What Were The Main Underground Railroad Routes? (Suits you)

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.

How was the Underground Railroad like a real railroad?

  • Nope! Despite its name, the Underground Railroad wasn’t a railroad in the way Amtrak or commuter rail is. It wasn’t even a real railroad. It was a metaphoric one, where “conductors,” that is basically escaped slaves and intrepid abolitionists, would lead runaway slaves from one “station,” or save house to the next.

What routes did the Underground Railroad follow?

Routes. Underground Railroad routes went north to free states and Canada, to the Caribbean, into United States western territories, and Indian territories. Some freedom seekers (escaped slaves) travelled South into Mexico for their freedom.

What were some of the routes slaves took to get from the south to the north?

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.

How many stops were on the Underground Railroad?

Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.

What was the name of the route used by slaves in the American South to escape to Canada?

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).

What was the most common route in the Underground Railroad?

One hero of the Underground Railroad was Levi Coffin, a Quaker who is said to have helped around 3,000 slaves gain their freedom. The most common route for people to escape was north into the northern United States or Canada, but some slaves in the deep south escaped to Mexico or Florida.

What route did Harriet Tubman take on the Underground Railroad?

One route out of Maryland was that frequently used by Harriet Tubman. She led her groups, beginning on foot, up the Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Delaware. Several stations were in the vicinity of Wilmington, Delaware.

What caused the Underground Railroad?

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.

Was there a underground railroad in Georgia?

MACON, Ga. But the Underground Railroad had no physical location. Instead, it was a network of abolitionists who found ways to smuggle slaves into freedom.

How many slaves used the Underground Railroad?

The total number of runaways who used the Underground Railroad to escape to freedom is not known, but some estimates exceed 100,000 freed slaves during the antebellum period. Those involved in the Underground Railroad used code words to maintain anonymity.

What states was the Underground Railroad in?

Most of the enslaved people helped by the Underground Railroad escaped border states such as Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland. In the deep South, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made capturing escaped enslaved people a lucrative business, and there were fewer hiding places for them.

Where did the Underground Railroad have safe houses?

In the years leading up to the Civil War, the black abolitionist William Still offered shelter to hundreds of freedom seekers as they journeyed northward.

How do you know if your house was part of the Underground Railroad?

1) Check the date when the house was built. 2) At your county clerk’s office, or wherever historical deeds are stored in your locality, research the property to determine who owned it between the American Revolution and the Civil War (roughly 1790-1860).

Was there an underground train in the Underground Railroad?

So yeah, everything about the “real” Underground Railroad in The Underground Railroad is false. In fact, the first underground train — the London Underground, or Tube — wasn’t built until 1863. That’s not only well into the timeline of America’s own Civil War, but in a nation an ocean away from Cora.

Was Windsor part of the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad For many American slaves Windsor Essex offered what they yearned for most – a new life of freedom. Our region played a proud and pivotal role in the Underground Railroad Movement, helping thousands escape the brutality of slavery.

Where is the Underground Railroad in Ontario?

Underground Railroad stations in Canada (Southwestern Ontario): Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site – Dresden, Ontario. Sandwich First Baptist Church – Windsor, Ontario. Buxton National Historic Site – Chatham, Ontario.

Eastern Illinois University : Teaching with Primary Sources

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion at the time of the publication. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

(“Fugitive slave,” he explained, was an ancient Greek term for a fugitive slave).

“Treating one’s slaves kindly but firmly,” he said, was the first option.

Despite the fact that only a few thousand people, at most, escaped slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their flight was interpreted by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater disaster.

  1. Was it a matter of time before the entire fabric came undone?
  2. Rather, it was actively encouraged and abetted by a well-organized network that was both vast and sinister in scale.
  3. The term underground railroad brings to mind images of trapdoors, flickering lanterns, and moonlit pathways winding through the woods, just as it did for most of the population in the 1840s and 1850s.
  4. At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is surprising considering how prominent it is in the public consciousness.
  5. The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a nationwide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a figment of popular imagination concocted from a series of isolated and unconnected escapes?
  6. Depending on which historians you believe, the answers will be different.

One historian (white) interviewed surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a generation after the Civil War and described a “great and intricate network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, who he described as “a great and intricate network” (nearly all of them white).

  • Activist minister James W.
  • Pennington wrote in 1855 that he had escaped “without the aid.
  • As a result of his work on Abraham Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner, one of the nation’s most recognized practitioners of history (his earlier book on the subject was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), has joined an expanding number of researchers who are illuminating the night sky.
  • (Since the student, as he makes clear in his acknowledgments, chose to become a lawyer, no scholarly careers were jeopardized in the course of the publication of this book.) Readers will be surprised by the narrative told in Gateway to Freedom: The Secret History of the Underground Railroad.
  • Assisting runaways was nothing new for abolitionist organisations, who made a point of publicizing it in pamphlets, publications, and yearly reports.
  • Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” offered donated luxury goods and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad became common fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, despite the fact that this may seem unlikely.

  1. Many women were enthralled by these incidents, which transformed everyday, “feminine” tasks like baking, grocery shopping, and sewing into exhilarating acts of moral commitment and political rebellion for thousands of them.
  2. While governor of New York, William Seward publicly sponsored Underground Railroad operations, and while serving as a senator in the United States Senate, he (not so openly) provided refuge to runaways in his basement.
  3. When Northern states implemented “personal liberty” acts in the 1850s, they were able to exclude state and municipal authorities from federal fugitive-slave statutes, this act of defiance acquired legal recognition.
  4. Yet another surprise in Foner’s gripping story is that it takes place in New York City.
  5. Even as recently as the 1790s, enslaved laborers tended Brooklyn’s outlying fields, constituting a quarter of the city’s total population (40 percent).
  6. Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bond slavery.
  7. George Kirk snuck away on board a ship bound for New York in 1846, only to be apprehended by the captain and kept in chains while waiting to be returned to his master’s possession.
  8. Following his triumphant exit from court, the winning fugitive was met with applause from the courtroom’s African-American contingent.
  9. A second legal basis was discovered by the same court to free Kirk, who this time rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and arrived in the safety of Boston in no time.
  10. In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress, who became the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard.
  11. Whilst Gay was busy publishing abolitionist manifestos and raising funds, Napoleon was patrolling the New York harbor in search of black stowaways and traveling the length and breadth of the Mason-Dixon Line in pursuit of those who had managed to escape slavery.

It’s “the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City,” according to Foner, and it contains “a treasure trove of compelling anecdotes and a storehouse of insights about both slavery and the underground railroad.” One of the most moving passages was when Gay documented the slaves’ accounts of their reasons for fleeing in a matter-of-fact tone.

  • Cartwright’s theory, it appears that none of them addressed Drapetomania.
  • I was beaten with a hatchet and bled for three days after being struck with 400 lashes by an overseer.” As a result of his research, Foner concludes that the phrase “Underground Railroad” has been used to describe something that is restrictive, if not deceptive.
  • Though it had tunnels, it also had straightaways and bright straightaways where its traces might be found.
  • It is true that the Underground Railroad had conductors and stationmasters in a sense, but the great majority of its people contributed in ways that were far too diverse to be compared in such a straightforward manner.
  • Its passengers and their experiences were almost as different.
  • During this time, a Virginia mother and her little daughter had spent five months crouched in a small hiding hole beneath a house near Norfolk before being transported out of the country.
  • Although the Underground Railroad operated on a small scale, its effect considerably beyond the size of its activities.

It fostered the suspicions of Southern leaders while driving Northern leaders to choose sides with either the slaves or the slavecatchers.

Escapees were reported to be flooding northward at an unusual rate just a few days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861.

There had been a Drapetomania on a magnitude that was worse beyond Dr.

The Reverend Samuel Cartwright passed away in 1863, just a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially established Drapetomania as a national policy.

As he put it, the Underground Railroad “has hardly no business at all these days.

New Yorkers may have been astonished to open their eyes in the early 1864 season as well.

The accompanying piece, on the other hand, soon put their concerns to rest. According to the plan, Manhattan’s first subway line would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park, beginning at 42nd Street.

A Dangerous Path to Freedom

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, given its “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. The author of the essays, the eminent New Orleans physician Samuel Adolphus Cartwright, described in precise anatomical terms the reasons for African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  • But it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously unknown medical condition, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the disease that causes Negroes to flee,” that drew the most attention from readers.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand people, at most, escaped slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their flight was interpreted by many Southern whites as a portent of a larger catastrophe.
  • How long do you think it will take before the entire fabric begins to fall apart?
  • Rather, it was actively encouraged and aided by a well-organized network that was both vast and sinister in scope.
  • The phrase “Underground Railroad” conjures up images of trapdoors, flickering lanterns, and moonlit pathways through the woods for most people today, just as it did for most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to this story, which is surprising considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  • Was the Underground Railroad truly a nationwide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” or was it simply a figment of popular imagination conjured up from a series of ad hoc, unconnected fugitives’ escapes?

Depending on whose historians you trust, the answers will differ.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were white) a generation after the Civil War and documented a “vast and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name (nearly all of them white).

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In 1855, the radical preacher James W.

Pennington wrote, “I escaped without the assistance.

As a result of his work on Abraham Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner, one of the nation’s most recognized practitioners of history (his last book on the subject was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), has joined an expanding number of researchers who are illuminating the darkness.

(Since the student, as he makes clear in his acknowledgments, chose to become a lawyer, no scholarly careers were jeopardized by the publication of this volume.) Readers will be surprised by the narrative told in Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.

Abolitionist organizations made no secret of their willingness to aid runaways; in fact, they publicized their efforts in pamphlets, publications, and yearly reports.

Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad were frequent fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, despite the fact that they seemed unlikely.

  • Even legislators who had sworn vows to preserve the Constitution — including its provision demanding the return of runaways to their lawful lords – disobeyed their oaths and failed to fulfill their responsibilities.
  • Escaped slave laws were disregarded by Judge William Jay, a son of the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who provided money to aid fugitive slaves.
  • One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that has been overlooked.
  • When compared to places like Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as upstate cities like Buffalo and Syracuse—­the city was not recognized for its anti-slavery fervor.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow’s newspaper soon before the Civil War that the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” Planters’ slave purchases were financed by New York banks, while New York merchants made their fortunes on slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  • Slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and in addition to officially apprehending escapees, they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—to sell them into Southern bondage.
  • George Kirk snuck away on board a ship bound for New York in 1846, only to be apprehended by the captain and kept in shackles while waiting to be returned to his owner.
  • The winning fugitive was escorted out of court by a watchful phalanx of African Americans from the surrounding community.
  • In this case, the same court found new legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in no time at all.
  • Founder and editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, Sydney Howard Gay, was descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  • Napoleon, on the other hand, prowled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and traveled the length and breadth of the Mason-Dixon Line, escorting fugitives to freedom.
  • This paper, according to Foner, “is the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City.

Despite Dr.

One first-person narrative opens with the words “one meal a day for eight years.” “It’s been sold three times and is expected to be sold a fourth time.

There was undoubtedly a countrywide network in existence, with its operations sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and schedules were continuously changing.

Akin to the cooperation between Gay and Napoleon, its efforts frequently brought together rich and poor, black and white, for a shared purpose.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, strutted around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insolently purchased a steamship ticket to New York.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the total population.

In addition to contributing to the political crisis of the 1850s, it galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slaveholders, whether they had personally aided fugitives, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or were simply entertained by the colorful accounts of slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  • Above all, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice.
  • Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments.
  • Cartwright could have imagined.
  • In the same year, an abolitionist reported that all of the Union’s railway lines were seeing record wartime traffic, with the exception of one.
  • A solitary wanderer is hard to come by.” In addition, New Yorkers may have been surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

However, the accompanying article instantly put their concerns at ease. In it, the author presented a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward along Broadway from the Battery to Central Park.

ConductorsAbolitionists

Train conductors on the Underground Railroad were free persons who provided assistance to escaped slaves moving via the Underground Railroad system. Runaway slaves were assisted by conductors, who provided them with safe transportation to and from train stations. They were able to accomplish this under the cover of darkness, with slave hunters on their tails. Many of these stations would be in the comfort of their own homes or places of work, which was convenient. They were in severe danger as a result of their actions in hiding fleeing slaves; nonetheless, they continued because they believed in a cause bigger than themselves, which was the liberation thousands of oppressed human beings.

  • They represented a diverse range of ethnicities, vocations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Due to the widespread belief that slaves were considered property, the freeing of slaves was perceived as a theft of slave owners’ personal belongings.
  • Captain Jonathan Walker was apprehended off the coast of Florida while attempting to convey slaves from the United States to freedom in the Bahamas.
  • With the following words from one of his songs, abolitionist poet John Whittier paid respect to Walker’s valiant actions: “Take a step forward with your muscular right hand, brave ploughman of the sea!
  • She never lost sight of any of them during the journey.
  • He went on to write a novel.
  • John Parker is yet another former slave who escaped and returned to slave states in order to aid in the emancipation of others.

Rankin’s neighbor and fellow conductor, Reverend John Rankin, was a collaborator in the Underground Railroad project.

The Underground Railroad’s conductors were unquestionably anti-slavery, and they were not alone in their views.

Individuals such as William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur and Lewis Tappan founded the American Anti-Slavery Society, which marked the beginning of the abolitionist movement.

The group published an annual almanac that featured poetry, paintings, essays, and other abolitionist material.

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who rose to prominence as an abolitionist after escaping from slavery.

His other abolitionist publications included the Frederick Douglass Paper, which he produced in addition to delivering public addresses on themes that were important to abolitionists.

Anthony was another well-known abolitionist who advocated for the abolition of slavery via her speeches and writings.

For the most part, she based her novel on the adventures of escaped slave Josiah Henson.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. It took every ounce of moral strength I have to keep my emotions under control as I said goodbye to my small family.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. The moment has come for me to follow through on my commitment.
  8. 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.

The Underground Railroad – Lincoln Home National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)

When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we’re talking about the attempts of enslaved African Americans to earn their freedom by escaping bondage, which took place from the beginning of the Civil War to the end of the war. In every country where slavery existed, there was a concerted attempt to flee, first to maroon communities in remote locations far from settlements, then across state and international borders. Runaways were considered “fugitives” under the rules of the period because of their acts of self-emancipation, albeit in retrospect, the term “freedom seeker” appears to be a more fair description.

It’s possible that the choice to aid a freedom seeking was taken on the spur of the moment.

Freedom seekers traveled in a variety of directions, including Canada, Mexico, the United States West, the Caribbean islands, and Europe.

The Fugitive Slave Acts

Until the end of the Civil War, enslavement in the United States was considered lawful and acceptable. In contrast to the rhetoric of the Revolutionary War era about freedom, the new United States constitution safeguarded the rights of individuals to possess and enslave other people, including women. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 further reinforced these slaveholding rights, allowing for the return to captivity of any African American who was accused or simply suspected of being a freedom seeker under certain circumstances.

It was a $500 punishment for anybody who supported a liberator or just interfered with an arrest, a clear recognition of the significance and lasting influence on American society of the Underground Railroad phenomenon decades before it was given its official name.

Individuals in the North were brought face to face with the immoral issue by the spectacle of African Americans being reenslaved at the least provocation and the selling of abducted free African Americans to the South for slavery.

Those who aided freedom seekers in their attempts to flee were considered members of the Underground Railroad. “Buy us too,” says H.L. Stephens in his parting words. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.

Motivation of Freedom Seekers

Time period, geographic location, kind of agriculture or industry, size of the slaveholding unit, urban vs rural environment, and even the temperament and financial stability of the enslaver all influenced the degree to which people were enslaved. All of these experiences have one thing in common: the dehumanization of both the victim and the oppressor as a result of the demands of a system that treats human beings as property rather than as individuals. This element, probably more than any other, helps to explain why some people opted to escape and why their owners were frequently taken aback by their actions.

Many people were able to flee because they had access to knowledge and abilities, including reading, which gave them an advantage.

The slaves rebelled despite the fact that the slavery system was intended to train them to accept it.

Geography of the Underground Railroad

Wherever there were enslaved African Americans, there were those who were desperate to get away. Slavery existed in all of the original thirteen colonies, as well as in Spanish California, Louisiana, and Florida, as well as in all of the Caribbean islands, until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the British abolition of slavery brought an end to slavery in the United States (1834). The Underground Railroad had its beginnings at the site of enslavement in the United States. The routes followed natural and man-made forms of movement, including rivers, canals, bays, the Atlantic Coast, ferries and river crossings, as well as roads and trails and other infrastructure.

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Freedom seekers used their inventiveness to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and brains in the process.

Commemoration of Underground Railroad History

The desire to emigrate could be found everywhere there were enslaved African-Americans. Slavery existed in all of the original thirteen colonies, as well as in Spanish California, Louisiana, and Florida, as well as on all of the Caribbean islands, until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the British abolition of slavery brought an end to slavery in the British Empire (1834). At the point of servitude, the Underground Railroad got its beginnings. The routes followed natural and man-made forms of transit, including rivers, canals, bays, the Atlantic Coast, ferries and river crossings, as well as roads and paths in the forest.

Disguises, forgeries, and other techniques were devised by freedom seekers with the help of their ingenuity, daring, and intellect.

Running away slaves were tracked down and apprehended using the lure of announced incentives to entice the populace to assist in the capture and enslavement of runaway slaves on predicted routes of escape.

Uncovering Underground Railroad History

Despite years of assertions that the Underground Railroad’s history was shrouded in secrecy, local historians, genealogists, oral historians, and other researchers have discovered that primary sources describing the flight to freedom of many enslaved African Americans have survived to the present day. It is becoming clearer that the slaves were determined to pursue their own and their families’ freedom, as evidenced by court documents, memoirs of conductors and freedom seekers, letters, runaway advertisements in newspapers, and military records.

A lot of the time, no one has been able to piece together the parts of freedom seekers’ narrative by looking at their starting and ending locations, let alone the moments in between.

Anthony Burns is a writer who lives in New York City.

Unknown Underground Railroad Heroes

Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people,” and Frederick Douglass, a freedom seeker who rose to become the greatest African American leader of his time, are two of the most well-known figures linked with the Underground Railroad. Both were from the state of Maryland. Those seeking freedom, on the other hand, came from every part of the world where slavery was legalized, even the northern colonies. Harriet Jacobs arrived from North Carolina, where she had spent the previous seven years hidden in her grandmother’s attic.

  1. Louis and journeyed 700 miles until she reached Canada, where she sought sanctuary.
  2. Lewis Hayden, his wife, and their kid were able to flee from slavery in Kentucky to freedom in Ohio thanks to the assistance of Delia Webster and Calvin Fairbanks.
  3. Mary Ellen Pleasant, a black businesswoman from San Francisco, took in a fugitive named Archy Lee and hosted him in her house, setting the stage for an important state court case.
  4. Coffin and Rankin are two white clergymen from the Midwest who aided freedom seekers in their efforts to gain their independence.
  5. Residents of Wellington and Oberlin, Ohio, both black and white, stood up to slave hunters and refused to allow them to return John Price to his servitude in the state of Kentucky.
  6. Charles Torrey, Leonard Grimes, and Jacob Bigelow were among the members of a multiracial network in Washington, D.C., who worked for years to assist individuals like as Ann Marie Weems, the Edmondson sisters, and Garland White in their quest for freedom.

William and Ellen Craft managed to flee over one thousand miles from Georgia to Boston by putting on a convincing disguise.

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

In addition to coordinating preservation and education efforts across the country, the National Park Service Underground Railroad program integrates local historical sites, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories. The Network also seeks to foster contact and collaboration between scholars and other interested parties, as well as to help in the formation of statewide organizations dedicated to the preservation and investigation of Underground Railroad locations.

The Underground Railroad

It was far-reaching in scope, covering the whole United States and beyond, and profound in significance for a nation whose very existence was intertwined with the sale of human life. However, because of its secrecy, that history has proven to be a tough one to uncover.

What was the Underground Railroad?

Although it had a vast scope, embracing the whole United States and beyond, its meaning was profound for a country whose history was intertwined with the sale of human lives. However, because of its secrecy, that history is extremely difficult to uncover.

Western Pennsylvania Underground Railroad Sites

Mt. Washington, PA 15211 Chatham Village Olympia Road Mt. Washington, PA 15211 Building constructed in 1849 that served as a station on the Underground Railroad inside the boundaries of Chatham Village T. James Bigham was an abolitionist barrister and the editor of The Commercial Journal Anti-Slavery Newspaper, which was published in London in 1848. Lucinda Bigham, the Black family nurse of Bigham, is said to have kept a vigilant eye out from the Bigham home’s tower for escaped slaves or professional slave hunters.

More information may be found in this wesa.fm story.

City Baths

Third Street between Market and Ferry Streets in downtown Pittsburgh is home to a barbershop and safehouse that serves the community. Slaves were given a fresh appearance as well as a head start on their escape to the United States. Using lists of famous hotel visitors and advertisements made by persons seeking for escaped slaves, historians have confirmed the hotel’s role in the abolitionist movement. Daytime: A economic, social, and political club for the city’s white elites; nighttime: a station on the Underground Railroad for slaves fleeing to the United States.

Freedom Road Cemetery

Third Street between Market and Ferry Streets in downtown Pittsburgh is home to a barbershop and safehouse that serves the local community. It was a fresh start for the slaves on their journey to freedom in Canada. Using lists of famous hotel guests and advertisements made by those hunting for escaped slaves, historians have confirmed the hotel’s significance in the history of abolition. Daytime: A economic, social, and political club for the city’s white elites; nighttime: a stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves fleeing the slave trade.

Gibson House (Mark Twain Manor)

The Jamestown Future Foundation is located at 210 Liberty St. in Jamestown, Pennsylvania 16134 and can be reached at 724.932.5455. Dr. William Gibson, a well-known Jamestown physician, accompanied Samuel Clemens on his journey to Russia. Clemens authored a book on their adventures, titled Innocents Abroad, which is available on Amazon. It has been speculated that the home served as a halt on the Underground Railroad.

There is evidence of a tiny chamber that was utilized as a station on the Underground Railroad in the basement. This building has been converted into a restaurant. The Gibson House is a historic structure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

John C. Peck Oyster House

Fourth Street between Wood and Market Streets in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania A station halt on the Underground Railroad.

Plaque Honoring Jane Gray Swisshelm

600 Grant St., in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh In downtown Pittsburgh, on Sixth Avenue, at the Heinz headquarters is the Heinz Museum. Jane Grey Swisshelm had direct experience with slavery and became committed to the abolitionist fight for the Underground Railroad as a result. She started publishing an abolitionist weekly in Pittsburgh in 1848, called the Pittsburgh Saturday Visitor.

Private homes in Arthurville and Hayti

600 Grant Street is located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. In downtown Pittsburgh, on Sixth Avenue, at the Heinz headquarters is the Heinz Center. Following her first-hand experience with slavery, Jane Grey Swisshelm was inspired to join the abolitionist effort for the Underground Railroad. She started publishing an abolitionist weekly in 1848 called the Pittsburgh Saturday Visitor.

St. Matthew’s A.M.E. Church in Sewickley

Sewickley is located at 345 Thorn St. Built in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, in 1857, they functioned as Underground Railroad operators. One common technique of providing food to escaped slaves in the Pittsburgh region was for conductors to disguise as hunters at night and carry a game bag full with foodstuffs to their destination.

Wylie A.M.E. Church

Sewickley, Pennsylvania 345 Thorn St. Sewickley, Pennsylvania’s Underground Railroad was served by a building constructed in 1857. One common way for providing food to escaped slaves in the Pittsburgh region was for conductors to disguise as hunters at night and carry a game bag stocked with foodstuffs to their destination.

Demolished Sites

Avery Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, at the corner of Nash and Avery Streets, was afterwards known as Avery College and then as Avery Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church. In 1812, Charles Avery moved to Pittsburgh from New York. His interest in the cotton industry led him on purchasing excursions to the southern United States, where he became interested in the situation of the Negro slaves. He became a member of the abolitionist movement and assisted slaves in their escape from the South to Canada via the underground railroad.

  1. Avery’s riches enabled him to build the Allegheny Institute and Mission Church, which became known as Avery College.
  2. The basement, which was only accessible by concealed trap doors, was most likely a “station” (hiding spot) on the Underground Railroad’s secret underground network.
  3. During the night, a rowboat was employed to transport them up the canal to the tunnel entrance in secrecy.
  4. When Avery passed away, his net worth was estimated to be $800,000.
  5. Workmen dismantled the red brick structure of Avery College in Old Allegheny’s Dutchtown to make room for the East Street Valley Expressway, which has been a source of contention for years.

With the exception of a few nostalgic old-timers, hardly one seemed to notice the demolition of the ancient building. Old-timers, on the other hand, believed that demolition of the structure signaled the end of a notable Pittsburgher’s dream.

Crawford Grill

In the Hill District, this was a hub of Black social life where performers such as Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams, and John Coltrane drew a racially diverse and international audience. Founded by William “Gus” Greenlee, a major person in Pittsburgh’s Black community who was also the owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords, the city’s Negro League baseball club, the Pittsburgh Crawfords was founded in 1903.

Monongahela House

Formerly located at the junction of Water and Smithfield Streets, this hotel has been demolished. One of the city’s most luxurious hotels, as well as a hotbed of anti-slavery activities. It had a staff of 300 free Blacks who were in regular touch with a steady stream of affluent Southern merchants who arrived from the north and east.

Point View Hotel

On Brownsville Road in Brentwood, there is a family-owned historic pub and restaurant that was originally used as a stopping point on the Underground Railroad. Slaves who had escaped were housed in the basement.

Underground Railroad

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.

Quaker Abolitionists

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.

By the 1840s, the phrase “Underground Railroad” had become part of the common lexicon in the United States. 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.

See also:  What Is The Hob In The Underground Railroad? (Correct answer)

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.

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

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.

Tubman transported groups of fugitives to Canada on a regular basis, believing that the United States would not treat them favorably.

Frederick Douglass

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.

John Brown

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.

Fairfield’s strategy was to go around the southern United States appearing as a slave broker. He managed to elude capture twice. He died in 1860 in Tennessee, during the American Reconstruction Era.

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.

Sources

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 Secret History of the Underground Railroad

Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race was the title of a series published by De Bow’s Review, a leading Southern periodical, a decade before the Civil War. The series was deemed necessary by the editors because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  • However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  • How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
  • Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  • The word “Underground Railroad” brings up pictures of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and moonlit routes through the woods in the minds of most people today, just as it did in the minds of most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  • The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of isolated, unconnected escapes?
  • Which historians you trust in will determine the solutions.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “great and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, as well as a “great and intricate network” of agents (nearly all of them white).

  1. “I escaped without the assistance.
  2. C.
  3. “I have freed myself in the manner of a man.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.
  4. The journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of runaway slaves in the 1850s was found by an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University while working on her final thesis some years ago, and this discovery served as the inspiration for his current book.
  5. One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, according to the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always secret at all.
  6. The New York State Vigilance Committee, established in 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad, no matter how unlikely it may seem, became popular fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities.

  1. Political leaders, especially those who had taken vows to protect the Constitution — including the section ordering the return of runaways to their proper masters — blatantly failed to carry out their obligations.
  2. Judge William Jay, a son of the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, made the decision to disregard fugitive slave laws and contributed money to aid runaway slaves who managed to flee.
  3. One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that is worth noting.
  4. It was not recognized for its abolitionist passion, in contrast to places like as Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as communities in upstate New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow newspaper, published shortly before the Civil War, claiming the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off the sale of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  1. Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bondage.
  2. The story begins in 1846, when a man called George Kirk slipped away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be discovered by the captain and shackled while awaiting return to his owner.
  3. The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of local African Americans who were on the lookout for him.
  4. In this case, the same court found other legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in short order this time.
  5. In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  6. Co-conspirator Louis Napoleon, who is thought to be the freeborn son of a Jewish New Yorker and an African American slave, was employed as an office porter in Gay’s office.
  7. Gay was the one who, between 1855 and 1856, maintained the “Record of Fugitives,” which the undergraduate discovered in the Columbia University archives and which chronicled more than 200 escapes.

Dr.

One first-person narrative starts, “I ate one meal a day for eight years.” “It has been sold three times, and it is expected to be sold a fourth time.

Undoubtedly, a countrywide network existed, with its actions sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and timetables were continually changing as well.

As with Gay and Napoleon’s collaboration, its operations frequently brought together people from all walks of life, including the affluent and the poor, black and white.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, went around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insouciantly purchased a steamship ticket to New York from Savannah.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the overall population.

It not only played a role in precipitating the political crisis of the 1850s, but it also galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slave­holders, whether they had personally assisted fugitive slaves, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or simply enjoyed reading about slave escapes in books and newspapers.

More than anything else, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice if necessary.

Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments to escape capture.

Cartwright’s most horrific nightmares.

On one of the Union’s railway lines, an abolitionist discovered that the volume of wartime traffic was at an all-time high—­except on one of them.

The number of solo travelers is quite limited.” And it’s possible that New Yorkers were surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

The accompanying essay, on the other hand, soon put their worries at ease. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park. It was never built.

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