route meanders through fields and woodlands
- Nevertheless, the track is not ADA accessible and is not suited for all strollers. Bicycles are not permitted on the premises. Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. It is advised that you wear comfortable hiking shoes, dress appropriately for the weather, and use sunscreen and bug repellent. Tick season is here, and there is free parking nearby. During weekends with high visitor traffic, parking may be limited. To make arrangements for a visit to Woodlawn, groups of 35 or more should call or email the Woodlawn Reservations Office at 301-929-5989 (Press 5) or [email protected] at least 5 business days ahead to their visit. Additionally, online educational tools are now accessible to supplement a self-guided visit to the museum.
Trail users are asked to adhere to safety measures, such as the wearing of face coverings, social separation, and hand washing. They should also avoid groups that exceed existing restrictions. Maps of the trails are available on site, or you may download one from this page. Approximately 4.0 miles round-trip, the natural surface route meanders through fields and woodlands; nevertheless, the trail is not ADA accessible and is not recommended for all strollers. The use of bicycles is prohibited.
Season for Ticks has arrived, and there is plenty of free parking nearby.
To make arrangements for a visit to Woodlawn, groups of 35 or more should call or email the Woodlawn Reservations Office at 301-929-5989 (Press 5) or [email protected] at least 5 business days before their visit.
To photograph or film on the path or park grounds, a permit must be obtained in advance from the National Park Service. [email protected]
Places of the Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)
A map of the United States depicting the many paths that freedom seekers might follow in order to attain freedom. NPS provided the image. When enslaved African Americans attempted to obtain their escape via the use of an underground railroad network of routes, safehouses, and resources distributed across the country, they were referred to as “fugitives from justice.” This attempt was frequently spontaneous, with enslaved persons setting off on their quest to liberation on their own initiative.
During the 1820s and 1830s, the United States experienced a surge in the number of people who sought independence from oppression.
In certain instances, the choice to aid a freedom seeking may have been a result of a spur of the moment decision.
Origins of the Underground Railroad
Enslaved people have long sought liberation, dating back to the earliest days of the institution of slavery. Colonial North America – which included Canada and the northern states of the United States – was heavily involved in the slave trade during the nineteenth century. Newly enslaved Africans frequently fled in groups with the intention of establishing new communities in isolated locations. Slavery was particularly widespread in the northern states, making escape extremely difficult. Before the mid-nineteenth century, Spanish Florida and Mexico were the most popular escape destinations for those fleeing bondage.
- The Clemens’ residence is owned by James and Sarah Clemens.
- Following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 by Congress, Canada became a shelter for many people who were hoping to gain their freedom.
- Those living in free Black communities in the North were devastated by this.
- However, as a result of these seizures and kidnappings, a large number of individuals were persuaded to provide assistance as part of the Underground Railroad.
- Formerly enslaved men and women also played an important part in assisting freedom seekers, such as the Clemens family, in their quest for freedom.
- In addition to establishing a school and a cemetery, they served as a station on the Underground Railroad from their residence.
Several freedom seekers made their way to Greenville as their last destination. Bethel AME Church is a congregation of African-Americans. Photo by Smallbones, used under a Creative Commons license.
The Role of Women in the Underground Railroad
A large number of women were involved in the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman was one of the most well-known Underground Railroad conductors, having undertaken more than a dozen excursions into slave-holding states to assist oppressed persons in their journey to freedom. Despite the fact that Tubman had several hiding places, oral histories indicate that she regularly stopped at the Bethel AME Church in Greenwich Township, New Jersey, to rest. Freedom seekers traveling north from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Delaware were accommodated in the church, which was located in the center of the Black village of Springtown.
- One of her most well-known routes was through Delaware, which led north.
- CC BY-SA 4.0 license, photo by Historic Newton.
- Mary Jackson and her family, who lived in Massachusetts at the time, donated their farm as a safe haven for anyone fleeing slavery through the Underground Railroad.
- Ellen was instrumental in the establishment of the Freedman’s Aid Society in Newton in 1865.
- Photo by Jim Roberts, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
- Due to the fact that the Underground Railroad was made up of a loose network of persons – both enslaved and free – there is little evidence on how it functioned and who was involved.
- When she blogged about her experiences hosting freedom seekers at their home, she received a lot of positive feedback.
- Nathan Thomas House in Schoolcraft, Michigan.
Legacy of the Underground Railroad
Locations related with the Underground Railroad may be found all throughout the United States, and a number of national preservation projects are devoted to recording these historical places of significance. In the case of the National Park Service’sNetwork to Freedomprogram, for example, the program includes locations that may be proven to have a link to the Underground Railroad. By working in conjunction with government agencies, people, and organizations to recognize, preserve, and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, the Network to Freedom hopes to bring attention to this important part of human history.
- The Barney L.
- The public domain is a term used to describe a piece of property that is owned by the public.
- Identification, evaluation, and protection of America’s historic and archeological resources are the goals of this National Park Service initiative, which brings together public and private efforts.
- This is true of places such as theBarney L.
- With the help of the Underground Railroad, Barney was able to escape from his bondage.
- Barney finally settled in Denver, where he made a name for himself as a successful businessman.
- Barney was also an outspoken fighter for African-American civil rights, and he played a crucial part in Colorado’s admittance to the Union as a free state.
- Ford Building contribute to the telling of the tale of the Underground Railroad and its participants – both free and enslaved – in the United States.
Members of the public can assist in the recognition and preservation of locations, structures, and landscapes linked with the Underground Railroad by nominating them to the Network to Freedom or to the National Register of Historic Places.
A Hike Through History: Following the Path of the Underground Railroad
Beky Branagan is shown in the first row, second from the left. Kelly Thomas, Melody Graves, and Brittany Leavitt star in this film. Valarie Morrow, Cliff Sorell, and Christopher Robinson are shown in the back row. In October 2016, a group of seven African-American outdoor enthusiasts set off on a four-day hiking expedition along the Appalachian Trail in the United States (A.T.). Brittany Leavitt, a leader of Outdoor Afro, one of the nation’s first black-led conservation groups, was the driving force behind the group’s formation.
It took the party more than 40 miles across the Blue Ridge Mountains in an attempt to recreate the historical route of the Underground Railroad, which they believe was followed by Harriet Tubman.
From the Mason-Dixon Line, which divides Maryland and Pennsylvania and serves as the most conventional border between the northern and southern United States, the party set off on their journey on October 6.
Despite the severe downpour, Brittany said the climb was “wonderful, really serene, and soothing,” and that “everyone demonstrated tremendous collaboration and high spirits in spite of the torrential downpour.” In the course of the journey, the group pondered what it must have been like for freedom searchers to traverse the treacherous terrain without any equipment.
- The organization addressed these worries by putting in a lot of effort in advance.
- Starting in April, a full six months before the intended departure date, the group met once a week to review progress, share training advice, and keep each other inspired as they prepared for their journey.
- There was less equipment for the novice hikers to purchase, and each hiker had a skilled hiking companion who could assist them gain confidence on their first trek together.
- Along with all of this preparation, the history of the climb served as a constant source of motivation for the group during the journey.
- There were a variety of paths that slaves may take as they headed northward in search of freedom.
- Because of its geographical position, difficult terrain, and variety of hiding places, the woodland corridor along the mountains served as an ideal path for freedom seekers attempting to flee to the North during the Soviet occupation.
- Even while many people have attempted to establish a direct link between the present path of the Appalachian Trail and the historical route of the Underground Railroad, we may never be able to provide conclusive evidence because of the need for secrecy surrounding the routes.
- Although the railroad’s path differed from that of the Appalachian Trail, the link to the region’s history can still be felt with every step.
- Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University, Dr.
- Broyld, says that Tubman was “closely associated with the earth’s resources, whether as a muskrat hunter, lumberjack, or conductor of freedom seekers.” Tubman cherished the beauty of the natural environment, which included flowers, trees, animals, and the night sky.
This endeavor requires knowledge of rivers, wind patterns, topography, forestry, astronomical interpretation, and even a grasp of herbal medicine and healing.” As late as the mid-to-late twentieth century approached, the profound biological understanding of the Shenandoah Valley had largely been forgotten.
- Some states, notably Virginia, attempted to prohibit black people from visiting their parks totally beginning in the early 1930s.
- Communities of color are underrepresented in the outdoor recreation space, as has been widely documented in the literature.
- This disparity is the primary goal of Outdoor Afro, and it is their job to address it.
- Today, with over 60 leaders in 28 states from all across the country, the group is effectively connecting thousands of individuals to outdoor activities while also contributing to the transformation of conservation as we know it.
- They have discovered that people of color have always had a role in the environmental movement and that this has always been the case.
Thank you very much to Brittany Leavitt and Outdoor Afro for allowing us to share their story. The author would also like to express his gratitude to his friend Harriet Rowan for her assistance with the editing of this piece. Additional resources include:
- Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage (Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press, 2010)
- Fergus M. Bordewich, Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2005), 353
- Dianne D. Glave, Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage (Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press, 2010)
Outdoor Afro can be found online at OutdoorAfro.com, where you can learn more about the company.
This Maryland Quaker Town Was a Major Stop on the Underground Railroad
During the seventeenty-second century, Christian Quakers founded the community of Sandy Spring, Maryland. Within their own ranks, the Quakers forbade members of their religion from enslaving anyone, and a community of ex enslaved people moved into the region to live alongside the Quakers. Eventually, these two factions would collaborate to create the town a significant stop on the Underground Railroad, which assisted enslaved persons from the American South in their escape to the North. From its inception in the early 1800s and continuing through the American Civil War and the eventual abolition of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a loosely organized network of routes and safehouses that people fleeing slavery would use to travel north, sometimes as far as Canada, in order to find safety.
The Underground Railroad Trail Experience is a walking tour that takes visitors on a journey through history.
In addition to passing through hollowed-out trees that may have served as food caches, the path also passes by stones that may have served as trail markers for escaping slaves as they made their way through the deep forest and across fields and waterways.
Sandy Spring is a small community in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.
Know Before You Go
The park is open all year, but parking is restricted, so if you want to visit on a weekend, get there as early as possible. The route itself is 2 miles one-way and 4 miles round trip in total length. It travels across hilly terrain, through creeks, and through farms, so be sure to dress accordingly. Additionally, the Sandy Spring Slave Museum and the ancient Quaker Friends Meeting House may be found at Sandy Spring. The Meeting House may be visited by taking a little detour off the route, and the Slave Museum is only a short drive away from the Meeting House and the walk.
Underground Railroad Freedom Trail
With the Underground Railroad Freedom Trail, the Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway, which runs through southern Chester and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, will be extended all the way to Independence Mall in Philadelphia, a distance of more than 200 miles. The trail highlights landmarks and tales that indicate not only the significance of the role played by the Underground Railroad in the abolition of slavery, but also how it served as a cornerstone of our nation’s civil rights fight throughout the Civil War.
The park is dedicated to the legendary heroine of the Underground Railroad.
To reach the Longwood Progressive Meeting House in Kennett Township, travelers must cross the Mason-Dixon line on Route 52 in Kennett Township.
The Kennett Underground Railroad Center is now working on the development of various excursions throughout Chester and Delaware counties that will complement the Kennett Underground Railroad Center.
View a map of the driving tour route. View the brochure and take a tour of the Kennett Underground Railroad Center.
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.
Underground Railroad (UGRR)
Paper map versions of various portions of this route have been withdrawn due to a lack of available resources, and will no longer be available after they have been completely sold out. There are still digital versions of all portions of this route accessible. More information may be found at: Using an app or a GPX file for digital transformation.
A bicycle path known as the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (UGRR) commemorates the Underground Railroad, a network of clandestine routes through which African freedom seekers sought to flee slavery before and during the American Civil War. This website contains information on the 1,997.1-mile Underground Railroad Bicycle Route that runs from Mobile, Alabama, to Owen Sound, Ontario, and back again. There are a variety of other options available, such as the UGRR Detroit Alternate and UGRR Pittsburgh Spur, as well as day-trip rides in Ripley, Ohio (PDF).
Ride America’s legendary route to freedom.
Cycling over the 1,997.1-mile corridor that parallels the Underground Railroad path from the Deep South to Canada, visiting historical places and areas of interest, the history of this incredible time comes to life and becomes a living history lesson. Beginning in Mobile, Alabama, a bustling port for slavery during the pre-Civil War era, the route travels north through rivers through Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky before reaching the Mississippi River. Waterways, as well as the North Star, were frequently employed as navigational aids by freedom seekers on their treks to liberation from slavery.
- While in Ontario, the path follows the beaches of Lake Ontario until it reaches Owen Sound, a community that was built by independence fighters more than a century ago.
- The southernmost map begins in the historic city of Mobile, Alabama, and travels northward along multiple river channels.
- Mobile Bay is fed by the Tensaw, Alabama, and Tombigbee Rivers, all of which served as escape routes for freedom seekers seeking to reach the northern states.
- Riders may learn about Indian massacres and the German prisoner-of-war camp at Aliceville, Alabama, thanks to the abundance of historical road plaques along the route.
- You may stop in at churches as you ride past town squares full of courthouses and Confederate monument statues as well as tall loblolly trees and the brown waters of the Tombigbee and Tennessee rivers, which are slow-moving.
- The road connects with the Natchez Trace Parkway for a total of 10 miles just north of Fulton, Mississippi.
- There are also several short roller coaster hills in this region.
In addition, you’ll go down “The Trace Road” through the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, which is a vast tract of woodlands where bison can be found roaming free.
When the road reaches the Ohio River, which was previously known as the dividing line between the slave and free states, it turns northeast and follows the river’s course.
The Indiana towns of New Albany, Lancaster, and Madison, as well as the Kentucky towns of Augusta, Old Washington, and Maysville, all include buildings, churches, residences, or other sights worth seeing.
Routes that follow the river and others that go further inland are interspersed throughout the itinerary.
John Rankin stand out among the various Underground Railroad conductors that were active in Ripley during the Civil War era.
While working as a conductor, he would frequently cross into slave country to assist freedom seekers on their journey from Kentucky to Ohio.
The Rankins housed the majority of the estimated 2,000 freedom seekers that came through Ripley during the Civil War.
A 16-mile spur connects the station to downtown Cincinnati.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is the nation’s finest site dedicated to recognizing the heroics and tragedies linked with the Underground Railroad.
Exhibits include the hauntingly evocative Slave Pen, a tiny log building that was formerly used to keep as many as seventy-five slaves as they awaited shipment to and sale in the Deep South, among other things.
Starting in Milford and continuing north to Xenia, you’ll be cycling down a gradient that, beginning in the mid-1800s, serviced a “overground” railroad.
Because the path runs next to the Little Miami State and National Scenic River, you have the option of putting your bike away for the day and exploring the same landscape by canoe.
The blissfully car-free path goes through an ever-changing rural scenery of undulating farmland, charming villages, river bluffs, and hardwood forests, all of which may be seen from the trail.
This is only the beginning of the Ohio to Erie Trail, which is an amalgamation of primarily off-street recreational trails that runs from the Ohio River to Lake Erie and which the route follows for much of its journey across Ohio.
By taking the Springboro Spur from Waynesville, you may get to the rapidly rising hamlet of Springboro in minutes.
Springboro, Tennessee, was founded in 1815 by anti-slavery Quaker Jonathan Wright and grew into one of the most important stopping points for freedom seekers.
Today, the historic downtown center contains more recorded Underground Railroad safe homes than any other community in the state, at least one of which may be visited and slept in overnight: the 1815 home of town founder Wright, which is the oldest residence in the city.
The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center is located in Wilberforce, an unincorporated town just northeast of Xenia.
In order to educate and inform visitors about Black history and culture, the museum’s purpose is to begin with African roots and progress to the current day.
The movie, which is half an hour long and tracks the beginnings and growth of Black music from its African roots to mainstream music in the 1950s, is a must-see.
The Ohio to Erie Trail continues northeastward, going through the tiny communities of Mt.
In Akron, the route navigates effectively through the urban core solely on bike routes, which are completely devoid of traffic.
Ashtabula County is located in the extreme northeastern region of the state of Ohio.
Riders will go along the Western Reserve Greenway, which is a “linear park” that follows the old right-of-way of the Pennsylvania Central Railroad.
These markers identify historical sites such as the Hubbard House, which is located adjacent to Walnut Beach in the city of Ashtabula.
A museum dedicated to the Underground Railroad has been established there, which contains a map depicting the locations of all known Underground Railroad stations in the surrounding region.
Because of its remoteness, closeness to Canada, and the anti-slavery feeling that ran strong across New York State, this region became a perfect conduit for freedom seekers.
The Michigan Avenue Baptist Church, which is Buffalo’s most well-known Underground Railroad location, is one of the places you may visit.
The route from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake is primarily comprised of the Niagara River Recreation Trail, with brief sections of the Niagara Parkway along the scenic Niagara River.
In the summer, the path near Niagara Falls is highly crowded, thanks to the large number of international tourists that come to the area.
These plaques may be located on or along the route as you go north.
Catharines honors Underground Railroad director Harriet Tubman is also on display.
According to long-standing mythology, Charles and Libby McClew, who built the farmhouse here in 1850, acted as Underground Railroad station managers during the Civil War.
The property is open to the public, and guided excursions of the Underground Railroad are available.
Many former slaves were able to achieve their hard-earned freedom in this area, and many of them chose to reside in the settlement that was once known as Sydenham.
Emancipation Picnics have taken place in the town every year since 1862, and they now commemorate two important historical milestones in the history of freedom: the British Emancipation Act of 1834 and the United States Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Dennis Coello captured this image.
NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation
Obtaining liberation by self-emancipation came at a very steep cost for Africans and people of African heritage who had been enslaved in North America. Their lives were on the line. While they were attempting to flee during the 17th through 19th centuries, the precise problems they encountered varied depending on where in the nation they were hiding. Increasing numbers of individuals stepped up to assist when legal servitude in Canada and many of the newly founded northern states was abolished in the late 18th century.
- The Underground Railroad was the name given to this network of networks.
- A thorough inquiry has been required to address the disinformation that has been spread about the covert network, which was intended to stay secret.
- The lives of a few well-known individuals have overshadowed the contributions of countless others.
- The development of criteria for the correct identification of individuals has resulted in the removal of several purported sites from the list of train “stops.” The incorrect idea that quilts were used to designate safe places has been disproved by scientific evidence.
- Because of New York’s proximity to other free states and Canada, a large number of travelers passed through on their route.
- It was also important to have access to New York’s waterways, which allowed individuals to sail to regions where they could dwell freely or to reduce their overland treks.
- We at the New York State Historic Preservation Office are collaborating with public and private museums, people, and organizations to deliver the most up-to-date information to the public.
- The hidden narrative behind this journey to freedom is revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner in his new book. a branch of the Underground Railroad in New York
- Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage AreaCenter is only one more river to cross. New York is the great ‘central depot’ of the Underground Railroad, and it is worth exploring. Travel via the Underground Railroad in New York
- The National Park Service has designated October as International Underground Railroad History Month. This website serves as a portal to the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State, as well as to its collaborators from around the state. Stephen and Harriet Myers Home — abolitionists in Albany who also served as a UGRR safe house
- Harriet Tubman National Historic Park — Located in Auburn, New York, this park commemorates the famed conductor of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman. North Star Underground Railroad Museum – Ausable Chasm, New York
- North Star Underground Railroad Museum – New York City
- New York Abolitionist Gerrit Smith’s Estate is located in Peterborough, New York. Among the attractions are the Plymouth Church of Pilgrims, a historic Brooklyn church where Henry Ward Beecher served and participated in the anti-slavery struggle
- The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
- And the Museum of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition (MoMA).
The hidden narrative behind this journey to freedom is revealed by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner in this book. There is an underground railroad system in New York. Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage AreaCenter is still another river to cross. New York is the big ‘central depot’ of the Underground Railroad. Travel the Underground Railroad through New York City. According to the National Park Service, October is “International Underground Railroad History Month.” This website serves as a portal to the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State, which includes collaborators from all around the state.
Located in Auburn, New York, the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park is the final resting place of the famed Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.
abolitionist Gerrit Smith’s estate in Peterborough, New York Among the attractions are the Plymouth Church of Pilgrims, a historic Brooklyn church where Henry Ward Beecher served and worked in the anti-slavery movement; the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition; and the Museum of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, among others.
- The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was passed. Owners or their agents were given permission to seek for fugitives in the free states and transfer them back to their original location if found. (pdf)
- The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed to protect fugitive slaves. In addition to allowing the federal government expanded search and seizure authority inside free states and territories, the 1850 Act made the federal government accountable for locating, returning, and prosecuting fugitive slaves. (pdf)