These were called “stations,” “safe houses,” and “depots.” The people operating them were called “stationmasters.” There were many well-used routes stretching west through Ohio to Indiana and Iowa. Others headed north through Pennsylvania and into New England or through Detroit on their way to Canada.
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.
How many Underground Railroad routes were there?
There were four main routes that the enslaved could follow: North along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers to the northern United States and Canada; South to Florida and refuge with the Seminole Indians and to the Bahamas; West along the Gulf of Mexico and into Mexico; and East along the seaboard into Canada.
What was the trail of the Underground Railroad?
The “railroad” used many routes from states in the South, which supported slavery, to “free” states in the North and Canada. Sometimes, routes of the Underground Railroad were organized by abolitionists, people who opposed slavery. If caught, fugitive enslaved persons would be forced to return to slavery.
Did the Underground Railroad go through Indiana?
The Underground Railroad in Indiana was part of a larger, unofficial, and loosely-connected network of groups and individuals who aided and facilitated the escape of runaway slaves from the southern United States. An eastern route from southeastern Indiana counties followed stations along the Indiana-Ohio border.
How far did the Underground Railroad stretch?
The length of the route to freedom varied but was often 500 to 600 miles. Those who were strong—and lucky—might make it to freedom in as little as two months. For others, the journey could last more than a year. Harriet Tubman was one of the most famous conductors along the Underground Railroad.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
Can you take a tour of the Underground Railroad?
Schedule Your Visit Our adjusted hours of operations are Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 4pm (EST). Learn more about what you can see and do at the visitor center, and explore the stories of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad!
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.
Were there slaves in Indianapolis?
Even with statehood, there was still slavery in Indiana. Despite slavery and indentures becoming illegal in 1816 due to the state constitution, the 1820 federal census listed 190 slaves in Indiana.
Places of the Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)
A map of the United States depicting the many paths that freedom seekers might follow in order to attain freedom. NPS provided the image. When enslaved African Americans attempted to obtain their escape via the use of an underground railroad network of routes, safehouses, and resources distributed across the country, they were referred to as “fugitives from justice.” This attempt was frequently spontaneous, with enslaved persons setting off on their quest to liberation on their own initiative.
During the 1820s and 1830s, the United States experienced a surge in the number of people who sought independence from oppression.
In certain instances, the choice to aid a freedom seeking may have been a result of a spur of the moment decision.
Origins of the Underground Railroad
Enslaved people have long sought liberation, dating back to the earliest days of the institution of slavery. Colonial North America – which included Canada and the northern states of the United States – was heavily involved in the slave trade during the nineteenth century. Newly enslaved Africans frequently fled in groups with the intention of establishing new communities in isolated locations. Slavery was particularly widespread in the northern states, making escape extremely difficult. Before the mid-nineteenth century, Spanish Florida and Mexico were the most popular escape destinations for those fleeing bondage.
- The Clemens’ residence is owned by James and Sarah Clemens.
- Following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 by Congress, Canada became a shelter for many people who were hoping to gain their freedom.
- Those living in free Black communities in the North were devastated by this.
- However, as a result of these seizures and kidnappings, a large number of individuals were persuaded to provide assistance as part of the Underground Railroad.
- Formerly enslaved men and women also played an important part in assisting freedom seekers, such as the Clemens family, in their quest for freedom.
- In addition to establishing a school and a cemetery, they served as a station on the Underground Railroad from their residence.
Several freedom seekers made their way to Greenville as their last destination. Bethel AME Church is a congregation of African-Americans. Photo by Smallbones, used under a Creative Commons license.
The Role of Women in the Underground Railroad
A large number of women were involved in the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman was one of the most well-known Underground Railroad conductors, having undertaken more than a dozen excursions into slave-holding states to assist oppressed persons in their journey to freedom. Despite the fact that Tubman had several hiding places, oral histories indicate that she regularly stopped at the Bethel AME Church in Greenwich Township, New Jersey, to rest. Freedom seekers traveling north from Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Delaware were accommodated in the church, which was located in the center of the Black village of Springtown.
- One of her most well-known routes was through Delaware, which led north.
- CC BY-SA 4.0 license, photo by Historic Newton.
- Mary Jackson and her family, who lived in Massachusetts at the time, donated their farm as a safe haven for anyone fleeing slavery through the Underground Railroad.
- Ellen was instrumental in the establishment of the Freedman’s Aid Society in Newton in 1865.
- Photo by Jim Roberts, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
- Due to the fact that the Underground Railroad was made up of a loose network of persons – both enslaved and free – there is little evidence on how it functioned and who was involved.
- When she blogged about her experiences hosting freedom seekers at their home, she received a lot of positive feedback.
- Nathan Thomas House in Schoolcraft, Michigan.
Legacy of the Underground Railroad
Locations related with the Underground Railroad may be found all throughout the United States, and a number of national preservation projects are devoted to recording these historical places of significance. In the case of the National Park Service’sNetwork to Freedomprogram, for example, the program includes locations that may be proven to have a link to the Underground Railroad. By working in conjunction with government agencies, people, and organizations to recognize, preserve, and promote the history of resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, the Network to Freedom hopes to bring attention to this important part of human history.
- The Barney L.
- The public domain is a term used to describe a piece of property that is owned by the public.
- Identification, evaluation, and protection of America’s historic and archeological resources are the goals of this National Park Service initiative, which brings together public and private efforts.
- This is true of places such as theBarney L.
- With the help of the Underground Railroad, Barney was able to escape from his bondage.
- Barney finally settled in Denver, where he made a name for himself as a successful businessman.
- Barney was also an outspoken fighter for African-American civil rights, and he played a crucial part in Colorado’s admittance to the Union as a free state.
- Ford Building contribute to the telling of the tale of the Underground Railroad and its participants – both free and enslaved – in the United States.
Members of the public can assist in the recognition and preservation of locations, structures, and landscapes linked with the Underground Railroad by nominating them to the Network to Freedom or to the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
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?
Amy Tikkanen has made the most current revisions and updates to this page.
Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854-1865
Running away slaves from slave states to the North and Canada were assisted by white and African American abolitionists, who set up a network of hiding sites around the country where fugitives could conceal themselves during the day and move under cover of night. In spite of the fact that the majority of runaways preferred to travel on foot and trains were rarely used, the secret network was referred to as the “Underground Railroad” by all parties involved. The term first appeared in literature in 1852, when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote about a secret “underground” line in her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
- Those working in the Underground Railroad utilized code terms to keep their identities hidden from others.
- While traveling on the Underground Railroad, both runaways and conductors had to endure terrible conditions, harsh weather, and acute starvation.
- Many were willing to put their lives on the line, especially after the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act made it illegal to provide assistance to escaped slaves, even in free areas.
- At the time, an abolitionist came to the conclusion that “free colored people shared equal fate with the breathless and the slave.” Listen to a tape of filmmaker Gary Jenkins talking on the Underground Railroad in the West at the Kansas City Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Underground Railroad routes that extended into Kansas and branched out into northern states like as Iowa and Nebraska, as well as all the way into Canada, were often utilized by the fugitives.
When asked about his feelings on doing so much good for the oppressed while doing so much harm to the oppressors, one conductor from Wakarusa, Kansas, responded, “I feel pretty happy and thankfullthat I have been able to do so much good for the oppressed, so much harm to the oppressors.” It was not uncommon for well-known persons to be connected with the Underground Railroad, such as Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and then returned 19 times to the South to help emancipate over 300 slaves.
- Tubman was said to have carried a revolver in order to guarantee that she never lost track of a passenger.
- Individuals from Kansas also played significant roles, such as Enoch and Luther Platt, who managed railroad stations out of their house in Wabaunsee County, Kansas Territory, in the 1850s.
- It is possible for “shareholders” to make donations to such groups, which may be used to supply supplies or to construct additional lines.
- In addition to developing new routes, members of assistance organisations evaluated the routes to ensure that men, women, and children could travel in safety on them.
During an escape, engineers guided passengers and notified the remainder of the train to reroute if there was a threat to the train’s integrity. The Underground Railroad: A Deciphering Guide
- The Underground Railroad, also known as the Freedom or Gospel Train
- Cargo, passengers, or luggage: fugitives from justice
- The StationorDepot is a safe haven for fugitives from slavery. A person who escorted fugitive slaves between stations was known as a conductor, engineer, agent, or shepherd. The term “stationmaster” refers to someone who oversaw a station and assisted runaways along their path. shareholder or stockholder: an abolitionist who made financial donations to the Underground Railroad during the American Civil War
Conductors from Kansas may easily cross the border into Missouri in order to establish contact with suspected runaway passengers. During the war, slaves residing in Missouri, which was so near to the free state of Kansas, were especially enticed to utilize the Underground Railroad to cross the border into the free state of Kansas to escape. Despite the fact that he did not know exact ways into Kansas, one African-American man expressed his confidence in his ability to reach Lawrence, a town around 40 miles from the state line and home to “the Yankees,” which means “the Yankees are waiting for you.” Conductors frequently provided fugitives with clothing and food for their excursions, and even did it at their own expense on occasion.
- Due to the possibility of being questioned by pursuers, several conductors preferred not to know specific information about the fugitives they assisted.
- In the aftermath of their successful escapes to other free states, a small number of passengers returned to Kansas, including William Dominick Matthews, a first lieutenant in the Independent Battery of the United States Colored Light Artillery in Fort Leavenworth.
- Matthews maintained a boarding house in Leavenworth, Kansas, with the assistance of Daniel R.
- Aside from that, as could be expected, very little is known about the specific individuals and families that aided or were assisted by the Underground Railroad.
In order to contact prospective runaways, conductors from Kansas could simply travel from Kansas into Missouri. While the war was going on, slaves residing in Missouri, which was so near to the free state of Kansas, were especially enticed to utilize the Underground Railroad to cross the border into Kansas and escape slavery. Despite the fact that he did not know exact ways into Kansas, one African-American man expressed his confidence in his ability to reach Lawrence, a town around 40 miles from the state line and home to “the Yankees,” which means “the Yankees are waiting for me.” Conductors frequently provided fugitives with clothing and food for their excursions, and they did it at their own expense on many occasions as well.
One conductor said that his horse died from severe exhaustion after a 63-mile voyage into Kansas that took less than ten hours, according to his account.
Former slaves marrying after their emancipation or joining the Union Army were among the information that abolitionists received.
Other African American troops were recruited into the First Colored Kansas Volunteer Infantry by Matthews, who also served in the unit.
Anthony, the brother of suffragist Susan B. Anthony. The boarding home eventually became an Underground Railroad depot. Aside from that, as could be expected, very little is known about the specific individuals and families that aided or were supported by the Underground Railroad in its operations.
Facts, information and articles about the Underground Railroad
Aproximate year of birth: 1780
The beginnings of the American Civil War occurred around the year 1862.
Estimates range between 6,000 and 10,000.
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.
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.
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. It was imperative that the runaways maintain their eyes on the North Star at all times; only by keeping that star in front of them could they be certain that they were on their trip north.
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 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.
Following her capture, Lucy was carried back to Ohio County, Virginia, and punished, but she was released at some time when Union soldiers took control of the region. 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.
4.4 The Underground Railroad – Human Geography Lab Manual
Begin by visiting The Underground Railroad map on ArcGIS Online, where you may explore the map. Step 2: While the Details button is highlighted, select the Show Legend option from the context menu.
- Which states permitted slavery to exist? Which states did not enslave their citizens
- Which areas were the most enslaved
- What reasons contributed to these places being the most enslaved
Step 3: Select the Show Map Contents button from the drop-down menu. Step 4: Select Bookmarks from the drop-down menu. Choose the Underground Railroad option. Step 5: Enable the Map Notes layer in the Layers panel. Map Notes for Northern Michigan can be found by opening and reading them.
- Why did rivers serve as effective escape routes? Which rivers do you believe are the great river and the tiny river, and why do you believe this?
Rivers were useful escape routes for a variety of reasons. The huge river and the tiny river, according to your estimation, are the following rivers: Step 7: Remove the filter from the water. Step 8: Enable the Notable Underground Railroad Stations layer in the Layers panel.
- 7. Remove the filter from your water supply. The Notable Underground Railroad Stations layer should be turned on at this point. Step 8:
Step 9: Select the two purple stations from the drop-down menu.
- Step 9: Select the two purple stations from the drop-down menus.
Step 10: Enable the Routes layer in the Layers panel.
- What trends do you detect in these networks that you would want to share?
Step 11: Turn off the Stations layer in the Layers panel. Step 12: Windsor, turn on the layer you just created. The Measure tool should be used to answer the questions button in Step 13.
- The majority of fugitive slaves were from border states. What is the reason for this
- How far is the Ohio River from Windsor
- What is the distance between the mouth of the Ohio River and the mouth of the Mississippi River
- What is the distance from Windsor and the mouth of the Mississippi River
- Aside from the distance, what additional considerations made departing the Deep South so challenging
Because of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, assisting escaped slaves in the United States is now a federal offense.
- Was the Underground Railroad instrumental in convincing southern legislators to enact more stringent anti-fleeing slave legislation? Specifically, what effect did a more stringent Fugitive Slave Act have on the Underground Railroad.
Pathways to Freedom
Do we have a complete list of all of the Underground Railroad routes and stations? Numerous routes and stations have remained undiscovered up to this day. When enslaved individuals were attempting to flee their captivity via the Underground Railroad, it was critical that their whereabouts remain a secret. Despite the fact that William Still wrote about several locations in Pennsylvania, he did not frequently include stations or conductors in Maryland since it was considered too risky at the time of his writing.
- Occasionally, conductors from those locations ventured south to assist fugitives in reaching safety.
- At the start of his voyage north, Frederick Douglass boarded a train at President Street Station in Baltimore and headed north.
- We do know that Frederick Douglass embarked on his successful rail journey north from Baltimore’s President Street Station, which is where he left from.
- In the daytime, many groups went through the fields and forests, remaining hidden from view.
- We know that free blacks and even some enslaved persons took refuge in the homes of fleeing slave owners.
- Churches and schools were operated by free blacks.
- Maryland was home to a large number of Quakers.
- Because the Underground Railroad performed such a wonderful job, and because the conductors were true heroes, many modern people believe that a tunnel or a trap door in their home or other building indicates that it was formerly a stop on the Underground Railroad system.
- Historians are similar to detectives in their work.
- First and foremost, they must gather genuine, solid proof.
Historical data concerning Underground Railroad stations and routes in Maryland will be added to the site as new information becomes available to historians. If it was such a closely guarded secret, how did we come to know about it today? «return to the home page»
Underground Railroad in Iowa
Do we have a complete list of all of the Underground Railroad routes and stops that have been identified? Numerous routes and stations have been undiscovered up to this point. While persons enslaved in the United States were attempting to escape through the Underground Railroad, it was critical that their whereabouts remain unknown. Despite the fact that William Still wrote about several locations in Pennsylvania, he did not generally include stations or conductors in Maryland since it was deemed too risky at the time of his writing.
- Conductors were sometimes sent south to assist fugitives fleeing to safety from those locations.
- President Street Station in Baltimore served as the starting point for Frederick Douglass’ voyage north.
- Researchers are putting in tremendous effort to determine the exact locations of stations and routes in the state.
- In order to lead parties out of Maryland, we know that Harriet Tubman and Samuel Burris went from either Pennsylvania or Delaware.
- In certain cases, fugitives were hidden in the homes of free blacks and even some enslaved individuals.
- Churches and schools were run by free blacks.
- Maryland was home to a large number of Quaker communities.
- Because the Underground Railroad performed such a wonderful job, and because the conductors were true heroes, many modern people believe that a tunnel or a trap door in their home or other building signifies that it was once a stop on the Underground Railroad network.
- Historical researchers work in a similar way to police officers.
- First and foremost, they must gather genuine, credible proof.
Historical evidence concerning Underground Railroad stations and routes in Maryland will be added to the site as new information becomes available to the researchers. So, how did we find out about it today if it was such a closely guarded secret? return to the home page»
- 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. 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.
- Instructions for the Research and Biographical Form
- Biographical Form
- Sample Biographical Form
- Biographical Form
Iowa and the Underground Railroad
Beginning in the late 1700s and continuing until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the Underground Railroad was a network of people who assisted runaway slaves in their attempts to escape slavery. It included both northern and southern states, spanning from Texas all the way up to Maine. The vast majority of runaway slaves fled to Canada from the Deep South, although a minor number journeyed further south to Mexico and the Caribbean. Due to the fact that slaves were considered property in the United States at the time, helping runaway slaves was deemed larceny under American law at the time.
- Prior to the American Revolution, slavery was lawful across the British Empire, including the United States.
- These principles would transform the lives of black people, and many of them fought in the American Revolution in the hope that these rights would be given to them as well.
- Vermont became the first state in the new United States of America to pass anti-slavery legislation after the British were defeated in the Revolutionary War in 1777.
- Apart from that, there were no laws in the newly created United States that forced civilians to return fugitive slaves to their owners.
- The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution both stated similar views on the subject at the time.
- Taking it a step further, the Fleeing Slave Act of 1850 declared aiding and abetting fugitive slaves a federal felony punishable by penalties or jail.
- As the Underground Railroad network began to take shape, people began to fill a number of positions inside it.
Fugitive slaves were often referred to as passengers, cargo, fleece, or freight when they were on the run.
Others choose to play a more passive role.
The modes of transportation used varied from one region to the next, and were mostly determined by concealment and closeness to slave hunters.
In contrast to this, the majority of fleeing slaves travelled at night, particularly in towns with ambivalent sentiments regarding slavery.
In the middle of the night, conductors would walk or ride horses to the next station to transport them.
Because of its physical proximity between Missouri, a slave state to the south, and Illinois, a free state to the east, Iowa saw a substantial amount of Underground Railroad activity during this period.
That meant that when Iowa became a state in the Union in 1846, it would be a free state.
Most fugitive slaves crossed through Iowa on their route to other free states farther north or to Canada, where Britain would protect them from being arrested and returned to slavery.
Southeastern Iowa was also home to a large number of fugitive slaves from northern Missouri who were making their way to the Mississippi River and Illinois.
Numerous Iowans also became involved in the growing political opposition to the expansion of slavery into the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which culminated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and granted Kansas and Nebraska the authority to determine their own slave-holding status.
You may get further information about the history of the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements in Iowa and other states by clicking here. Take a look at the resources listed below.
- Beginning in the late 1700s and continuing until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the Underground Railroad was a network of people who assisted runaway slaves in their attempts to flee slavery. Between Texas and Maine, it stretched over northern and southern states. While the vast majority of fugitive slaves fled to Canada, a small number made their way south to Mexico and the Caribbean islands. Because they were legally considered property at the time, helping fugitive slaves was deemed larceny under U.S. law during that time frame. Anyone found guilty of supporting an escaped slave might face a fine as well as imprisonment. The institution of slavery was lawful across the British Empire prior to the American Revolution. It happened after the Enlightenment period, when people came to believe in and advocate for the notion of a person’s right to life, liberty, and property. In the minds of black people, these values would transform their lives, and many fought in the American Revolution in the hopes that these rights would be given to them as well. Slavery was questioned by many early American colonists, prompting the emergence of the abolitionist movement in response to their beliefs. Vermont was the first state to join the newly formed United States of America with anti-slavery legislation after the British were defeated in the American Revolutionary War in 1775. By 1780, Pennsylvania had followed suit, and by 1804 all northern states had done the same. The newly founded United States also did not have any laws requiring individuals to return fugitive slaves to their owners. Laws mandating the return of fugitive slaves were enacted, however, out of concern for property rights. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution both stated identical views on the subject at the time of their adoption. A provision in the Constitution known as the “fugitive slave clause” states that “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws of that State, who escapes into another, shall, as a result of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall, upon the Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due, be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labor may be due.” Abolishing slavery was strengthened by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which granted slaveholders the power to retrieve runaway slaves and granted judges the authority to determine the legal status of fugitive slaves. Taking it a step further, the Fleeing Slave Act of 1850 declared aiding and abetting fugitive slaves a federal felony punishable by penalties and jail. Treason charges might be brought against those who are proven guilty in some instances. A number of positions were filled within the Underground Railroad network as the network came into being. Among the slave networks, station masters, for example, concealed slaves in their homes or on their land, which was known to as a station or depot by those who worked in it. Fleecing slaves were referred to as passengers, cargo, fleece, and freight when they were on the run. It was the responsibility of Underground Railroad conductors to guide runaway slaves via the Underground Railroad routes or tracks. Others were more passive in their participation. General agents, for example, connected fleeing slaves to persons who could assist them on the Underground Railroad, and investors contributed to the Underground Railroad network’s financial well-being. Depending on the locale, transportation techniques varied and were mostly dictated by concealment and closeness to slave hunters, among other considerations. When fleeing slaves were carried during the day in covered wagons, they were generally disguised under hay or other items of value in villages that were nearly completely anti-slavery. In contrast to this, the majority of fleeing slaves travelled at night, especially in towns with ambivalent sentiments regarding slavery. They remained in near-constant concealment in numerous locations, which included fields and secret chambers in private homes. Nighttime transportation was provided by walking or horseback conductors, who transported them to the next location. In addition to buses, trains were sometimes utilized, but this was less frequent due to the high cost and careful supervision. Given its physical proximity to Missouri, a slave state to the south, and Illinois, a free state to the east, Iowa had a substantial amount of Underground Railroad activity during this period. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 also stated that no state north of the 36°30′ parallel (apart from Missouri) could be admitted as a slave state into the United States of America. In other words, when Iowa became a state in 1846, it would be a free one. Some settlers in Iowa did not believe slavery was wrong, but many did, and many of those who did came from neighboring free states or were linked with religious groups such as the Quakers and Congregationalists, who were outspoken in their opposition to the institution. Fugitive slaves sometimes went through Iowa on their route to other free states farther north or to Canada, where Britain would protect them from being returned if they were caught. The majority of Underground Railroad action in Iowa took occurred in Fremont and Mills counties, when runaway slaves journeyed from western Missouri to escape their captors. Many fleeing slaves from northern Missouri made their way to the Mississippi River and Illinois through southeastern Iowa, as well. During the 1850s, large Underground Railroad stations were established at Tabor and Civil Bend, both in western Iowa. There were many Iowans who became involved in the growing political opposition to the expansion of slavery into the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which culminated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise while granting Kansas and Nebraska the authority to determine their own slave-holding status. Do you want to learn more about the history of the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements in Iowa and beyond? Look no further. See the links below for further information.
Hangout – The Underground Railroad
Tracks to Freedom: The Inspiring Story of the Underground Railroad
The film from 2013 The film 12 Years a Slave pushed the most heinous period of American history to the forefront of the public’s attention. The majority of slaves perished while in service. The Underground Railroad, a network of safe homes and committed assistance that was established to aid those from slavery, was only known to a fortunate (and daring) few. The Underground Railroad, which has long been the stuff of legend and local culture, has been criticized for being either overstated or underrated.
Foner speaks from his office on New York’s Upper West Side, where he explains how a chance discovery in the Columbia University archives set him on a path of discovery, how one of George Washington’s concerns after the War of Independence was reclaiming his slaves, and why the Underground Railroad is something to be celebrated at a time when the shooting of black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has roiled race relations in the United States.
In your own words, tell us about your discovery of Gay’s “Register of Fugitives” and how it influenced your decision to narrate this tale.
His documents are in this room, and she revealed to me one day that there was a small document in this room that dealt with fugitive slaves.
It was these two little notebooks titled “Record of Fugitives” that had the answers.
Because he was a journalist, he conducted interviews with them, and the resulting notebook is jam-packed with fascinating information about who owned these slaves, where they came from, how they escaped, who assisted them, how they arrived in New York, and where Gay sent them on their way to freedom in Canada.
- Please provide us with a brief profile.
- He was born in Massachusetts and began his abolitionist career about 1840-41, first as a public speaker and then as a writer.
- Abolitionists found themselves in a difficult climate in New York.
- Gay, on the other hand, was an admirably brave individual.
- His newspaper office also served as a sort of “station on the Underground Railroad,” with slaves traveling through from as far south as the Carolinas.
- Prior to the Civil War, the Underground Railroad was considered to be little more than a piece of local folklore.
- In both ways, the Underground Railroad has been presented in an inaccurate manner.
Some academics, on the other hand, consider it to be completely worthless.
A little plaque on the front door of every house in various communities in New England or upstate New York proclaiming, “This was a stop on the Underground Railroad” seems to be a common sight in these areas.
It was a work in progress.
It was primarily a network of local groups that interacted with one another.
During any given period of time in New York City, there were seldom more than a dozen persons actively working to aid slaves.
As a result, one should avoid exaggerating the situation.
Many people, including myself, were under the impression that the Underground Railroad was actually a railroad.
The exact origin of the name, as well as the date on which it was first used, are unknown.
However, by the 1840s, it had become commonly recognized as a metaphor for a hidden network of networks that assisted fugitives in their escape.
Slaves managed to escape in a variety of ways.
If you could get your hands on some “free documents” from someone in the upper South, you could hop on a train and go up to the northernmost part of the country via rail.
One portion of this narrative was brought to life in the film 12 Years a Slave.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is that it tells the narrative of a free man who is abducted and forced into slavery.
In New York City, there were gangs that preyed on black people, particularly children, and took advantage of their vulnerability.
The New York Vigilance Committee was the first group to establish the Underground Railroad, which was established in 1831.
Then they expanded their services to include fugitives passing through the city on their way to safety.
They just snatched them and returned them to their owners.
Your novel has a large number of heroes and heroines.
Please tell us about her and her business activities.
Unlike the majority of those who managed to flee, she returned multiple times during the 1850s.
If you were discovered assisting a fleeing slave in the South, the sanctions were severe and life-threatening.
As a result, anyone who attempted this in the South was taking a huge risk.
This record, the “Record of Fugitives,” has information about her two trips to New York City in 1855 and 1856, and she is mentioned in it.
That was an intriguing title, in my opinion.
Her reputation as someone of great courage had already preceded her at the time, despite the fact that the title “Captain” was not generally used to women at the time (it is a military rank).
Harriet Tubman emerged with four fleeing slaves, according to the author’s description in his book.
To what extent did Delaware play a role in the Underground Railroad?
This is a pretty small town, as you are well aware of.
Delaware, on the other hand, had nearly no slaves.
Wilmington was a strange place to be.
A Wilmington merchant called Thomas Garrett claimed to have aided 3,000 fleeing slaves over the span of around 30 years before to the Civil War, according to one of the Quakers who made the claim.
One of the fugitives, whose name appears in Gay’s records, informs him that he is wanted for murder “When I arrived in Pennsylvania, I knocked on a door and requested to be sent to a Quaker meeting.
In this narrative, please tell us about the British aspect of it.
Washington was up in New York, speaking with General Clinton, the leader of the British forces in the city.
At the period, the British government was not an abolitionist.
Clinton, on the other hand, stated, “We must follow through on our promises.
Indeed, I would appreciate it if you could keep an eye out for a couple of my slaves who I believe are in the area.” It’s a sign of the paradox that was built into American history from the beginning: that you have a war for liberty, but it’s being fought by slave owners in the first place.
The issue of fleeing slaves was one of the underlying irritants that contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War.
First and foremost, the authority of the Southern states to repatriate their fugitives is enshrined in the United States Constitution.
It doesn’t specify who is required to apprehend them or who bears accountability for this task.
For the first time, it became the responsibility of the federal government.
These cases would be heard by a new category of officials known as federal commissioners, who were appointed by the president.
In addition, it was retroactive.
This became a major source of contention between the North and the South.
Although the South desired this law, which overrode all of the powers granted to northern states, it was also an extremely bold display of national authority on the issue of slave trade and slavery.
Unarmed slave owners were slain in Pennsylvania as a crowd attempted to defend fleeing slaves from being captured by authorities.
This occurred in Syracuse at the same time.
In response, Southerners asked, “How can we trust the North when they willfully break federal law and constitutional rules when it comes to fugitive slaves?” Southerners asked.
What, if anything, has your perspective on early American history changed as a result of authoring this book?
So I’m not sure if my point of view has entirely shifted.
Because this was done in secrecy, no one knows what the precise numbers were.
In 1860, there were four million slaves in the United States, so this is a drop in the bucket.
However, I believe it to be a big accomplishment.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of racial animosity in this nation as a result of incidents involving the police, such as the one in Ferguson, Missouri.
A good example of black and white people working together in an inter-racial movement for a fair cause is shown here. And I believe we should be pleased with ourselves. Book Talk is curated by Simon Worrall. Subscribe to his blog atsimonworrallauthor.com or follow him on Twitter.
The Underground Railroad in Ohio
|Topic||The Underground Railroad in Ohio|
|Time Period||Early to mid 1800s|
|Keyword(s)||Slavery, Underground Railroad, African Americans, Abolition|
|Learning standard(s)||(Grade 8 Social Studies) History Strand: Historical Thinking and Skills, Content Statement 1; Colonization to Independence, Content Statement 4; Civil War and Reconstruction, Content Statement 12 / (High School Social Studies) American History: Historical Thinking and Skills, Content Statement 2; Industrialization and Progressivism, Content Statement 13|
This is the film from 2013. The film 12 Years a Slave pushed the most heinous period in American history to the forefront of the public’s attention. It was in service that the vast majority of slaves perished. The Underground Railroad, a network of safe homes and committed assistance that was established to aid those from slavery, was only known to a lucky (and daring) few. Since its inception, the Underground Railroad has frequently been overvalued or undervalued, depending on who you ask. A new book by Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, puts the record right on what was formerly considered a controversial subject.
What was the catalyst for your discovery of Gay’s “Register of Fugitives” and how it influenced your decision to present this story?
All of his files are in this room, and she revealed to me one day that there was a small document in this room that dealt with fugitive slaves.
“Record of Fugitives” was the title of these two little notebooks.
Having interviewed them due to his position as a journalist, Gay’s notebook contains fascinating information about who owned these slaves, where they came from, how they escaped, who assisted them in their escape, how they arrived in New York, and where Gay sent them on their way to freedom in Canada.
- Make a brief introduction about yourself.
- The author was born in Massachusetts and initially became active as an abolitionist about 1840-1841, first as a public speaker and then as a writer.
- Abolitionists found New York to be an especially hostile setting.
- Gay, on the other hand, was a brave individual.
- Aside from being a newspaper office, it also served as a sort of Underground Railroad stop, with slaves coming through from as far south as possible.
- At one point in its history, many people thought the Underground Railroad was nothing more than a piece of local folklore.
- It has been shown erroneously on both sides of the border, including the United States.
However, other academics consider it to be completely unworthy of study.
Because there is so much legend around the Underground Railroad, I began out with a skepticism about the whole thing.
Nevertheless, when I dug more into these records, I came to the conclusion that there had been such a network in existence.
A lot of the communication took place between small, local organizations.
The number of persons actively working to help slaves in New York City was never more than a dozen at any given moment.
As a result, it’s important not to overstate the case.
For many years, many people, including myself, were under the impression that the Underground Railroad was actually a railroad.
The exact origin of the term, as well as the date on which it was first employed, are unknown.
However, by the 1840s, it had become commonly recognized as a metaphor for a hidden network of networks that assisted fugitives in their pursuit of justice.
Escape routes for slaves were many.
There were trains that ran between the upper South and the North, and if you could get your hands on some “free papers” from someone, you could board a train and travel up to the North.
In one element of this narrative, the film 12 Years a Slave brought it to light.
Something about the film stands out to me: the tale is on an undocumented individual who is abducted and sold into slavery.
It was common for gangs to prey on black people in New York City, particularly children.
A group known as the New York Vigilance Committee is credited with establishing the Underground Railroad.
Afterwards, they expanded their services to include fugitives passing through the city on their way to safety in the South.
They simply snatched them from under our noses and returned them.
In your novel, there are a lot of heroes and heroines.
In your own words, tell us about her and her business.
Her escape was unusual in that she returned multiple times throughout the 1850s, unlike most others.
It was a serious crime in the South to assist a fleeing slave, and the sanctions were severe.
In other words, anyone who attempted this in the South was taking a huge risk.
This document, the “Record of Fugitives,” contains information about her two trips through New York City in 1855 and 1856.
Harriet Tubman is the nickname given to her by Sydney Howard Gay.
There is an inference that he knew her before to this or knew who she was before she committed herself.
A line of Quakers from Wilmington, North Carolina, harbored escaped slaves during the Civil War.
Delmarva was a significant state.
Although on the road between Maryland’s eastern shore, where slavery was prevalent, and the free lands of Pennsylvania, it was an important stop.
It is largely persons going through from Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia, because there were only 1,800 slaves in Delaware by 1860.
However, despite the fact that it was in a slave state, it was just five or six miles from the Pennsylvania border and it was one of the very few places where there was an active anti-slavery campaign involving Quakers.
Because of their anti-slavery stance, the Quakers were well-known throughout the South, including among slaves.
Please send me to a Quaker, I don’t care who it is.” One of George Washington’s primary priorities following the War of Independence was regaining control of his slaves, which is a bit unnerving to learn.
While evacuating Charleston and Savannah after World War II ended, the British took with them a large number of slaves.
New York City was the destination of thousands of fugitive slaves.
With slavery flourishing throughout the British Empire, it is little surprise that Clinton, on the other hand, stated that “We have to follow through on our commitments to one another.
Bush stated that “In order for us to regain control of our slaves, And I would like it if you could keep an eye out for a couple of my slaves who I believe may be hiding somewhere in this building.” It’s a sign of the paradox that was built into American history from the beginning: that you have a battle for liberty, but it’s being fought by slave owners in the process.
- In the years leading up to the American Civil War, one of the most persistent issues was the issue of fugitive slaves.
- As a starting point, the right of the Southern states to repatriate their fugitives is protected by the United States Constitution.
- Nobody knows who is expected to capture them or who is in charge of ensuring that they are apprehended.
- For the first time, it became a matter of national concern.
- These matters would be heard by a new type of officials known as federal commissioners, who were appointed by the federal government.
- The law was also applicable to previous years.
- Between the North and the South, this became a major source of tension.
Although the South desired this rule, which overrode all of the powers granted to northern states, it was also an extremely bold display of national authority on the issue of slave trade protection.
Unarmed slave owners were slain in Pennsylvania as a crowd attempted to defend fleeing slaves from being captured by law enforcement officials.
In Syracuse, the same thing occurred.
“How can we trust the North since they are prepared to violate federal law and constitutional principles when it comes to fugitive slaves?” Southerners began to ask.
When it comes to early American history, how has authoring this book influenced your perspective?
My point of view may have evolved, but I’m not sure.
As a result of the secrecy surrounding this, no one knows what the precise statistics are.
In 1860, there were four million slaves, so this is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall population.
It is, nonetheless, a tremendous achievement, in my opinion, Inspiring, I think you’ll agree.
Here’s an example of black and white individuals working together in a fair cause as part of an inter-racial movement: And I believe that is something to be proud of as a nation.
Book Talk is organized by Simon Worrall. To keep up with him, follow him on Twitter or visit his website, Simon Worrall Author.
The Underground Railroad
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County provided this contribution.
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center — “The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a museum of conscience, an education center, a facilitator of discussion, and a beacon of light for inclusive freedom across the world,” according to the center’s mission statement. “It is located in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.”
- A historical summary of the Underground Railroad and Ohio’s role in it is offered by the Ohio History Connection in this page titled “Ohio History Central: Underground Railroad” (subscription required). The National Afro-American Museum is located in Washington, D.C. Center for the Arts – At this museum in Wilberforce, Ohio, which is home to two historically black institutions, Wilberforce and Central State, visitors may take part in frequently changing exhibitions and special activities that celebrate African American history, art, and culture. Underground Railroad —A discussion and description of the Underground Railroad, as well as biographical information about abolitionists from the Detroit, Michigan region – Detroit Historical Society Underground Railroad
As a starting point, this guide will detail some possible ways for students to interact with digital content. It also includes recommendations for having students pull information from the examples given above. Guide for Participation in a Discussion (Download)
- As a starting point, this guide will detail some possible ways for students to engage with digital content. It also includes recommendations for having students pull information from the examples given before. Guide for the Discussion (Download)
Activities in the Classroom (Download)
- Were fugitive slaves from other states uniformly welcomed in Ohio? Investigate the history of the Fugitive Slave Laws of 1793 and 1850, including how they influenced the operations of the Underground Railroad, as well as the perspectives of Ohioans on slavery during the nineteenth century. Visit the National Park Service’s list of official Underground Railroad locations for further information. Individuals or small groups can participate in this activity. Choose one to research for a brief presentation for the class (individual) OR one to research for a short presentation for the class (group) Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a different Ohio location for a group presentation. Imagine that you, or you and a group of people, have managed to flee the southern United States and make your way north
- Using the information you’ve learned about the Underground Railroad, write a first-person account of what it would have been like to make this perilous journey, either alone or with a group of other people. Consider the hazards you would face along the journey, the route you would take to get to safety, and how you would have felt about the individuals who assisted you
- Think about the people who aided you.