The code words often used on the Underground Railroad were: “tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who helped the slaves connect to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in
What were the stops on the Underground Railroad called?
- Often, escaped slaves would hide in homes or on the property of antislavery supporters. These stops to freedom were called Underground Railroad stations because they resembled stops a train would make between destinations. “Underground” refers the the secret nature of the system.
What were the stations of the Underground Railroad?
Hiding places included private homes, churches and schoolhouses. 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.
Where did the Underground Railroad stop?
Where did the Underground Railroad go? The Underground Railroad went north to freedom. Sometimes passengers stopped when they reached a free state such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Ohio. After 1850, most escaping enslaved people traveled all the way to Canada.
How many stops did the Underground Railroad have?
6 Stops on the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network of people who hid fugitives from slavery in their homes during the day. At night they moved them north to free states, Canada or England. Refugees naturally headed for New England.
What was a codename for the stops along the Underground Railroad?
in 1967, he mentioned that African-Americans in slavery often called Canada “Heaven.” It was a code name used by people who were part of the Underground Railroad.
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 the main station of the Underground Railroad?
With it’s sophisticated network of conductors, proximity north of the Ohio River and defiant free African Americans, Cincinnati was the Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad.
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.
What happened to Cesar in the Underground Railroad?
While the show doesn’t show us what happens after their encounter, Caesar comes to Cora in a dream later, confirming to viewers that he was killed. In the novel, Caesar faces a similar fate of being killed following his capture, though instead of Ridgeway and Homer, he is killed by an angry mob.
Was there a true underground railroad?
Nope! Despite its name, the Underground Railroad wasn’t a railroad in the way Amtrak or commuter rail is. It wasn’t even a real railroad. The Underground Railroad of history was simply a loose network of safe houses and top secret routes to states where slavery was banned.
How did the Underground Railroad end?
On January 1st, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation liberating slaves in Confederate states. After the war ended, the 13th amendment to the Constitution was approved in 1865 which abolished slavery in the entire United States and therefore was the end of the Underground Railroad.
What does the code word liberty lines mean?
Other code words for slaves included “freight,” “passengers,” “parcels,” and “bundles.” Liberty Lines – The routes followed by slaves to freedom were called “liberty lines” or “freedom trails.” Routes were kept secret and seldom discussed by slaves even after their escape.
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).
Why was Canada called the Promised Land?
Most former slaves settled in Ontario. More than 30,000 were said to have escaped there via the Underground Railroad during its twenty-year peak period. Ann enlightened us with some of the terminology used by slaves to maneuver the secret routes.
Underground Railroad Terminology
Written by Dr. Bryan Walls As a descendant of slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad, I grew up enthralled by the stories my family’s “Griot” told me about his ancestors. It was my Aunt Stella who was known as the “Griot,” which is an African name that means “keeper of the oral history,” since she was the storyteller of our family. Despite the fact that she died in 1986 at the age of 102, her mind remained keen till the very end of her life. During a conversation with my Aunt Stella, she informed me that John Freeman Walls was born in 1813 in Rockingham County, North Carolina and journeyed on the Underground Railroad to Maidstone, Ontario in 1846.
Many historians believe that the Underground Railroad was the first big liberation movement in the Americas, and that it was the first time that people of many races and faiths came together in peace to fight for freedom and justice in the United States.
Escaped slaves, as well as those who supported them, need rapid thinking as well as a wealth of insight and information.
The Underground Railroad Freedom Movement reached its zenith between 1820 and 1865, when it was at its most active.
- A Kentucky fugitive slave by the name of Tice Davids allegedly swam across the Ohio River as slave catchers, including his former owner, were close on his trail, according to legend.
- He was most likely assisted by nice individuals who were opposed to slavery and wanted the practice to be abolished.
- “He must have gotten away and joined the underground railroad,” the enraged slave owner was overheard saying.
- As a result, railroad jargon was employed in order to maintain secrecy and confound the slave hunters.
- In this way, escaping slaves would go through the forests at night and hide during the daytime hours.
- In order to satiate their hunger for freedom and proceed along the treacherous Underground Railroad to the heaven they sung about in their songs—namely, the northern United States and Canada—they took this risky route across the wilderness.
- Despite the fact that they were not permitted to receive an education, the slaves were clever folks.
Freedom seekers may use maps created by former slaves, White abolitionists, and free Blacks to find their way about when traveling was possible during the day time.
The paths were frequently not in straight lines; instead, they zigzagged across wide places in order to vary their smell and confuse the bloodhounds on the trail.
The slaves could not transport a large amount of goods since doing so would cause them to become sluggish.
Enslaved people traveled the Underground Railroad and relied on the plant life they encountered for sustenance and medical treatment.
The enslaved discovered that Echinacea strengthens the immune system, mint relieves indigestion, roots can be used to make tea, and plants can be used to make poultices even in the winter when they are dormant, among other things.
After all, despite what their owners may have told them, the Detroit River is not 5,000 miles wide, and the crows in Canada will not peck their eyes out.
Hopefully, for the sake of the Freedom Seeker, these words would be replaced by lyrics from the “Song of the Fugitive: The Great Escape.” The brutal wrongs of slavery I can no longer tolerate; my heart is broken within me, for as long as I remain a slave, I am determined to strike a blow for freedom or the tomb.” I am now embarking for yonder beach, beautiful land of liberty; our ship will soon get me to the other side, and I will then be liberated.
No more will I be terrified of the auctioneer, nor will I be terrified of the Master’s frowns; no longer will I quiver at the sound of the dogs baying.
All of the brave individuals who were participating in the Underground Railroad Freedom Movement had to acquire new jargon and codes in order to survive. To go to the Promised Land, one needed to have a high level of ability and knowledge.
Eastern Illinois University : Teaching with Primary Sources
However, many of the intriguing and lesser known elements of the Underground Railroad are not included in many textbooks, despite the fact that it is an essential part of our nation’s history. It is intended that this booklet will serve as a window into the past by presenting a number of original documents pertaining to the Underground Railroad. Broadsides, prize posters, newspaper clippings, historical records, sheet music, pictures, and memoirs connected to the Underground Railroad are among the primary sources included in this collection.
- The Underground Railroad was a covert structure established to assist fugitive slaves on their journey to freedom in the United States.
- As a result, secret codes were developed to aid in the protection of themselves and their purpose.
- Runaway slaves were referred to as cargo, and the free persons who assisted them on their journey to freedom were referred to as conductors.
- These stations would be identified by a lantern that was lighted and hung outside.
A Dangerous Path to Freedom
Traveling through the Underground Railroad to seek their freedom was a lengthy and risky trek for escaped slaves. Runaway slaves were forced to travel long distances, sometimes on foot, in a short amount of time in order to escape. They accomplished this while surviving on little or no food and with little protection from the slave hunters who were rushing after them in the night. Slave owners were not the only ones who sought for and apprehended fleeing slaves. For the purpose of encouraging people to aid in the capture of these slaves, their owners would post reward posters offering monetary compensation for assisting in the capture of their property.
- Numerous arrested fugitive slaves were beaten, branded, imprisoned, sold back into slavery, or sometimes killed once they were apprehended.
- They would have to fend off creatures that wanted to kill and devour them while trekking for lengthy periods of time in the wilderness, as well as cross dangerous terrain and endure extreme temperatures.
- The Fleeing Slave Law of 1850 permitted and promoted the arrest of fugitive slaves since they were regarded as stolen property rather than mistreated human beings under the law at the time.
- They would not be able to achieve safety and freedom until they crossed the border into Canada.
- Aside from that, there were Underground Railroad routes that ran south, on their way to Mexico and the Caribbean.
- He was kidnapped from his northern abode, arrested, and prosecuted in Boston, Massachusetts, under the provisions of this legislation.
- After the trial, Burns was returned to the harshness of the southern states, from which he had thought he had fled.
American Memory and America’s Library are two names for the Library of Congress’ American Memory and America’s Library collections.
He did not escape via the Underground Railroad, but rather on a regular railroad.
Since he was a fugitive slave who did not have any “free papers,” he had to borrow a seaman’s protection certificate, which indicated that a seaman was a citizen of the United States, in order to prove that he was free.
Unfortunately, not all fugitive slaves were successful in their quest for freedom.
Harriet Tubman, Henry Bibb, Anthony Burns, Addison White, Josiah Henson, and John Parker were just a few of the people who managed to escape slavery using the Underground Railroad system.
He shipped himself from Richmond, Virginia, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a box that measured three feet long, two and a half feet deep, and two feet in diameter. When he was finally let out of the crate, he burst out singing.
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.
- I began making preparations for the potentially lethal experiment of breading the shackles that tied me as a slave as soon as the clock struck twelve.
- On the twenty-fifth of December, 1837, the long-awaited day had finally arrived when I would put into effect my previous determination, which was to flee for Liberty or accept death as a slave, as I had previously stated.
- It took every ounce of moral strength I have to keep my emotions under control as I said goodbye to my small family.
- Despite the fact that every incentive was extended to me in order to flee if I want to be free, and the call of liberty was booming in my own spirit, ‘Be free, oh, man!
- I was up against a slew of hurdles that had gathered around my mind, attempting to bind my wounded soul, which was still imprisoned in the dark prison of mental degeneration.
- Furthermore, the danger of being killed or arrested and deported to the far South, where I would be forced to spend the rest of my days in hopeless bondage on a cotton or sugar plantation, all conspired to discourage me.
- The moment has come for me to follow through on my commitment.
- This marked the beginning of the construction of what was known as the underground rail route to Canada.
For nearly forty-eight hours, I pushed myself to complete my journey without food or rest, battling against external difficulties that no one who has never experienced them can comprehend: “not knowing when I might be captured while traveling among strangers, through cold and fear, braving the north winds while wearing only a thin layer of clothing, pelted by snow storms through the dark hours of the night, and not a single house in which I could enter to protect me from the storm.” This is merely one of several accounts penned by runaway slaves who were on the run from their masters.
Sojourner Truth was another former slave who became well-known for her work to bring slavery to an end.
Green and many others, including Josiah Henson, authored autobiographies in which they described their own personal experiences.
Perhaps a large number of escaped slaves opted to write down their experiences in order to assist people better comprehend their struggles and tribulations; or perhaps they did so in order to help folks learn from the mistakes of the past in order to create a better future for themselves.
The Wayside and the Underground Railroad – Minute Man National Historical Park (U.S. National Park Service)
The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program, which is sponsored by the National Park Service, includes the Wayside as a component. As part of our national civil rights movement, this program commemorates and preserves the historical significance of the Underground Railroad, which sought to address the injustices of slavery and make freedom a reality in the United States. The Underground Railroad was a critical component in the development of our national civil rights movement.
Slavery in Concord Pre-Revolution
The institution of slavery was established shortly after the arrival of European colonists, and it had a profound influence on every area of Anglo-European life, even the little village of Concord. Samuel Whitney, a merchant, representative to the Provincial Congress, and muster master of the Concord Minute Men, enslaved two men in his home, which is now known as The Wayside, in Concord, Massachusetts. When the American Revolutionary War began, Samuel Whitney’s family was one of twelve enslaved households in Concord, Massachusetts.
Despite the fact that the specifics of Casey’s voyage remain a mystery, he was able to return to Concord as a free man following the war.
Enslavers and Patriots
During the American Revolutionary War, colonial patriots expressed their dedication to the battle for independence and took the first military stand against British rule in April 1775, they did so while keeping a solid hold on the institution of human slavery. Everyone was perplexed by this apparent contradiction. “I question if Liberty is so a constricted an idea as to be Confined to any country under Heaven; nay, I believe it is not hyperbolic to assert, that Even an Affrican, has Equally as good a claim to his Liberty in conjunction with Englishmen,” wrote Lemuel Haynes, an African American Patriot.
After the Revolution
People of color battled for their freedom in a variety of ways, including through a series of lawsuits that have come to be known as the Freedom Suits. When the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled slavery to be incompatible with the state’s 1780 constitution, it was the first time in the country. Although the state did not completely abolish slavery, these triumphs heralded the beginning of a period of gradual liberation. For more information about Freedom Suits, please see their website.
Unfortunately, the system of slavery spread rapidly across the United States.
By the early 1800s, a significant population of free African Americans and other freedom seekers had emerged in Boston.
They were immediately endangered by the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which was passed in 1850. The Boston African American National Historical Site provides further information on this community. Louisa May Alcott was an American author and poet who lived during the early twentieth century.
Freedom Seekers at Hillside
It was held by Bronson and Abigail Alcott, whose children were named Anna, Louisa, Elizabeth, and May, by April of 1845. The Wayside was originally known as “Hillside.” Their family was involved in abolitionist groups in Concord and around the United States, and the Alcotts were among the most renowned abolitionists in Concord. The Alcotts provided assistance to at least one freedom seeker on his way to freedom through the Underground Railroad between late 1846 and early 1847. An extensive network of safe houses and sympathetic persons assisted in the transportation of freedom seekers out of slavery.
- Alcott wrote the following letter to her brother in January 1847: “We’ve had an intriguing fugitive in our midst for the past two weeks—he hails from Maryland.
- His torment has been immense, and his tenacity is unmatched in the world.
- He claims that it is the only way that the abolition of slavery will ever be accomplished.
- A national boycott of commodities made with slave labor was advocated by the family in the goal of bringing about a speedy settlement; but, the system remained in place for another eighteen years, until the American Civil War.
- He possesses many of the characteristics of a hero.
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?
For enslaved persons seeking freedom, Western Pennsylvania served as a key corridor via which they might travel. They traveled largely on foot, with the odd trip in secret compartments of wagons and other modes of conveyance. They followed paths that had been sculpted by nature through rivers, streams, and mountains, and they did it mostly on foot. It is impossible to know how many there were because no formal records were kept and just a few informal ones have survived. Some writings written by people who aided in this subterranean process—sometimes referred to as “conductors”—have survived, providing some indication of the hardships suffered by those going on the railroad.
- Affected by the Fugitive Slave Laws were also free individuals of African descent who resided in the region.
- Even more were transformed into the voice of social transformation and self-empowerment for all Blacks of the time period and beyond.
- From Slavery to Freedom, an exhibition at the Senator John Heinz History Center, will take you on a journey through more than 250 years of African-American history.
- One of the several Underground Railroad routes in western Pennsylvania entered through Uniontown in Fayette County, proceeded through Blairsville in Indiana County, and then continued on into Mercer, Venango, and Erie Counties before coming to an end in the city of Pittsburgh.
There are tours of the town and cemetery offered by The Blairsville Area Underground Railroad Project, which also offers tours to UGRR-related locations, such as the Underground Railroad Museum.
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.
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
Mercer County Historical Society 119 South Pitt St. Mercer, PA 16137 (724.662.3490) Mercer County Historical Society The Stoneboro Fairgrounds Cemetery is located on the right side of the road, directly across from the entrance gate. Liberia was a runaway slave settlement founded by the Travis family, who were themselves free Blacks. All that is left of Liberia is a cemetery. For many years, this town served as a haven for tired travelers on their journey. A popular target of slave catchers, it was also a frequent target of their raids.
Only a handful of people remained in the region, including one entrepreneur who sold cigars and alcohol to his neighbors.
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.
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
Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill neighborhood It is believed that the fugitives were hiding out in private homes in the predominantly African-American neighborhoods of Arthurville and Hayti, where they were assisted by agents and conductors such as the Rev. Lewis Woodson, Samuel Bruce, George Gardner and Bishop Benjamin Tanner, the father of the noted black artist Henry Ossawa Tanner, who is depicted on a United States postage stamp.
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
Hill District, 2200 Wylie Avenue, 2200 Wylie Avenue On July 11, 1850, a group of African American residents gathered at the church and passed resolutions criticizing the recently proposed Fugitive Slave Bill, which had been sponsored by the United States Congress. A request was made at this assembly for the complete amalgamation of their organizations in order to secure protection against slave hunters who come into Pittsburgh in search of fugitives.
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.
- Avery’s riches enabled him to build the Allegheny Institute and Mission Church, which became known as Avery College.
- 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.
- During the night, a rowboat was employed to transport them up the canal to the tunnel entrance in secrecy.
- When Avery passed away, his net worth was estimated to be $800,000.
- 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.
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.
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.
On The Way To Freedom: 7 Stops Along Pennsylvania’s Underground Railroad
We take pleasure in a sense of liberation. We have complete freedom to come and go as we like and travel by any methods we choose. What if you had to leave the only home you’ve ever known in order to go to a foreign country, fearing for your safety on every leg of the journey? This is exactly what enslaved people did when they were able to flee the southern states and travel north. It was one step closer to freedom with every station stop on the subterranean railroad that ran throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
- As a result of my conversation with the innkeeper, I discovered that New Hope was a frequent stop on the underground railroad.
- I was astonished by what I discovered.
- Once enslaved persons crossed the boundaries into Pennsylvania from Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia (now West Virginia), there were a large number of abolitionists who were eager to assist them.
- As the first free state north of the Mason-Dixon line, Pennsylvania served as a hub for the Underground Railroad, providing multiple points of entry and resting places for those seeking freedom.
- Every safety stop along the journey was referred to as a station or depot by the crew.
- The “conductors,” persons who aided enslaved people seeking freedom, put their own lives at danger as part of the covert efforts to free themselves.
- The Underground Railroad was in operation from roughly 1831 until enslaved people were emancipated during the Civil War, when it was decommissioned.
- They primarily went on foot, with the odd journey in carts, boats, or railroad carriages with concealed compartments for convenience.
The most of them aspired to travel to Canada, where they would be able to live their lives as they pleased. Let’s take a look at some of the important stations along the Underground Railroad’s route across Pennsylvania’s countryside.
Philadelphia, being the epicenter of the Quaker abolitionist movement and the city where Harriet Tubman was released, played a crucial part in the Underground Railroad’s success or failure. The following are some of the most important places associated with the Underground Railroad that you will not want to miss when you are in the area. According to how many sites you see and other activities you participate in, you might make Philadelphia your home base for a few days or even a couple of weeks.
- He was also rumored to have purchased enslaved persons with the intention of releasing them.
- After that, have a look at the Johnson House Historic Siteattic to see the hidden hiding places, including a trap door.
- The Kennett Underground Railroad Center will assist you in visualizing the journey traveled by those seeking freedom.
- Here’s a guide (in PDF format) to all of the connected historical markers, libraries, monuments, and archives in the surrounding area.
2. New Hope And Bucks County
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is home to churches, farms, taverns, and other places that were formerly part of the Underground Railroad. These locations are located just outside of Philadelphia. Underground Railroad locations may be found in towns including Bristol, Doylestown, Yardley, and New Hope, and they are all available to the public for tours. When visiting this area, you have the option of staying in Philadelphia or in one of the beautiful communities around. When we visited New Hope, we slept at the Wedgwood Inn Bed & Breakfast, which was built in 1870.
- At one end of the property’s side-yard, there’s a gazebo with a hatch door going down into the tunnel system, which was utilized to access to the canal and continue over the Delaware River on their trek north.
- It is included on our list of lovely eastern Pennsylvania communities that you must see while in the area.
- It functioned as a safe haven for members of the Underground Railroad.
- It is estimated that he assisted over 9,000 individuals in their escape from slavery.
- It was discovered in their cellar that an entry to the tunnel system existed.
- The section of the film that discusses the basement chamber begins at 4:38 into the video.
- While you’re there, treat yourself to a delicious lunch or dinner.
- Harriet lived in the region and was a conductor for the Underground Railroad, dedicated her life to the abolition of slavery.
- During the years leading up to the Civil War, she risked her life on multiple occasions to aid approximately 70 freedom seekers on their journey north.
Additionally, there are several other locations in the Bucks County region, and you may use these driving instructions for places in the Upper and Central Bucks County areas. To go around Lower Bucks County, use these driving directions. Photograph courtesy of George Sheldon/Shutterstock
This is the location where it all began. Consider yourself a witness to what remains of the Christiana Resistance, a slave uprising that sparked a national debate about slavery that continues to this day. A self-guided tour is available at the Christiana Underground Railroad Center, located in the historic Zercher’s Hotel. You may retrace the stages of history using maps, tales, and images that are both educational and easy to follow. Photograph courtesy of lcm1863/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
There is plenty of Civil War history to be found at Gettysburg, and one landmark you won’t want to miss is the Dobbin House Tavern, which served as an Underground Railroad safe house. In its current state, it provides beautiful meals in the restaurant and pub, with the opportunity to stay overnight in the bed and breakfast. This unique monument allows visitors to witness the hiding places of freedom seekers, and one of the rooms has a view of the spot where President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
Robin O’Neal Smith is an American actress and singer.
5. Allegheny Portage Railroad
The Pennsylvania Main Line Canal and the Allegheny Portage Railroad both played important roles in the history of the Underground Railroad. The Allegheny Portage Railroad served as a link between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, connecting the two cities by canal. It was made out of inclined planes that transported the boats up and down the mountain that connected Hollidaysburg with Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Photograph courtesy of Zack Frank/Shutterstock The arrangement allowed freedom seekers to continue their journey even if the canals and railways traveled east to west, rather than in the intended south-to-north path that they would have preferred.
Secret chambers on boats and train cars have been discovered, according to historical records.
The Allegheny Portage Railroad Park has been recognized as a location of the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom by the National Park Service.
Make a half-day trip out of it.
6. Blairsville And Indiana County
The Blairsville Underground Railroad History Center acts as an educational resource for the public to learn about the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad Museum, which is housed in the Second Baptist Church building, offers tours of several places associated with the Underground Railroad. From there, you may embark on a three-hour self-guided tour of Indiana County, which will take you down freedom’s journey. Several notable sights, such as the McCune Store, which had a “safe chamber” in the store’s basement that was used to protect people seeking freedom until they could move again, are included on the Indiana County Underground Railroad Driving Tour.
Another visit is the Myers’ House, which served as a refuge and feeding station for freedom seekers. Ruhrfisch courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Blairsville Underground Railroad History Center acts as an educational resource for the public to learn about the history of the Underground Railroad. Tours of several places associated with the Underground Railroad are available in the Second Baptist Church building, which houses the museum. Starting at this location, you may embark on a three-hour self-guided tour through Indiana County to learn about freedom’s journey. Several notable sights, such as the McCune Store, which had a “safe chamber” in the store’s basement that was used to protect people seeking freedom until they could move again, are included on the Indiana County Underground Railroad Driving Tour.
Wikimedia Commons photo courtesy of Ruhrfisch (CC BY-SA 3.0)
- Tips for Making the Most of Your Weekend in Bucks County, Pennsylvania
- A Road Trip Through Alabama’s Civil Rights History: From Anniston to Selma
- Everything You Need to Know About the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C
Detroit’s Underground Railroad History & Historical Sites
You’ve arrived in Detroit, a city that stands out as a beacon of optimism and freedom on a global scale unlike any other. If that doesn’t seem like the Detroit you’re familiar with, how about the fact that more than 50,000 individuals — enough to fill Ford Field – escaped slavery and went to Detroit via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War? The Underground Railroad was a network of passageways that ran throughout the United States and eventually to Canada, where slavery was abolished and everyone was afforded equal protection under the laws.
Because of its near proximity to Canada, Detroit’s “stations” (or hiding sites) were critical stops on the road to escape for the Underground Railroad.
Why was the Underground Railroad important?
Human ownership was lawful in the United States until 1865, more than a century after the country was founded on the values of freedom and equality. Africans were enslaved by Europeans and subjected to the Triangular Trade, which consisted of traffickers transporting captives from Africa to the Americas and Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. African slaves were compelled to reside on their owner’s land in order to cultivate or offer other services such as weaving, cleaning, and masonry without recompense or the opportunity to leave their owners’ land.
This was the genesis of the Civil Battle, which has been referred to as “the war against one’s own neighbor.” In order to assist slaves in escaping the horrors of their situation in the southern United States and escaping to freedom in the northern United States and Canada, the Underground Railroad was established.
How did the Underground Railroad Work?
This hidden system was not always subterranean, and it was not a railroad in the traditional sense. Conductors were guides who guided freedom seekers to the next safest hiding location, while station masters provided them with food and lodging for a brief period of time before their daring departure from the country. While Hollywood portrays sensationalized versions of these perilous exploits, it’s crucial to remember that the Underground Railroad’s decades-long success may be attributed to the ingenuity with which the persecuted managed to remain hidden in plain sight.
In a time when maps were few, evacuees relied on methods such as maps sewed into quilts, directions disguised as songs, stars, or even the moss on trees to pinpoint their whereabouts in the north.
The Underground Railroad was comprised of around 3,000 individuals of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds who, by 1861, had assisted 75,000 people in their quest for freedom, many of whom had escaped through Detroit.
Next Stop: Midnight
For so many people who were brought or were born in this country under the oppression of slavery, Detroit represented a beacon of hope for a better future. In those days, Detroit was referred to as Midnight, and it was the penultimate destination before reaching Canada, which had abolished slavery. Michigan has played a significant role in that tradition, and Detroit is the personification of freedom’s unbroken spirit of determination. This, I believe, opens up fresh perspectives on the essence of our city’s Spirit of Detroit.
Underground Railroad Historical Sites in Detroit
The city of Detroit still has a number of historical landmarks where you may practically stand in the places where fugitive slaves persevered in their efforts to gain freedom. Located in Hart Plaza, this statue, which overlooks the Detroit River and is unquestionably an international emblem of freedom, is unquestionably a national and worldwide symbol of freedom. Behind the monument, you can see youngsters waving and asking for more to join them as a conductor leads them to safety. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (also known as Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church): It was founded in 1839 as the Colored Methodist Society and played an important role in the Underground Railroad at both of its early locations.
- Antoine St.
- Second Baptist Church: Croghan Street Station is located in the basement of Second Baptist Church, which is located in what is now Detroit’s Greektown district.
- William C.
- Approximately 5,000 fugitive slaves took shelter in this subterranean hiding place.
- Workers uncovered a tunnel beneath the river that had been utilized in the Underground Railroad when the church was moved in 1955 to make space for a new civic center.
- The Residence of George DeBaptiste: This entrepreneur and politician, who was born a free man, assisted former slaves in their escape to freedom over the river from Detroit to Canada.
- Despite the fact that his house is no longer extant, the location is noted at the intersection of East Larned and Beaubien street.
- The Finney Hotel, which originally stood on the southeast intersection of Woodward and Griswold streets in downtown Detroit, was demolished in 2011.
- He was a conductor for the cause even before there were any discussions about reconstruction.
- Tommy’s Detroit BarGrill: It is said that the structure that houses this sports bar was formerly a stop on the Underground Railroad, which is a fascinating fact (and Prohibition for that matter).
An underground passageway beneath the bar is thought to have served as an escape route during both periods of history.
Underground Railroad Tours in Detroit
Tour of the Underground Railroad Station House at First Congregational Church: Hosted by the Underground Railroad Living Museum, this tour is a recreation in which participants are converted into passengers on the Underground Railroad and are guided to freedom by a conductor. Those interested in retracing the routes of former slaves may sign up for their Detroit Underground Railroad walking tour, which is available for booking online. This tour includes a spectacular recreation performed by actors within the Croghan Street Station as part of the experience.
Detroit Historical Museum: Visitors may practically walk along the route to freedom in one section of the exhibit, which has an interactive pathway.
Learn more aboutDetroit’s black history.
Was this article of assistance? YesNo
- 1. The First Congregational Church of Detroit33 E. Forest Ave., Detroit, MI 48201313-831-4080 2. The City Tour Detroit, located at 3401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-833-1805 3. The Detroit Historical Museum5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202313-833-1805 4. The Gateway to Freedom MarkerHart Plaza, located at Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI, USA 5. The Mariner’s Church is located at 170 East Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, Michigan 48226, United States. 8Elmwood Cemetery1200 Elmwood St, Detroit, MI 48207, USA
- 8Elmwood Cemetery1200 Elmwood St, Detroit, MI 48207, USA 9George DeBaptiste’s Home Marker415 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
- 10Finney Hotel Historical Marker1212 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
- 11Tommy’s Detroit BarGrill624 3rd Ave, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
- 12Tommy’s Detroit BarGrill 313-965-2269