Where Did Most Slaves On The Underground Railroad Originate The Deep South? (TOP 5 Tips)

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.

Was the Underground Railroad in the North or South?

Underground Railroad, in the United States, a system existing in the Northern states before the Civil War by which escaped slaves from the South were secretly helped by sympathetic Northerners, in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Acts, to reach places of safety in the North or in Canada.

Where did the Underground Railroad start?

Quincy, Illinois, was the first Underground Railroad station across the border of Missouri—a slave state. An abolitionist, Eells was actively involved in the Underground Railroad. In 1842 he was caught helping an escaped slave, Charley, from Monticello, Missouri.

Where did the Underground Railroad slaves settle?

As a result, great numbers of enslaved freedom seekers made their way to Amherstburg. The famous abolitionist Levi Coffin, during a tour of Upper Canada in 1844, described Amherstburg as the principal terminal settlement in Canada of the Underground Railroad.

What states were part of the Underground Railroad?

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.

Which railroad route did the southerners favor?

Amiel W. Whipple, assistant astronomer of the Mexican Boundary Survey, and Lt. Joseph Christmas Ives surveyed the route along the 35th parallel westward to southern California. This line was favored by Jefferson Davis and was essentially the route traversed by Josiah Gregg in 1839 and later surveyed by Col.

How did the South feel about the Underground Railroad?

Reaction in the South to the growing number of slaves who escaped ranged from anger to political retribution. Large rewards were offered for runaways, and many people eager to make money or avoid offending powerful slave owners turned in runaway slaves. The U.S. Government also got involved.

Where did Harriet Tubman start the Underground Railroad?

Born into slavery in Maryland, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 to become the most famous “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. Tubman risked her life to lead hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom on this elaborate secret network of safe houses.

What caused the creation of 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 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.

Did Harriet Tubman live in St Catharines?

Tubman had been living in North Street in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada West since 1851; that was her home and her base of operation. She had brought her parents and her entire family to St. Catharines where they lived safe from slave catchers.

Where did Harriet Tubman Go Canada?

Tubman therefore changed her escape route so that it ended in Canada. She then began and ended her rescues in St. Catharines, Canada West (Ontario), where she moved in 1851.

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.

Was there ever a real 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 many slaves were saved by the Underground Railroad?

According to some estimates, between 1810 and 1850, the Underground Railroad helped to guide one hundred thousand enslaved people to freedom.

Myths About the Underground Railroad

The “Harriet Tubman and William Still Underground Railroad Walk Across New Jersey: Celebrating New Jersey’s History and Heroes Every Step of the Way,” which took place from September 29 to October 13, 2002, highlighted a unique part of the state’s history and celebrated the freedom network that operated from Cumberland County to Hudson County during the Civil War. Secretary of State Regena Thomas and members of the Department of State’s staff retraced the 180-mile route taken by the Underground Railroad throughout the state of New Jersey on Wednesday.

A last symbolic crossing from Jersey City to New York City took place at the site of the former World Trade Center, before participants visited the African Burial Ground and the Foley Square Monument, which were both built in memory of the victims of the World Trade Center disaster.

The Railroad in Lore

From September 29 to October 13, 2002, the Harriet Tubman and William Still Underground Railroad Walk Across New Jersey: Celebrating New Jersey’s History and Heroes Every Step of the Way” commemorated a unique chapter in the state’s history and celebrated a freedom network that stretched from Cumberland to Hudson County. Secretary of State Regena Thomas and members of the Department of State’s staff retraced the 180-mile route taken by the Underground Railroad across the state of New Jersey on Saturday.

A last symbolic crossing from Jersey City to New York City was place at the site of the old World Trade Center, before participants visited the African Burial Ground and the Foley Square Monument.

A Meme Is Born

As Blight correctly points out, the railroad has proven to be one of the most “enduring and popular strands in the fabric of America’s national historical memory.” Since the end of the nineteenth century, many Americans, particularly in New England and the Midwest, have either made up legends about the deeds of their ancestors or simply repeated stories that they have heard about their forebears.

It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.

Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who managed to escape to Ohio in 1831, and it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was invented as a result of his successful escape.

According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished as though “the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad.” This is a fantastic narrative — one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor — but it is improbable, given that train lines were non-existent at the time.

The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839, was captured.

constructed from Mason and Dixon’s to the Canada line, upon which fugitives from slavery might come pouring into this province” is the first time the term appears.

14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T. Torrey invented the phrase in 1842, according to abolitionist Charles T. Torrey. As David Blight points out, the phrase did not become widely used until the mid-1840s, when it was first heard.

Myth Battles Counter-Myth

It has proven to be one of America’s greatest “enduring and popular threads in the fabric of the nation’s national historical memory,” as Blight puts it so eloquently. Numerous Americans, particularly those in New England and the Midwest, have either made up stories about their ancestors’ adventures or simply repeated stories they have heard about them since the end of the nineteenth century. It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.

Because of his successful escape from Kentucky to Ohio in 1831, it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was developed as a result of his experience.

According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished, as though “the nigger must have gotten away on the subterranean railroad.” It’s a fantastic tale, and one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor, however the likelihood of this happening is remote given the lack of train infrastructure at the time.

  1. The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839.
  2. 11, 1839, in an editorial by Hiram Wilson of Toronto, who called for the construction of “a great republican railroad.
  3. 14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T.
  4. As David Blight points out, the term did not become widely used until the mid-1840s, when it was first recorded.

Truth Reveals Unheralded Heroism

That’s a little amount of history; what about those urban legends? The answers are as follows: It cannot be overstated that the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement itself were possibly the first examples in American history of a truly multiracial alliance, and the role played by the Quakers in its success cannot be overstated. Despite this, it was primarily controlled by free Northern African Americans, particularly in its early years, with the most notable exception being the famous Philadelphian William Still, who served as its president.

  • The Underground Railroad was made possible by the efforts of white and black activists such as Levi Coffin, Thomas Garrett, Calvin Fairbank, Charles Torrey, Harriet Tubman and Still, all of whom were true heroes.
  • Because of the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the railroad’s growth did not take place until after that year.
  • After all, it was against the law to help slaves in their attempts to emancipate themselves.
  • Being an abolitionist or a conductor on the Underground Railroad, according to the historian Donald Yacovone, “was about as popular and hazardous as being a member of the Communist Party in 1955,” he said in an email to me.
  • The Underground Railroad was predominantly a phenomena of the Northern United States.
  • For the most part, fugitive slaves were left on their own until they were able to cross the Ohio River or the Mason-Dixon Line and thereby reach a Free State.
  • For fugitives in the North, well-established routes and conductors existed, as did some informal networks that could transport fugitives from places such as the abolitionists’ office or houses in Philadelphia to other locations north and west.
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(where slavery remained legal until 1862), as well as in a few locations throughout the Upper South, some organized support was available.

3.

I’m afraid there aren’t many.

Furthermore, few dwellings in the North were equipped with secret corridors or hidden rooms where slaves might be hidden.

What about freedom quilts?

The only time a slave family had the resources to sew a quilt was to shelter themselves from the cold, not to relay information about alleged passages on the Underground Railroad that they had never visited.

As we will discover in a future column, the danger of treachery about individual escapes and collective rebellions was much too large for escape plans to be publicly shared.5.

No one has a definitive answer.

According to Elizabeth Pierce, an administrator at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, the figure might be as high as 100,000, but that appears to be an overstatement.

We may put these numbers into context by noting that there were 3.9 million slaves and only 488,070 free Negroes in 1860 (with more than half of them still living in the South), whereas there were 434,495 free Negroes in 1850 (with more than half still living in the South).

The fact that only 101 fleeing slaves ever produced book-length “slave narratives” describing their servitude until the conclusion of the Civil War is also significant to keep in mind while thinking about this topic.

However, just a few of them made it to safety.

How did the fugitive get away?

John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, as summarized by Blight, “80 percent of these fugitives were young guys in their teens and twenties who absconded alone on the majority of occasions.

Because of their household and child-rearing duties, young slave women were significantly less likely to flee than older slave women.

Lyford in 1896 reported that he could not recall “any fugitives ever being transported by anyone, they always had to pilot their own canoe with the little help that they received,” suggesting that “the greatest number of fugitives were self-emancipating individuals who, upon reaching a point in their lives when they could no longer tolerate their captive status, finally just took off for what had been a long and difficult journey.” 7.

What is “Steal Away”?

They used them to communicate secretly with one another in double-voiced discussions that neither the master nor the overseer could comprehend.

However, for reasons of safety, privacy, security, and protection, the vast majority of slaves who escaped did so alone and covertly, rather than risking their own safety by notifying a large number of individuals outside of their families about their plans, for fear of betraying their masters’ trust.

Just consider the following for a moment: If fleeing slavery had been thus planned and maintained on a systematic basis, slavery would most likely have been abolished long before the American Civil War, don’t you think?

According to Blight, “Much of what we call the Underground Railroad was actually operated clandestinely by African Americans themselves through urban vigilance committees and rescue squads that were often led by free blacks.” The “Underground Railroad” was a marvelously improvised, metaphorical construct run by courageous heroes, the vast majority of whom were black.

Gara’s study revealed that “running away was a terrible and risky idea for slaves,” according to Blight, and that the total numbers of slaves who risked their lives, or even those who succeeded in escaping, were “not huge.” There were thousands of heroic slaves who were helped by the organization, each of whom should be remembered as heroes of African-American history, but there were not nearly as many as we often believe, and certainly not nearly enough.

Approximately fifty-five of the 100 Amazing Facts will be published on the website African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. On The Root, you may find all 100 facts.

What is the Underground Railroad? – Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)

Harvey Lindsley captured a shot of Harriet Tubman. THE CONGRESSIONAL LIBRARY

I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say—I neverran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.

When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we’re talking about the attempts of enslaved African Americans to obtain their freedom by escaping bondage. The Underground Railroad was a method of resisting slavery by escape and flight from 1850 until the end of the Civil War. Escape attempts were made in every location where slavery was practiced. In the beginning, to maroon villages in distant or rough terrain on the outside of inhabited regions, and later, across state and international borders.

  1. The majority of freedom seekers began their journey unaided and the majority of them completed their self-emancipation without assistance.
  2. It’s possible that the choice to aid a freedom seeking was taken on the spur of the moment.
  3. People of various ethnicities, social classes, and genders took part in this massive act of civil disobedience, despite the fact that what they were doing was unlawful.
  4. A map of the United States depicting the many paths that freedom seekers might follow in order to attain freedom.
  5. All thirteen original colonies, as well as Spanish California, Louisiana and Florida; Central and South America; and all of the Caribbean islands were slave states until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and British abolition of slavery brought an end to the practice in 1804.
  6. The Underground Railroad had its beginnings at the site of enslavement in the United States.
  7. The proximity to ports, free territories, and international borders caused a large number of escape attempts.
  8. Freedom seekers used their inventiveness to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and brains in the process.
  9. The assistance came from a varied range of groups, including enslaved and free blacks, American Indians, and people from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.
  10. Because of their links to the whaling business, the Pacific West Coast and potentially Alaska became popular tourist destinations.

During the American Civil War, many freedom seekers sought refuge and liberty by fleeing to the Union army’s lines of communication.

The Underground Railroad in Indiana

Mary Schons contributed to this article. The 20th of June, 2019 is a Thursday. For 30 years before to the American Civil War, enslaved African Americans utilized the Underground Railroad to gain their freedom, a network known as the Underground Railroad (1861-1865). The “railroad” employed a variety of routes to transport people from slave-supporting states in the South to “free” states in the North and Canada. Sometimes abolitionists, or persons who were opposed to slavery, were responsible for organizing routes for the Underground Railroad.

  1. There was a great deal of activity on the Underground Railroad in the states that bordered the Ohio River, which served as a boundary between slave and free states.
  2. Not everyone in Indiana supported the emancipation of enslaved people.
  3. Because Indiana was a part of the Underground Railroad, its narrative is the tale of all states that had a role in it.
  4. However, while some people did have secret chambers in their homes or carriages, the great bulk of the Underground Railroad consisted of individuals surreptitiously assisting slaves who were attempting to flee slavery in whatever manner they were able to.
  5. The persons that were enslaved were referred to as “passengers.” “Stations” were private residences or commercial establishments where passengers and conductors seeking freedom might take refuge.
  6. If a new owner supported slavery, or if the residence was revealed to be a station on the Underground Railroad, passengers and conductors were obliged to locate a new station or move on somewhere.
  7. Only a small number of people kept records of this hidden activity in order to protect homeowners and others seeking freedom who required assistance.

People who were found assisting those who had fled slavery faced arrest and imprisonment.

No one knows exactly how the Underground Railroad received its name, nor does anybody care.

Another version of the story assigns the name to a freedom-seeker who was apprehended in Washington, D.C., in the year 1839.

A third narrative connects the name to an enslaved man called Tice Davids, who made the decision to pursue his freedom in 1831, according to the legend.

Unfortunately, there was no boat available to take us over the river.

His enslaver returned to Kentucky without him, claiming that Davids had vanished while traveling on a “underground railroad.” To put it another way, the name “Underground Railroad” had been widely accepted by the mid-1840s.

According to Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance, slavery was prohibited north of the Ohio River; however, the rule did not apply to enslaved persons who were already residing in the region.

Slavery was a common feature of life in the Northwest Territories at the time.

Indiana was established as a territory in 1800, with future United States PresidentWilliam Henry Harrison serving as the area’s first territorial governor.

Harrison and his followers also believed that permitting slavery in Indiana would increase the state’s population.

Their petition was refused by Congress.

The “contract holder” has the authority to determine how long the victim must be held in slavery.

When Indiana became a state in 1816, its stateConstitutioncontained wording that was comparable to Article 6 of the Northwest Ordinance—new enslaved persons were not permitted, but existing enslaved people were allowed to continue in their current state of enslavement.

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The term “slave” was still used to describe some Hoosiers as late as the 1820 census.

(White people were exempt from this requirement.) Indiana’s 1851 Constitution prohibited blacks from voting, serving in the military, or testifying in any trial in which a white person was accused of a crime.

All three pathways eventually went to Michigan and subsequently to Canada, although they took different routes.

Lewis Harding said in a 1915 history of Decatur County, Indiana, that the county was a spot where three roads came together after crossing the Ohio River at separate points in the county.

assisted the escaped slaves in every way imaginable,” he adds, using the injunction as an example.

As Harding says, “the sympathies of the majority of the residents of this nation were with the escaped slave and his rescuer.” Historians now feel that the path to independence resembled a spider’s web rather than three independent pathways to freedom.

While traveling, they had to avoid organized networks of patrolmen who grabbed freedom-seekers and held them hostage for ransom money.

Known as the “President of the Underground Railroad,” Coffin is credited for bringing slavery to Indiana in 1826.

In his memoir, Reminiscences, Coffin tells the story of two girls who escaped Tennessee and sought refuge with their grandparents in the Indiana county of Randolph.

They were not, however, destined to live in safety.

When the alarm went off, it attracted the majority of the settlement’s black people together in a single location.

Unknown to them, an uncle of the two girls rode up on his horse at the same time the enslaver was being held at bay by the grandmother’scorn knife.

They were not given any authorization to enter the premises or search for items, according to him.” The uncle remained at the doorway for as long as he could to continue the dispute with the enslaver.

According to the account, the girls were disguised as guys and sneaked past the crowd to where two horses were waiting for them.

The girls were able to make it to Coffin’s residence without incident.

Eliza Harris’s Indefatigable Escape Indiana is the scene of one of the most famous slave escapes in history, which took place in the state of Indiana.

Harris made the snap decision to flee to Canada with her infant son in tow.

There were no bridges, and there was no way for a raft to get through the thick ice.

Moving from one ice floe to another while carrying her child, she eventually made it to the other end.

Eliza, in fact, is the name of the character who travels across the frigid Ohio.

In order to recover from their ordeal, Harris and her child traveled to Levi Coffin’s Fountain City residence.

In 1854, Levi and Catherine Coffin were on a visit to Canada with their daughter when a woman approached Catherine and introduced herself.

God’s blessings on you!” It was Eliza Harris, who had safely migrated to Chatham, Ontario, Canada, when the call came through.

Illustration provided courtesy of The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.

Examine the list of locations to determine if any are in your immediate vicinity.

But it was carried out according to a completely other set of rules.

.

Levi Coffin’s Reminiscences, published in 1880abet Help is a verb that refers to assisting in the committing of a crime.

abolitionist A person who is opposed to slavery as a noun.

authority Making choices is the responsibility of a nounperson or organization.

The payment of a fine or the performance of a contract under the terms of an agreement constitutes a bond, which is an unenforceable agreement.

cattle Andoxen are nouncows.

The American Civil War The American Civil War was fought between the Union (north) and the Confederacy between 1860 and 1865.

conductor A person who escorted slaves to safety and freedom on the Underground Railroad was known as a guide.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are the two chambers of the United States Congress.

convictVerb to find someone guilty of committing a criminal offense.

Municipality is a type of political entity that is smaller than a state or province, but often larger than a city, town, or other municipality.

defendantNounperson or entity who has been accused of committing a crime or engaging in other misconduct.

economy The production, distribution, and consumption of commodities and services are all referred to as a system.

enslave acquainted with the verbto completely control Adjectivewell-known.

forbidVerb to ban or prohibit something.

fugitive a noun or an adjective that has gotten away from the law or another limitation a system or order established by a country, a state, or any other political body; government Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American writer and abolitionist activist who lived from 1811 to 1896.

Nouna huge, flat sheet of ice that is floating on the surface of a body of water.

labor is a noun that refers to work or employment.

Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the term negronoun was frequently used to refer to persons of African descent.

During the American Civil War, the North was comprised of states that backed the United States (Union).

A portion of the modern-day states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota belonged to the Northwest Territory at the time of its creation.

The Ohio River is the greatest tributary of the Mississippi River, with a length of 1,580 kilometers (981 miles).

passenger A fugitive slave seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad is referred to as a noun.

Requests are made verbally, and are frequently accompanied by a document signed by the respondents.

prominentAdjectivethat is significant or stands out.

recover from an accident or strenuous activityVerb to recover from an injury or rigorous activity repeal a verb that means to reverse or reject anything that was previously guaranteed rouse a verb that means to awaken or make active.

Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude).

South During the American Civil War, the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) was backed or sympathized with by a huge number of states.

Supreme CourtNounin the United States, the highest judicial authority on questions of national or constitutional significance.

terminology A noungroup of words that are employed in a particular topic area.

Nounland that is protected against invaders by an animal, a person, or the government.

the southern hemisphere Geographic and political territory in the south-eastern and south-central sections of the United States that includes all of the states that sided with the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

unconstitutional Adjective that refers to a violation of the laws of the United States Constitution.

9th President of the United States of America, William Henry HarrisonNoun (1773-1841). (1841). word-of-mouth Informal communication, sometimes known as rumor or rumor mill. NounA official order issued by a government or other authoritative body.

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The Underground Railroad (1820-1861) •

The smuggling of fugitives during the winter season Charles T. Webber’s novel The Underground Railroad was published in 1893. Images that are in the public domain Underground Railroad was developed to assist oppressed persons in their journey from slavery to liberty. The railroad network was made up of dozens of hidden routes and safe houses that began in slaveholding states and extended all the way to the Canadian border, which was the only place where fugitives could be certain of their freedom.

  1. As part of the Underground Railroad, slaves were smuggled onto ships that transported them to ports in the northern United States or to countries outside of the United States.
  2. Though the number of persons who fled through the Underground Railroad between 1820 and 1861 varies greatly depending on who you ask, the most commonly accepted figure is roughly 100,000.
  3. The railroad employed conductors, among them William Still of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was likely the most well-known of the group.
  4. Slave-hiding spots were called stations, and stationmasters were individuals who hid slaves in their houses.
  5. The Underground Railroad functioned as a number of interconnected networks.
  6. Those responsible for leading the fugitive slaves north did so in stages.
  7. The “freight” would be transferred on to the next conductor once it reached another stop, and so on until the full journey had been completed.

When the Underground Railroad was successful, it engendered a great deal of hostility among slaveholders and their friends.

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The law was misused to a tremendous extent.

Due to the fact that African Americans were not permitted to testify or have a jury present during a trial, they were frequently unable to defend themselves.

However, the Fugitive Slave Act had the opposite effect, increasing Northern opposition to slavery and hastening the Civil War.

A large number of those who escaped became human witnesses to the slave system, with many of them traveling on the lecture circuit to explain to Northerners what life was like as a slave in the slave system.

It was the success of the Underground Railroad in both situations that contributed to the abolition of slavery.

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Cite this article in APA format:

Waggoner, C., and Waggoner, C. (2007, December 03). The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes (1820-1861). BlackPast.org.

Source of the author’s information:

“The Underground Railroad,” by William Still (Chicago, Johnson Publishing Company, 1970) Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 2004); J. Blaine Hudson, Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2006); David W. Blight, Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,

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When describing a network of meeting spots, hidden routes, passages, and safehouses used by slaves in the United States to escape slave-holding states and seek refuge in northern states and Canada, the Underground Railroad was referred to as the Underground Railroad (UR). The underground railroad, which was established in the early 1800s and sponsored by persons active in the Abolitionist Movement, assisted thousands of slaves in their attempts to escape bondage. Between 1810 and 1850, it is estimated that 100,000 slaves escaped from bondage in the southern United States.

Facts, information and articles about the Underground Railroad

Aproximate year of birth: 1780

Ended

The beginnings of the American Civil War occurred around the year 1862.

Slaves Freed

Estimates range between 6,000 and 10,000.

Prominent Figures

Harriet Tubman is a historical figure. William Still is a well-known author and poet. Levi Coffin is a fictional character created by author Levi Coffin. John Fairfield is a well-known author.

Related Reading:

The Story of How Canada Became the Final Station on the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman’s Legacy as a Freedom Fighter and a Spion is well documented.

The Beginnings Of the Underground Railroad

Even before the nineteenth century, it appears that a mechanism to assist runaways existed. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with the assistance provided to one of his escaped slaves by “a organization of Quakers, founded for such purposes.” The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are more officially known, were among the first abolitionist organizations to emerge. Their influence may have played a role in Pennsylvania becoming the first state to abolish slavery, which was home to a large number of Quakers.

In recognition of his contributions, Levi is often referred to as the “president of the Underground Railroad.” In Fountain City, Ohio, on Ohio’s western border, the eight-room Indiana home they bought and used as a “station” before they came to Cincinnati has been preserved and is now a National Historic Landmark.

“Eliza” was one of the slaves who hid within it, and her narrative served as the inspiration for the character of the same name in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

The Underground Railroad Gets Its Name

Owen Brown, the father of radical abolitionist John Brown, was a member of the Underground Railroad in the state of New York during the Civil War. An unconfirmed narrative suggests that “Mammy Sally” designated the house where Abraham Lincoln’s future wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, grew up and served as a safe house where fugitives could receive food, but the account is doubtful. Routes of the Underground Railroad It was not until the early 1830s that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was first used.

Fugitives going by water or on genuine trains were occasionally provided with clothing so that they wouldn’t give themselves away by wearing their worn-out job attire.

Many of them continued on to Canada, where they could not be lawfully reclaimed by their rightful owners.

The slave or slaves were forced to flee from their masters, which was frequently done at night.

Conductors On The Railroad

A “conductor,” who pretended to be a slave, would sometimes accompany fugitives to a plantation in order to lead them on their journey. Harriet Tubman, a former slave who traveled to slave states 19 times and liberated more than 300 people, is one of the most well-known “conductors.” She used her shotgun to threaten death to any captives who lost heart and sought to return to slavery. The Underground Railroad’s operators faced their own set of risks as well. If someone living in the North was convicted of assisting fugitives in their escape, he or she could face fines of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which was a significant sum at the time; however, in areas where abolitionism was strong, the “secret” railroad was openly operated, and no one was arrested.

His position as the most significant commander of the Underground Railroad in and around Albany grew as time went on.

However, in previous times of American history, the phrase “vigilance committee” generally refers to citizen organizations that took the law into their own hands, prosecuting and hanging those suspected of crimes when there was no local government or when they considered the local authority was corrupt or weak.

White males who were found assisting slaves in their escape were subjected to heavier punishments than white women, but both were likely to face at the very least incarceration.

The most severe punishments, such as hundreds of lashing with a whip, burning, or hanging, were reserved for any blacks who were discovered in the process of assisting fugitive fugitives on the loose.

The Civil War On The Horizon

Events such as the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott decision compelled more anti-slavery activists to take an active part in the effort to liberate slaves in the United States. After Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Southern states began to secede in December 1860, putting an end to the Union’s hopes of achieving independence from the United States. Abolitionist newspapers and even some loud abolitionists warned against giving the remaining Southern states an excuse to separate. Lucia Bagbe (later known as Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson) is considered to be the final slave who was returned to bondage as a result of the Fugitive Slave Law.

Her owner hunted her down and arrested her in December 1860.

Even the Cleveland Leader, a Republican weekly that was traditionally anti-slavery and pro-the Fugitive Slave Legislation, warned its readers that allowing the law to run its course “may be oil thrown upon the seas of our nation’s difficulties,” according to the newspaper.

In her honor, a Grand Jubilee was celebrated on May 6, 1863, in the city of Cleveland.

The Reverse Underground Railroad

A “reverse Underground Railroad” arose in the northern states surrounding the Ohio River during the Civil War. The black men and women of those states, whether or not they had previously been slaves, were occasionally kidnapped and concealed in homes, barns, and other structures until they could be transported to the South and sold as slaves.

Underground Railroad, The (1820-1861)

Smuggled fugitives through the Underground Railroad during the winter seasonThe Underground Railroad was constructed to help enslaved persons in their escape to freedom. The railroad network was made up of dozens of hidden routes and safe houses that began in slaveholding states and extended all the way to the Canadian border, which was the only place where fugitives could be certain of their freedom. From Florida to Cuba, or from Texas to Mexico, there were shorter routes that took you south.

The Underground Railroad’s success was dependent on the collaboration of previous runaway slaves, free-born blacks, Native Americans, and white and black abolitionists who assisted in guiding runaway slaves along the routes and providing their houses as safe havens for the fugitive slave population.

The Underground Railroad in the Nineteenth Century New York Public Library’s Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, part of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, provided this photograph.

The railroad employed conductors, among them William Still of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was likely the most well-known of the group.

Slave-hiding spots were called stations, and stationmasters were individuals who hid slaves in their houses.

The Underground Railroad functioned as a number of interconnected networks.

Those responsible for leading the fugitive slaves north did so in stages.

The “freight” would be transferred on to the next conductor once it reached another stop, and so on until the full journey had been completed.

When the Underground Railroad was successful, it engendered a great deal of hostility among slaveholders and their friends.

The law was misused to a tremendous extent.

Due to the fact that African Americans were not permitted to testify or have a jury present during a trial, they were frequently unable to defend themselves.

Ironically, the Fugitive Slave Act fueled Northern opposition to slavery and contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War.

A large number of those who escaped became human witnesses to the slave system, with many of them traveling on the lecture circuit to explain to Northerners what life was like as a slave in the slave system.

It was the success of the Underground Railroad in both situations that contributed to the abolition of slavery.

Blaine Hudson, Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2006); David W.

Instructions for Citing This Article (in APA Format): Waggoner, C., and Waggoner, C. (n.d.). The Underground Railroad was in operation from 1820 until 1861). Project on the History of Social Welfare. It was retrieved from

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