Where Did The Underground Railroad Get Its Name? (Professionals recommend)

(Actual underground railroads did not exist until 1863.) According to John Rankin, “It was so called because they who took passage on it disappeared from public view as really as if they had gone into the ground. After the fugitive slaves entered a depot on that road no trace of them could be found.

Underground Railroad Terminology | Underground Railroad | PBS

  • The term “Underground Railroad” is said to have arisen from an incident that took place in 1831. Legend has it that a Kentucky runaway slave by the name of Tice Davids swam across the Ohio River with slave catchers, including his old master, in hot pursuit.

Who came up with the name the Underground Railroad?

Quaker Abolitionists In the early 1800s, Quaker abolitionist Isaac T. Hopper set up a network in Philadelphia that helped enslaved people on the run.

What does the word Underground Railroad mean?

Definition of Underground Railroad: a system of cooperation among active antislavery people in the U.S. before 1863 by which people escaping enslavement were secretly helped to reach the North or Canada.

Where did the Underground Railroad originate?

The Underground Railroad was created in the early 19th century by a group of abolitionists based mainly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Within a few decades, it had grown into a well-organized and dynamic network. The term “Underground Railroad” began to be used in the 1830s.

When was the term Underground Railroad used?

The term Underground Railroad began to be used in the early 1830s. In keeping with that name for the system, homes and businesses that harbored runaways were known as “stations” or “depots” and were run by “stationmasters.” “Conductors” moved the fugitives from one station to the next.

Does the Underground Railroad still exist?

It includes four buildings, two of which were used by Harriet Tubman. Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.

Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?

Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.

How many slaves did Harriet Tubman save?

Fact: According to Tubman’s own words, and extensive documentation on her rescue missions, we know that she rescued about 70 people —family and friends—during approximately 13 trips to Maryland.

Who was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad?

Our Headlines and Heroes blog takes a look at Harriet Tubman as the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman and those she helped escape from slavery headed north to freedom, sometimes across the border to Canada.

Did the Underground Railroad start the Civil War?

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 begin and end?

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

Why did the Underground Railroad begin?

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.

How did slaves know where to go in the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad was a secret system developed to aid fugitive slaves on their escape to freedom. The safe houses used as hiding places along the lines of the Underground Railroad were called stations. A lit lantern hung outside would identify these stations.

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.

Did slaves Follow the North Star?

In the years before and during the U.S. Civil War of the 1860s, escaped slaves fled northward, hiding by day and moving furtively at night. Often their only guide was Polaris, the North Star, which they found by tracing the handle of the Big Dipper constellation, or Drinking Gourd.

The Underground Railroad

At the time of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in their attempts to flee to freedom in the northern states. Subjects History of the United States, Social StudiesImage

Home of Levi Coffin

Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist. This was a station on the Underground Railroad, a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North during the Civil War. Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography. “> During the age of slavery, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the North, according to the Underground Railroad Museum.

Although it was not a real railroad, it fulfilled the same function as one: it carried passengers across large distances.

The people who worked for the Underground Railroad were driven by a passion for justice and a desire to see slavery abolished—a drive that was so strong that they risked their lives and jeopardized their own freedom in order to assist enslaved people in escaping from bondage and staying safe while traveling the Underground Railroad.

  1. As the network expanded, the railroad metaphor became more prevalent.
  2. In recent years, academic research has revealed that the vast majority of persons who engaged in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as part of a larger organization.
  3. According to historical tales of the railroad, conductors frequently pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways out of plantation prisons and train stations.
  4. Often, the conductors and passengers traveled 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance in this day and age.
  5. Patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were usually on their tails, chasing them down.
  6. Historians who study the railroad, on the other hand, find it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.
  7. Eric Foner is one of the historians that belongs to this group.
  8. Despite this, the Underground Railroad was at the center of the abolitionist struggle during the nineteenth century.
  9. Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist.
  10. Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography.
  11. Person who is owned by another person or group of people is referred to as an enslaved person.

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). Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to flee to free states.

Media Credits

With the exception of promotional graphics, which normally link to another page that carries the media credit, all audio, artwork, photos, and videos are attributed beneath the media asset they are associated with. In the case of media, the Rights Holder is the individual or group that gets credited.

Director

Tyson Brown is a member of the National Geographic Society.

Author

The National Geographic Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the exploration of the world’s natural wonders.

Production Managers

Gina Borgia is a member of the National Geographic Society. Jeanna Sullivan is a member of the National Geographic Society.

Program Specialists

Gina Borgia of the National Geographic Society is a renowned naturalist and photographer. According to Jeanna Sullivan of the National Geographic Society, ”

Last Updated

  • Gina Borgia is a National Geographic Society photographer. According to Jeanna Sullivan of the National Geographic Society,

Media

If a media asset is available for download, a download button will show in the lower right corner of the media viewer window. If no download or save button displays, you will be unable to download or save the material.

Text

The text on this page is printable and may be used in accordance with our Terms of Service agreement.

Interactives

  • Any interactives on this page can only be accessed and used while you are currently browsing our site. You will not be able to download interactives.

Underground Railroad

See how abolitionists in the United States, like as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Thomas Garrett, assisted enslaved people in their attempts to escape to freedom. Learn about the abolitionist movement in the United States, as well as the importance of the Underground Railroad in this historical period. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a publishing company that publishes encyclopedias. View all of the videos related to this topic. When escaped slaves from the South were secretly assisted by sympathetic Northerners, in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Acts, to reach safe havens in the North or Canada, this was referred to as the Underground Railroad in the United States.

See also:  Who Worked In The Underground Railroad? (Question)

Even though it was neither underground nor a railroad, it was given this name because its actions had to be carried out in secret, either via the use of darkness or disguise, and because railroad words were employed in relation to the system’s operation.

In all directions, the network of channels stretched over 14 northern states and into “the promised land” of Canada, where fugitive-slave hunters were unable to track them down or capture them.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, best known for her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, obtained firsthand experience of escaped slaves via her association with the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lived for a time during the Civil War.

The existence of the Underground Railroad, despite the fact that it was only a small minority of Northerners who took part in it, did much to arouse Northern sympathy for the plight of slaves during the antebellum period, while also convincing many Southerners that the North as a whole would never peacefully allow the institution of slavery to remain unchallenged.

When was the first time a sitting president of the United States appeared on television? Return to the past for the really American responses. Amy Tikkanen has made the most current revisions and updates to this page.

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals – many whites but predominently black – who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation. Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year – according to one estimate,the South lost 100,000 slaves between 1810 and 1850. An organized system to assist runaway slaves seems to have begun towards the end of the 18th century. In 1786 George Washington complained about how one of his runaway slaves was helped by a “society of Quakers, formed for such purposes.” The system grew, and around 1831 it was dubbed “The Underground Railroad,” after the then emerging steam railroads. The system even used terms used in railroading: the homes and businesses where fugitives would rest and eat were called “stations” and “depots” and were run by “stationmasters,” those who contributed money or goods were “stockholders,” and the “conductor” was responsible for moving fugitives from one station to the next.For the slave, running away to the North was anything but easy. The first step was to escape from the slaveholder. For many slaves, this meant relying on his or her own resources. Sometimes a “conductor,” posing as a slave, would enter a plantation and then guide the runaways northward. The fugitives would move at night. They would generally travel between 10 and 20 miles to the next station, where they would rest and eat, hiding in barns and other out-of-the-way places. While they waited, a message would be sent to the next station to alert its stationmaster.The fugitives would also travel by train and boat – conveyances that sometimes had to be paid for. Money was also needed to improve the appearance of the runaways – a black man, woman, or child in tattered clothes would invariably attract suspicious eyes. This money was donated by individuals and also raised by various groups, including vigilance committees.Vigilance committees sprang up in the larger towns and cities of the North, most prominently in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. In addition to soliciting money, the organizations provided food, lodging and money, and helped the fugitives settle into a community by helping them find jobs and providing letters of recommendation.The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.

The Secret History of the Underground Railroad

See how abolitionists in the United States, like as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Thomas Garrett, assisted enslaved people in their attempts to escape to independence. Learn about the abolitionist movement in the United States, as well as the importance of the Underground Railroad in this campaign. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. is a publishing company that specializes in encyclopedias. This page contains a number of videos. It is a term used to refer to the Underground Railroad, which was a system that existed in the Northern states prior to the Civil War by which escaped slaves from the South were secretly assisted by sympathetic Northerners, in defiance of the Fugitive Slave Acts, to reach safe havens in the North or Canada.

It was known as lines, halting sites were known as stations, people who assisted along the way were called conductors, and their charges known as packages or freight were known as packages or freight were known as freight In all directions, the network of channels stretched over 14 northern states and into “the promised land” of Canada, where fugitive-slave hunters were unable to track them down and capture them.

Members of the free black community (including former slaves such as Harriet Tubman), Northern abolitionists, benefactors, and church leaders such as Quaker Thomas Garrett were among those who most actively enabled slaves to escape by use of the “railroad.” During her time working with the Underground Railroad in Cincinnati, Ohio, Harriet Beecher Stowe, best known for her novelUncle Tom’s Cabin, got firsthand experience of escaped slaves.

  1. From 40,000 to 100,000 black individuals, according to various estimates, were released during the American Civil War.
  2. Test your knowledge of the Britannica.
  3. The first time a president of the United States appeared on television was in the year 1960.
  4. In the most recent revision and update, Amy Tikkanen provided further information.

The Little-Known History of the Underground Railroad in New York

Cyrus Gates House, located in Broome County, New York, was formerly a major station on the Underground Railroad’s route through the country. Commons image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons There was a time when New York City wasn’t the liberal Yankee bastion that it is now. When it came to abolitionists and abolitionist politics in the decades preceding up to the Civil War, the city was everything but an epicenter of abolitionism. Banking and shipping interests in the city were tightly related to the cotton and sugar businesses, both of which relied on slave labor to produce their products.

However, even at that time, the Underground Railroad, a network of hidden safe houses and escape routes used by fugitive slaves seeking freedom in the North, passed through the city and into the surrounding countryside.

In New York, however, the full extent of the Underground Railroad’s reach has remained largely unknown, owing to the city’s anti-abolitionist passion.

“This was a community that was strongly pro-Southern, and the Underground Railroad was working in much greater secrecy here than in many other parts of the North, so it was much more difficult to track down the Underground Railroad.”

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

A significant station on the Underground Railroad previously existed at Cyrus Gates House in Broome County, New York. The Commons has a lot of great pictures! There was a time when New York City wasn’t the liberal Yankee bastion that it is now. When it came to abolitionists and abolitionist politics in the decades preceding up to the Civil War, the city was everything from an abolitionism hotspot. Banking and shipping interests in the city were intertwined with the cotton and sugar industry, both of which relied heavily on slave labor.

However, even at that time, the Underground Railroad, a network of hidden safe houses and escape routes used by fugitive slaves seeking freedom in the North, passed through the city and into the surrounding region.

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Eric Foner, a professor at Columbia University, “While there is a lot out there on the Underground Railroad, relatively little has been done regarding New York City.” Considering that this was a pro-Southern town, and the Underground Railroad operated in much greater secrecy here than in many other parts of the North, it was much more difficult to track down the fugitives.

Underground Railroad

Underground Railroad was a network of people, both black and white, who helped escaped enslaved persons from the southern United States by providing them with refuge and assistance. It came forth as a result of the convergence of numerous separate covert initiatives. Although the exact dates of its inception are unknown, it was active from the late 18th century until the Civil War, after which its attempts to weaken the Confederacy were carried out in a less-secretive manner until the Civil War ended.

Quaker Abolitionists

The Society of Friends (Quakers) is often regarded as the first organized group to actively assist escaped enslaved persons. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with Quakers for attempting to “liberate” one of his enslaved servants. Abolitionist and Quaker Isaac T. Hopper established a network in Philadelphia in the early 1800s to assist enslaved persons who were on the run from slavery. Abolitionist organisations founded by Quakers in North Carolina lay the basis for escape routes and safe havens for fugitive slaves during the same time period.

See also:  How Did The Underground Railroad Impacted The U.S. Closer To Civil War? (Perfect answer)

What Was the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad was first mentioned in 1831, when an enslaved man named Tice Davids managed to escape from Kentucky into Ohio and his master blamed a “underground railroad” for assisting Davids in his liberation. When a fugitive slave called Jim was apprehended in 1839 in Washington, the press said that the guy confessed his plan to travel north along a “underground railroad to Boston” while under torture. The Vigilance Committees, which were established in New York in 1835 and Philadelphia in 1838 to safeguard escaped enslaved persons from bounty hunters, rapidly expanded their duties to include guiding enslaved individuals on the run.

By the 1840s, the phrase “Underground Railroad” had become part of the common lexicon in the United States. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman and her fellow fugitives used the following strategies to escape through the Underground Railroad:

How the Underground Railroad Worked

The majority of enslaved persons aided by the Underground Railroad were able to flee to neighboring states like as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made catching fugitive enslaved persons a lucrative industry in the deep South, and there were fewer hiding places for them as a result of the Act. The majority of fugitive enslaved people were on their own until they reached specific places farther north. The escaping enslaved people were escorted by individuals known as “conductors.” Private residences, churches, and schools were also used as hiding places throughout the war.

The personnel in charge of running them were referred to as “stationmasters.” There were several well-traveled roads that ran west through Ohio and into Indiana and Iowa.

The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico.

Fugitive Slave Acts

The Fugitive Slave Acts were a major cause for many fugitive slaves to flee to Canada. This legislation, which was passed in 1793, authorized local governments to catch and extradite fugitive enslaved individuals from inside the borders of free states back to their places of origin, as well as to penalize anybody who assisted the fleeing enslaved people. Personal Liberty Laws were introduced in certain northern states to fight this, but they were overturned by the Supreme Court in 1842. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was intended to reinforce the preceding legislation, which was perceived by southern states to be insufficiently enforced at the time of passage.

The northern states were still considered a danger zone for fugitives who had managed to flee.

Some Underground Railroad operators chose to station themselves in Canada and sought to assist fugitives who were arriving to settle in the country.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad during its heyday. When she and two of her brothers fled from a farm in Maryland in 1849, she was given the name Harriet (her married name was Tubman). She was born Araminta Ross, and she was raised as Harriet Tubman. They returned a couple of weeks later, but Tubman fled on her own again shortly after, this time making her way to the state of Pennsylvania. In following years, Tubman returned to the plantation on a number of occasions to rescue family members and other individuals.

Tubman was distraught until she had a vision of God, which led her to join the Underground Railroad and begin escorting other fugitive slaves to the Maryland state capital.

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

Frederick Douglass

In his house in Rochester, New York, former enslaved person and celebrated author Frederick Douglasshid fugitives who were assisting 400 escapees in their journey to freedom in Canada. Reverend Jermain Loguen, a former fugitive who lived in the adjacent city of Syracuse, assisted 1,500 escapees on their journey north. The Vigilance Committee was established in Philadelphia in 1838 by Robert Purvis, an escaped enslaved person who later became a trader. Josiah Henson, a former enslaved person and railroad operator, founded the Dawn Institute in Ontario in 1842 to assist fugitive slaves who made their way to Canada in learning the necessary skills to find work.

Agent,” according to the document.

John Parker was a free Black man living in Ohio who worked as a foundry owner and who used his rowboat to ferry fugitives over the Ohio River.

William Still was a notable Philadelphia citizen who was born in New Jersey to runaway slaves parents who fled to Philadelphia as children.

Who Ran the Underground Railroad?

The vast majority of Underground Railroad operators were regular individuals, including farmers and business owners, as well as preachers and religious leaders. Some affluent individuals were active, including Gerrit Smith, a billionaire who stood for president on two separate occasions. Smith acquired a full family of enslaved people from Kentucky in 1841 and freed them from their captivity. Levi Coffin, a Quaker from North Carolina, is credited with being one of the first recorded individuals to assist escaped enslaved persons.

Coffin stated that he had discovered their hiding spots and had sought them out in order to assist them in moving forward.

Coffin eventually relocated to Indiana and then Ohio, where he continued to assist fugitive enslaved individuals no matter where he was.

John Brown

Abolitionist John Brown worked as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, and it was at this time that he founded the League of Gileadites, which was dedicated to assisting fleeing enslaved individuals in their journey to Canada. Abolitionist John Brown would go on to play a variety of roles during his life. His most well-known duty was conducting an assault on Harper’s Ferry in order to raise an armed army that would march into the deep south and free enslaved people at gunpoint. Ultimately, Brown’s forces were beaten, and he was executed for treason in 1859.

  1. The year 1844, he formed a partnership with Vermont schoolteacher Delia Webster, and the two were jailed for assisting an escaped enslaved lady and her young daughter.
  2. Charles Torrey was sentenced to six years in jail in Maryland for assisting an enslaved family in their attempt to flee through Virginia.
  3. After being apprehended in 1844 while transporting a boatload of freed slaves from the Caribbean to the United States, Massachusetts sea captain Jonathan Walker was sentenced to prison for life.
  4. John Fairfield of Virginia turned down the opportunity to assist in the rescue of enslaved individuals who had been left behind by their families as they made their way north.

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

End of the Line

Operation of the Underground Railroad came to an end in 1863, during the American Civil War. In actuality, its work was shifted aboveground as part of the Union’s overall campaign against the Confederate States of America. Once again, Harriet Tubman made a crucial contribution by organizing intelligence operations and serving as a commanding officer in Union Army efforts to rescue the liberated enslaved people who had been freed. MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: Harriet Tubman led a daring Civil War raid after the Underground Railroad was shut down.

Sources

During the American Civil War, the Underground Railroad came to an end about 1863. When it came to the Union fight against the Confederacy, its activity was carried out aboveground. This time around, Harriet Tubman played a critical role in the Union Army’s efforts to rescue the recently liberated enslaved people by conducting intelligence operations and serving in the role of leadership. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ THESE STATEMENTS. Harriet Tubman Led a Brutal Civil War Raid Following the Underground Railroad.

Review

“The Underground Railroad,” directed by Barry Jenkins, explores two historical legacies. One is unsightly and horrifying, a ringing echo of an organization that stripped human people of their culture and identity and enslaved them for the sake of profiting from their labor. The other is beautiful and thrilling, and it is defined by strength and determination. Even while these two legacies have been entwined for 400 years, there have been few few films that have examined their unsettling intersection as carefully and cohesively as Jenkins’s adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

  • Following Cora (Thuso Mbedu) and a protecting fellow slave named Caesar (Aaron Pierre) as they flee from a Georgia farm under the threat of a vengeful slave catcher, the narrative is told in flashback.
  • The Amazon Prime series, which premieres on Friday and will be available for streaming thereafter, comes at a time when there is rising discussion over shows and films that concentrate on Black agony.
  • I used the stop button a lot, both to collect my thoughts and to brace myself for what was about to happen.
  • Cora suffers a series of setbacks as she makes her way to freedom, and her anguish is exacerbated by the death of her mother, Mabel (Sheila Atim), who emigrated from the plantation when Cora was a youngster and died there.
  • Unlike any other drama on television, this one is unique in how it displays the resilience and tenacity of Black people who have withstood years of maltreatment in a society established on contradictory concepts of freedom.
  • There, she becomes a part of the growing Black society there.
  • In this community, however, there is also conflict between some of the once enslaved Black people who built the agricultural community and Cora, who is deemed to be a fugitive by the authorities.
See also:  What Was The Underground Railroad Called Before 1830?

The series takes on a nostalgically patriotic tone since it is set against the backdrop of the American heartland.

This is when Jenkins’s hallmark shot, in which actors maintain a lingering focus on the camera, is at its most impactful.

The urgent and scary horn of a train is skillfully incorporated into composerNicholas Britell’s eerie and at times comical soundtrack.

Even after finding safety in the West, Cora is still wary of Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), the slave hunter who is determined to track her down.

Despite the fact that “The Underground Railroad” delves into Ridgeway’s fears and personal shortcomings that drove him to his murderous vocation, it does not offer any excuses for his heinous behavior.

Dillon, who plays an outstanding part), a little Black child who is officially free but who acts as the slave catcher’s constant companion while being formally in his possession.

For a few precious minutes, the youngster pretends to be the child he once was by holding the weapon and playing with it.

After Amazon commissioned a focus group in which they questioned Black Atlanta residents if they thought Whitehead’s novel should be adapted for the screen, the director informed the press that he made the decision to proceed.

It was like, ‘Tell it, but you have to demonstrate everything,'” says the author.

‘It has to be nasty,’ says the author “Jenkins spoke with the New York Times.

Over the course of the week that I spent viewing “The Underground Railroad,” I found myself becoming increasingly interested in the amateur genealogical research I’d done on my own family, which is descended in part from African American slaves.

However, some of my ancestors’ stories have made their way to me, including those of my great-great-great-grandmother, who returned to her family in Virginia after years of being sold to a plantation owner in Mississippi; and the male relatives in her line who defiantly changed their surnames so that their children wouldn’t bear the name of a man who owned people for profit.

Pain is abundant, and the series invites us to express our sorrow.

Wait, but don’t take your eyes off the prize. There’s a lot more to Cora’s tale than meets the eye. The Underground Railroad (ten episodes) will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime starting Friday. (Full disclosure: The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.)

Underground Railroad in Iowa

“The Underground Railroad,” directed by Barry Jenkins, explores two different legacies. One is unsightly and horrifying, a ringing echo of an organization that stripped human people of their culture and identity and enslaved them for the sake of profiting from their labors. Both are beautiful and moving, with a strong sense of perseverance and determination. Even while these two legacies have been entwined for 400 years, there have been few few films that have examined their unsettling junction as deliberately and cohesively as Jenkins’s adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

The picture is anchored by a true underground railroad that secretly transports fugitive slaves.

It is possible to go by railroad through the American South, with each stop confirming — in its own horrifying manner — the racist fantasy that lies at the core of our country’s most heinous history.

Because Jenkins depicts the atrocities of slavery in brutal and unrelenting detail, some viewers may naturally be apprehensive about watching “The Underground Railroad.” My favorite movies include: “Roots” (both the original and the 2016 remake), “12 Years a Slave,” and “12 Years a Slave II.” “Nothing compares to the savage violence shown in “The Underground Railroad,” which was produced by WGN and aired for a brief period on television.

  1. In order to collect my thoughts and brace myself, I pressed the pause button a lot.
  2. Cora suffers loss after loss as she struggles to make her way to freedom, and her sadness is exacerbated by the death of her mother, Mabel (Sheila Atim), who escaped from the plantation when Cora was a small kid.
  3. Unlike any other drama on television, this one is unique in how it portrays the resilience and tenacity of Black people who have withstood years of maltreatment in a society established on contradictory concepts of freedom.
  4. Cora describes Valentine Farm as “another planet,” one in which children are free to be children and where working in the farm’s vineyard is a collaborative endeavor that reaps advantages for everyone who lives on the property.
  5. Two of Valentine’s founders deliver opposing sermons about the future of Black people in America as a result of the argument.

The story takes on a wistfully patriotic tone since it is set against the backdrop of the American heartland As in the films Moonlight and If Beale Street Could Talk, Jenkins and his colleagues work with a palette that is as vibrant as the one used by the filmmaker, who is in charge of all ten episodes.

  • This is when Jenkins’s hallmark shot, in which actors maintain a lingering focus on the camera, is at its most impactful: Cora’s journey to freedom is punctuated with bizarre aspects, much like the original material.
  • The urgent and scary horn of a train is skillfully incorporated into composer Nicholas Britell’s mournful and at times comical soundtrack.
  • Cora is still afraid of Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), the slave hunter who is trying to get her, even after she has taken safety in the West.
  • However, although “The Underground Railroad” delves into Ridgeway’s fears and personal shortcomings that led to him becoming a ruthless professional killer, the film does not offer any justifications for his depravity.
  • Dillon, who plays an outstanding part), a little Black child who is officially free but who acts as the slave catcher’s constant companion while being formally in his custody.
  • For a few precious minutes, the youngster pretends to be the child he once was while holding the weapon.
  • After Amazon commissioned a focus group in which they questioned Black Atlanta residents if they thought Whitehead’s novel should be adapted for the screen, the director informed the publication that he made the decision to proceed with the project.
  • In contrast, the other 90 percent were like, ‘Tell it, but you have to illustrate everything.’ A difficult task must be accomplished.
  • That is certainly the case!

Nonetheless, some of my relatives’ stories have made their way to me, such as the great-great-great-grandmother who found her way back to her family in Virginia after years of being sold to a plantation owner in Mississippi; and the male relatives in her line who defiantly changed their surnames so that their children would not bear the name of a man who owned people for the purpose of profiting from their labor.

Somehow, this made the experience of seeing “The Underground Railroad” all the more painful in certain respects.

Wait, but don’t take your eyes off the prize! A lot more of Cora’s tale is revealed as time progresses. It will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime on Friday, with a total of 10 episodes. Note that The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

  • Individuals (by name)
  • Individuals (by county)
  • Places (by county)
  • Research Files (by county)
  • Inventory of Individuals (by name)
  • Inventory of Places (by county)
  • Inventory of Research Files

If you have any concerns concerning the Iowa Freedom Trail Project, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Researching Underground Railroad Activity

Since 2002, volunteers at the State Historical Society of Iowa have been doing research into the Underground Railroad’s presence in the state. If you are interested in investigating Underground Railroad activities in Iowa and have access to historical records and original sources, please examine the research and biographical form guidelines to see how you may contribute to the project.

  • Beginning in 2002, members of the Iowa State Historical Society conducted investigation into possible Underground Railroad activities in the state. The research and biographical form instructions can be found here. If you are interested in researching Underground Railroad activity in Iowa and have access to historical documents and primary sources, please review the instructions for submitting a research and biographical form to learn how you can contribute to the project.

Iowa and the Underground Railroad

Since 2002, volunteers with the State Historical Society of Iowa have been doing research on Underground Railroad involvement in the state. The research and biographical form instructions can be found here. If you are interested in researching Underground Railroad activity in Iowa and have access to historical documents and primary sources, please review the instructions for submitting a research and biographical form to learn more about how you can contribute to the project.

  • The John Brown Freedom Trail (1859)
  • Abolitionist Movement Primary Sources
  • Underground Railroad Primary Sources
  • Underground Railroad Sites in the Iowa Culture mobile app

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *