When Was The Act Of Congress And The Underground Railroad? (TOP 5 Tips)

How did people participate in the Underground Railroad?

  • The decision to assist a freedom seeker may have been spontaneous. However, in some places, especially after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Underground Railroad was deliberate and organized. Despite the illegality of their actions, people of all races, class and genders participated in this widespread form of civil disobedience.

How did the government respond to the Underground Railroad?

In response to southerners forcibly removing blacks from the North (including free blacks), most of the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states passed personal liberty laws which required state judges to hold hearings on the status of any blacks who might be claimed as fugitive slaves.

Was the Underground Railroad against the law?

The Underground Railroad was a secret system developed to aid fugitive slaves on their escape to freedom. Involvement with the Underground Railroad was not only dangerous, but it was also illegal.

How did the Underground Railroad affect politics?

The Underground Railroad physically resisted the repressive laws that held slaves in bondage. By provoking fear and anger in the South, and prompting the enactment of harsh legislation that eroded the rights of white Americans, the Underground Railroad was a direct contributing cause of the Civil War.

What year did the Underground Railroad take place?

system used by abolitionists between 1800-1865 to help enslaved African Americans escape to free states.

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.

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.

When was the Underground Railroad most active?

Established in the early 1800s and aided by people involved in the Abolitionist Movement, the underground railroad helped thousands of slaves escape bondage. By one estimate, 100,000 slaves escaped from bondage in the South between 1810 and 1850.

Is there a second season of Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad Season 2 won’t come in 2021 Whether the series is renewed or not, we’ve got some bad news when it comes to the release date. The Underground Railroad Season 2 won’t come in 2021. There simply isn’t enough time to get through all the stages of production now.

Why was the Underground Railroad illegal?

After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act as part of the Compromise of 1850 the Underground Railroad was rerouted to Canada as its final destination. The Act made it illegal for a person to help a run away, and citizens were obliged under the law to help slave catchers arrest fugitive slaves.

When did Harriet Tubman start the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad and Siblings Tubman first encountered the Underground Railroad when she used it to escape slavery herself in 1849. Following a bout of illness and the death of her owner, Tubman decided to escape slavery in Maryland for Philadelphia.

How long did the Underground Railroad take to travel?

The journey would take him 800 miles and six weeks, on a route winding through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, tracing the byways that fugitive slaves took to Canada and freedom.

The Constitution and the Underground Railroad: How a System of Government Dedicated to Liberty Protected Slavery (U.S. National Park Service)

A new clause for the draft constitution was proposed by Pierce Butler and Charles Pinckney, two South Carolina delegates to the Constitutional Convention that met on August 28, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It had been more than three months since the Convention had started considering the new structure of governance. Throughout the summer, there had been extensive and bitter disputes over the impact of slavery on the new form of government being established. Many safeguards to maintain the system of human bondage had been requested and achieved by Southerners throughout the years.

Unknown artist created this piece.

The Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-6088).

The three-fifths provision of the new Constitution included slaves in the calculation of congressional representation, resulting in an increase in the power of slave states in both the House of Representatives and the electoral college as a result.

  • Exports were exempt from taxation by Congress and the states, which safeguarded the tobacco and rice farmed by slaves from being taxed.
  • The Constitution also stated that the national government would suppress “domestic violence” and “insurrections.” When “fugitive slaves and servants” escaped into neighboring states, Butler and Pinckney asked that they be “given up like criminals,” as they had done in the past.
  • The next day, without any further debate or even a formal vote, the Convention passed the Fugitive Slave Clause, which became law in 1850.
  • Although the word slave was avoided, it appeared that if a slave managed to flee to a free state, that state would be unable to free that person, and any runaway who was apprehended would be turned over to the person who had claimed ownership of the slave in the first place.
  • As a result, the phrasing of the sentence, as well as its structural placement, suggested that this was something that the states would have to figure out amongst themselves.
  • Northerners were completely unaware of its capacity to cause harm to their neighbors or to disturb their culture.

During a speech to the South Carolina state assembly, General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (whose younger cousin had submitted the clause) boasted, “We have acquired the right to recapture our slaves in wherever part of America they may seek sanctuary, which is a right we did not have before.” In a similar vein, Edmund Randolph used this phrase to demonstrate that slavery was protected by the Constitution in the Virginia convention.

The author stated that “everyone is aware that slaves are obligated to serve and labor.” Using the Constitution, he contended that “power is granted to slave owners to vindicate their property” since it permitted a Virginian citizen to travel to another state and “take his fugitive slave” and bring “him home.” At the Convention, no one seems to have considered the possibility that the new government might operate as an agent for slaveowners.

  • However, only a few years after the Constitution was ratified, the subject of fugitive slaves and the extradition of felons was brought before Congress for consideration.
  • However, Virginia’s governor rejected, claiming that the free black had in reality been captured and that thus no crime had been committed.
  • As a result, a legislation was passed in 1793 that governed both the return of fugitive felons and the return of runaway slaves.
  • Fugitive slave harborers may be fined up to $500 (a large sum of money at the time), and they could also be sued for the value of any slaves that were not recaptured.
  • People who did not obey the regulations under these state laws were subject to severe penalties under the law.
  • Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that all of these statutes were unconstitutional because, according to the Court, Congress had the only authority to govern the return of fugitive slaves to their homelands.
  • Many northern governments responded by passing legislation prohibiting the use of state property (including jails) for the repatriation of runaway slaves, as well as prohibiting state personnel from taking part in fugitive slave cases.

This landmark anti-slavery ruling mobilized the whole federal government in support of attempts to apprehend runaway slaves in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Fugitive slaves would be extremely difficult to repatriate if they did not have the help of the northern states.

Federal commissioners were appointed in every county around the country as part of the new national law enforcement system.

The commissioners were given the authority to utilize state militias, federal marshals, as well as the Army and Navy, to bring fugitive slaves back to their owners.

The punishment for anybody who assists a slave in fleeing might be six months in jail and a fine of up to a whopping thousand dollars.

It also interfered with the right of the northern states to defend their free black inhabitants from being claimed as fugitives by the federal government.

The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 had a variety of consequences.

Between 1850 and 1861, around 1,000 African-Americans would be deported to the South as a result of this statute.

In state legislatures, courtrooms, and on the streets, there was fierce opposition to the bill throughout the northern United States.

“The Oberlin rescuers at Cuyahoga County prison, c.1859,” says the artist.

The Oberlin-Wellington Rescue became renowned as a result of this incident.

During this time of year when we commemorate Constitution Day, it is important to remember that this document protected slavery and laid the groundwork for the federal government to hunt down and arrest people whose only crime was the color of their skin and their desire to enjoy “the Blessings of Liberty” that the Constitution claimed it was written to achieve.

In some areas, such as upstate New York and northern Ohio, the 1850 law was virtually unenforceable because the average, usually law-abiding citizens participated in the Underground Railroad, choosing to support human liberty and fundamental justice even when the laws of the United States and the Constitution itself criminalized such activities.

Paul Finkelman, Ph.D. He has written more than 50 books and hundreds of articles, and he is a prolific writer. His most recent book, Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court, was released by Harvard University Press in 2018 and is about slavery in the United States Supreme Court.


Gratz College, in collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program, hosted an online seminar wherein Dr. Paul Finkelman, the author of this paper, went into further depth on the ties between the Underground Railroad and the United States Constitution. To see a recording of the webinar, please visit the link provided below the video.

Fugitive Slave Acts

Runaway slaves were captured and returned to their owners under the terms of the Fugitive Slave Acts, which were a set of federal statutes passed in 1850 and 1851, respectively, in the United States. The original Fugitive Slave Act, passed by Congress in 1793, empowered local governments to catch and return fugitive slaves to their owners while also imposing penalties on anybody who assisted them in their escape. Widespread opposition to the 1793 statute resulted in the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which expanded the number of rules applicable to runaways and imposed even harsher penalties for interfering with their arrest or capture attempts.

See also:  How Did The Underground Railroad Affect The North? (Solution)

What Were the Fugitive Slave Acts?

Slave laws were implemented in some of the thirteen original colonies as early as 1643 and the New England Confederation, and slave laws were afterwards enacted in a number of the thirteen original colonies. Runaways were prevented from going to Canada by a 1705 statute established by New York, while Virginia and Maryland developed laws giving rewards for the apprehension and return of fugitive enslaved individuals in the United States and Canada, among other things. As at the time of the Constitutional Convention (in 1787), numerous northern states had abolished slavery.

Southern officials were afraid that these new free states might serve as safe havens for fugitive slaves and were relieved to discover that the Constitution had a “Fugitive Slave Clause.” According to this clause (Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3) in the case that a person confined to service or labor fled to a free state, he or she would not be liberated from their bondage obligations.

Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

However, even after the Fugitive Slave Clause was ratified into law in the United States Constitution, anti-slavery feeling persisted in most of the Northern United States during the late 1780s and early 1790s, with many petitioning Congress to abolish the institution entirely. Ultimately, Congress approved the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, in response to increased pressure from Southern legislators, who believed that the slave question was causing a wedge between the newly constituted states. Many of the provisions of this decree were identical to those of the Fugitive Slave Clause, but it offered a more thorough description of how the legislation was to be put into effect.

  1. In the case that they apprehended a suspected runaway, these hunters were required to take them before a judge and present documentation demonstrating that the individual was their property.
  2. A $500 fine was also levied on anybody who assisted in harboring or concealing fugitives under the terms of the statute.
  3. Northerners were outraged at the prospect of their states becoming a hunting ground for bounty hunters, and many contended that the law amounted to legalized kidnapping in the first instance.
  4. Most Northern states refused to be implicated in the system of slavery and, as a result, they purposefully ignored to enforce the legislation.

They even enacted “Personal Liberty Laws,” which granted alleged runaways the chance to stand trial in front of a jury and also safeguarded free blacks, many of whom had been seized by bounty hunters and sold into slavery.

Prigg v. Pennsylvania

It wasn’t until the 1842 Supreme Court case Prigg v. Pennsylvania that the validity of Personal Liberty Statutes was called into question. After capturing a suspected slave in Pennsylvania, Edward Prigg, a Maryland man, was charged with kidnapped and sentenced to prison. The Supreme Court found in Prigg’s favor, establishing the precedent that federal law trumped any state actions that sought to interfere with the Fugitive Slave Act, as interpreted by the Court. Despite landmark judgements such as Prigg v.

As early as the mid-nineteenth century, thousands of enslaved individuals had fled to free states through networks such as the Underground Railroad.

Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

Because of rising pressure from Southern lawmakers, Congress amended the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 and approved a new version the following year. This new rule, which was enacted as part of Henry Clay’s renowned Compromise of 1850—a set of laws that helped quell early aspirations for Southern secession—forcibly required individuals to aid in the arrest of runaway children. Moreover, it removed the right to a jury trial from the hands of enslaved people and increased the punishment for interfering with the rendition process to $1,000 and six months in prison.

  1. They were compensated more for returning a suspected runaway than they were for freeing them, prompting many to believe the legislation was prejudiced in favor of slaveholders in the Southern United States.
  2. As a result, states such as Vermont and Wisconsin developed additional legislation aimed at circumventing and even nullifying the rule, while abolitionists stepped up their efforts to help runaways.
  3. On rare occasions, the resistance erupted into riots and revolutions.
  4. Similar rescues were carried out in the following years in New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Repeal of the Fugitive Slave Acts

Widespread resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 resulted in the statute becoming essentially unenforceable in several Northern states by 1860, with only around 330 enslaved persons successfully returned to their Southern masters. Despite the fact that Republican and Free Soil members periodically filed measures and resolutions relating to the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act, the statute remained in effect until after the outbreak of the Civil War.

It wasn’t until a joint resolution of Congress passed on June 28, 1864, that both of the Fugitive Slave Acts were abolished.

Fugitive Slave Acts

Historically, the Fugitive Slave Acts were two pieces of legislation established by Congress in 1793 and 1850 (and repealed in 1864) that allowed for the capture and return of fugitive slaves who escaped from one state into another or into a federally administered region. The 1793 legislation carried out Article IV, Section 2 of the United States Constitution by permitting any federal district judge or circuit court judge, as well as any state magistrate, to determine the legal status of an accused fugitive slave without the need for a trial by jury.

  1. These laws established that fugitives who challenged an initial ruling against them were entitled to a jury trial.
  2. The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes.
  3. Weber (c.1893).
  4. (neg.
  5. LC-USZ62-28860) Quiz on the Encyclopedia Britannica This quiz will examine the history of slavery and resistance.
  6. Who was the leader of the mutiny of 53 enslaved individuals on the Spanish slave ship Amistad that occurred in 1839?
  7. Take the quiz to find out.

Under this rule, fugitives were not permitted to testify in their own defense, nor were they given the opportunity to stand trial before a jury.

In addition, under the 1850 statute, special commissioners were to have concurrent jurisdiction with the United States courts in the enforcement of the law.

There was a rise in the number of abolitionists, the Underground Railroad activities grew more efficient, and new personal-liberty legislation were established in several Northern states during this period.

The attempts to put the legislation of 1850 into action sparked a great deal of animosity and were very certainly responsible for stoking sectional antagonism as much as the debate over slavery in the territory.

The Library of Congress’s Printed Ephemera Collection is located in Washington, D.C.

Portfolio 22, Folder 12b) A period of time during the American Civil War was regarded to be a period of time during which the Fugitive Slave Acts were still in effect in the instance of Blacks fleeing from masters in border states that were loyal to the Union authority.

It wasn’t until June 28, 1864, that the acts were finally overturned by the legislature. Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica Adam Augustyn was the author of the most recent revision and update to this article.

National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998 (1998 – H.R. 1635)

In order to establish the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program within the United States National Park Service, among other things, the following legislation was passed:

H.R. 1635 (105th) was a bill in the United States Congress.

To become law, a bill must be passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in exactly the same form, and then signed by the President. Every two years, the bill numbers are reset. This implies that there are further legislation with the number H.R. 1635. This is the one from the 105thCongress of the United States. This measure was submitted in the 105thCongress, which ran from January 7, 1997, to December 19, 1998, and was passed by unanimous consent. If a piece of legislation does not pass by the conclusion of a Congress, it is struck from the books.

How to cite this information.

When utilizing the material you find on this site in an academic paper, we recommend that you use the MLA citation style as follows: Act to establish a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998 (H.R. 1635 — 105th Congress). January 3, 2022 is the year 1997.

  • Another citation format is available: APA, Blue Book, Wikipedia Template, and others.

Where is this information from?

GovTrack gathers legislative information from a range of official and non-governmental sources in an automated fashion. The majority of the information on this page comes from Congress.gov, the official website of the United States Congress. Congress.gov is normally updated one day after events take place, therefore the legislative action displayed here may be one day behind the actual occurrence. The data comes from theCongress project.

S.2070 – 105th Congress (1997-1998): Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Act

Sponsor: Sen. DeWine, Mike(Introduced 05/12/1998)
Committees: Senate – Labor and Human Resources
Latest Action: Senate – 05/12/1998 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Labor and Human Resources.(All Actions)


This bill has been assigned the status of Introduced. The following are the measures to be taken for the Status of Legislation:


A grant from the Department of Education to one or more nonprofit educational organizations that are established to research, display, interpret, and collect artifacts related to the history of the Underground Railroad is authorized under the Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009. The provisions of the grant agreement are outlined in this document. Appropriations are authorized.

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The Congressional Cemetery: A Stop on the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom

Historic monuments and markers may be found in abundance around Washington, D.C. and its surrounding environs, as well as in the city itself. Several lesser-known memorials are featured today, with a particular emphasis on those buried in the Capitol Cemetery who have been recognized by the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Read on for more information. The Network to Freedom program, which was established by an act of Congress in 1998, brings together government entities with individuals and organizations in order to “honor, preserve, and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, which continues to inspire people throughout the world.” Researchers who are interested in knowing more about the hundreds of locations that have been declared under this program can use an interactive map built by the National Park Service to discover more about the sites, programs, and facilities that have been recognized.

  1. This is a screenshot of the National Park Service’s interactive map, which shows locations associated with the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
  2. This section contains information about where each person’s tombstone may be found in the Capitol Cemetery, as shown by the information in parentheses.
  3. (R5 S222) William Boyd was born in 1820 and died in 1884.
  4. On the Underground Railroad, William Boyd was referred to as a “conductor.” In a February 14, 1854 (col.
  5. and would make his way to the Pennsylvania line.” In November 1858, he was apprehended near Pennsylvania with two enslaved persons (col.
  6. President Abraham Lincoln pardoned Boyd in 1863, allowing him to continue his anti-slavery activism while staying in Washington, D.C.
  7. in 1865 when Boyd was struck in the face with a brick, which cracked his jaw and caused blindness in one eye.


John Dean was born in 1813 and died in 1863.

Anna Price captured this image.


As soon as he arrived, he began taking up instances in which the implementation of “fugitive slave laws,” namely the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, was being challenged.

2), but he was unsuccessful in all of them.

5) to escape being recaptured by the authorities.


Hall, 1795-1870 (R34 S63) David A.

Anna Price captured this image.

When Hall practiced law, he defended freedom-seekers in courts throughout the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Several years ago, Jones and Hall filed a petition with the United States Congress, which was presented to Congress by Rep.

The petition stated that Jones had been informed that he would be “sold as a slave by the marshal of the United States to pay the expenses of his imprisonment.” In addition, Hall represented persons who were charged with crimes in connection with the Pearlincident.

3), who was imprisoned for carrying two enslaved persons from Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia.

(R64 S75) Hannibal Hamlin was born in 1809 and died in 1862.

Hamlin was born in 1809 in New York City and moved to Washington, D.C.

As a result of rumors that President Lincoln was preparing to sign a bill emancipating enslaved individuals in Washington, D.C., numerous freedom-seekers from Maryland and Virginia were migrating to the region at this time.

in response to the surge of refugees (col.

This organization’s mission, according to a publication about it in The Evening Star, is to provide support and safety to the enormous number of ‘contrabands’ whofly to Washington as a city of sanctuary every day of the year.

Following his journey, he became unwell and died on November 14, 1862.


Rebecca Roberts tells us a story about the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

TOPN: National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998

What exactly is in a well-known moniker? As legislation progresses through the legislative process in Congress, it is given popular titles. Sometimes the titles of laws provide information about the substance of the legislation (as in the case of the ‘2002 Winter Olympic Commemorative Coin Act’). Sometimes they are used to recognize or celebrate the sponsor or inventor of a certain legislation (as in the case of the ‘Taft-Hartley Act’). As well as garnering political support for a legislation by giving it an appealing name (such as the “Take Pride in America Act”) or by inciting widespread public indignation or compassion, occasionally they are used to sway public opinion against a particular law (as with any number of laws named for victims of crimes).

  1. Why can’t these well-known names be easily located in the United States Code?
  2. According to its creators, the United States Code is intended to be an orderly and logical collection of legislation established by Congress.
  3. At the most basic level, it divides the world of legislation into fifty topically organized Titles, each of which is further subdivided into any number of logical subtopics.
  4. The law on the other hand, is frequently composed of a collection of provisions that are not connected to one another but which together address a specific public need or problem.
  5. Each of these separate clauses would, presumably, have a different location in the Code if they were written as a whole.
  6. The process of putting a newly-passed piece of legislation into the Code is known as “classification,” and it is simply a process of determining where the various components of the particular law should be placed in the logical framework of the Code.
  7. And, as we previously stated, a given legislation may be small in scope, making it both straightforward and logical to relocate it wholesale into a specific space in the Code of Federal Regulations.

As a result, the law is rarely located in a single location that can be easily identified by its well-known name.

Instead, individuals who classify laws into the Code often provide a comment stating why a specific law has been classified into the Code in that particular instance.

Our Table of Popular Names is arranged alphabetically by popular name in the order in which they were submitted.

One, a reference to a Public Law number, is a link to the law as it was originally enacted by Congress, and it will direct you to either the LRC THOMAS legislative system or the GPO FDSYS website to see the document.

Lastly, while certain acts may be known by another title, and some others could be new, the links will lead you to the relevant section of the table where you can find out more about them.

The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998 (Pub. L. 105-203, July 21, 1998, 112 Stat. 678) established a national underground railroad network to freedom. See 54 U.S.C. 100101 for a brief summary of the statute.

Congress enacts first fugitive slave law, Feb. 12, 1793

The first runaway slave statute was passed on this day in 1793 by the United States Congress. Slave fugitives who had fled from other states were supposed to be returned to their owners by force in every state, including those that prohibited slavery. The result in the House was 48-7, with 14 MPs voting against it. The act carried out Article IV of the Constitution — which was later abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment — which required the federal government to apprehend fugitive slaves if they escaped.

  1. Many of them passed legislation that guaranteed fugitive slaves the right to a jury trial.
  2. According to these so-called personal liberty statutes, slave owners and fugitive hunters were obliged to present evidence that their prisoners were in fact fugitive slaves before they could be released.
  3. It called for the return of slaves “under pain of severe punishment,” yet it allowed for a jury trial under the condition that fugitives be barred from testifying in their own defense.
  4. Fugitive slaves also found ways to get around the law by using the Underground Railroad, which was a network mostly comprised of abolitionists and free African-Americans who assisted fugitives in escaping to northern states or Canada during the Civil War.
  5. As a result of the backlash, Southern states were increasingly under pressure to split from the Union.

Underground Railroad Initiative

It is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct a public outreach program to encourage study, identification, and protection activities for the state’s Underground Railroad materials. Identifying locations, individuals, and events related with Underground Railroad involvement in Indiana is the purpose of this initiative, which was established in 2008. To this aim, the DHPA collaborates with the National Park Service (NPS) to support their National Network to Freedom Program, as well as with local groups and people who donate many hours of volunteer research that are critical to the continuation of this program.

  1. The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act, approved by Congress in 1998, established a national underground railroad network to freedom.
  2. The Nationwide Park Service was tasked by Congress with developing a national program for the identification, interpretation, and preservation of sites and resources linked with the Underground Railroad throughout the United States.
  3. Following the passing of the Network to Freedom Act in 1998, the Department of Health and Human Services conducted a midwestern regional conference at which NPS employees began training states about the newly created program.
  4. We remain a significant partner of this community-based, statewide organization and are continuing to collaborate with IFT volunteers in order to finish the archival research required to identify the places, structures, and persons who were involved in the Underground Railroad.
  5. Education and outreach to the general public The Department of Homeland Security and Public Safety (DHPA) sponsors a number of educational, training, and outreach activities for the general public as part of the Underground Railroad Initiative.

Staff members also give guidance and assistance to local historical organizations and individuals in their research efforts, as well as technical assistance in the submission of nominations for the National Register of Historic Places and the National Network to Freedom.

  • The following is a list of Underground Railroad Educational Resources:

Summit on the Underground Railroad The annual Underground Railroad Summit was initially held in 2001 as a way for scholars to network and discuss their findings with other like-minded individuals. It is held every year and focuses on different parts of study while also highlighting various Indiana localities that were involved in Underground Railroad activities. Facilitation of research and public presentations are two of my specialties. This agency collaborates with organizations that contain Underground Railroad collections and refers scholars to these repositories.

  1. Furthermore, the DHPA Underground Railroad Initiative staff offers lectures and presentations to a range of public and private organizations in order to enhance awareness of this significant aspect of state and national history.
  2. The Wilbur Siebert Underground Railroad information index is available in PDF format.
  3. Siebert’s documents during his time in the state.
  4. This database is only a networking tool designed to bring together scholars who are interested in the same persons, properties, and locations in order to facilitate collaboration.
  5. Note that this is not a comprehensive or definitive list, and that the material provided for each item is often of a very restricted scope.
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Underground Railroad Resources

  • Underground Railroad Initiative, Network to Freedom, and Historic Markers are just a few examples. Underground Railroad Sites in Indiana
  • History of the Underground Railroad in Indiana
  • Indiana Freedom Trails Website
  • Wilbur Siebert UGRR Index
  • Underground Railroad Sites in Indiana

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.

Stations were the names given to the safe homes that were utilized as hiding places along the routes of the Underground Railroad. 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.

  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.

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