The Underground Railroad—the resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, through the end of the Civil War—refers to the efforts of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom by escaping bondage. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape.
Was the Underground Railroad real?
- A: The Underground Railroad was not a real railroad. It is in no way associated with any kind of train or tracks. Also, the Underground Railroad was not underground. It was an organized network of routes that helped slaves escape from slavery to freedom in the 1800′s that were described using railroad terms.
Which describes the purpose of the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was the term used to describe a network of meeting places, secret routes, passageways and safehouses used by slaves in the U.S. to escape slave-holding states to northern states and Canada.
What is a fact about the Underground Railroad?
During the 1800s, roughly 100,000 enslaved people sought freedom on the Underground Railroad, a network of people and safe houses that formed a series of escape routes that stretched from the American South to Canada and Mexico.
How did Underground Railroad lead to 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 was the Underground Railroad quizlet?
The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early-to-mid 19th century, and used by African-American slaves to escape into free states and Canada with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause.
Was the Underground Railroad a success?
Ironically the Fugitive Slave Act increased Northern opposition to slavery and helped hasten the Civil War. The Underground Railroad gave freedom to thousands of enslaved women and men and hope to tens of thousands more. In both cases the success of the Underground Railroad hastened the destruction of slavery.
How did slaves find the Underground Railroad?
Conductors helped runaway slaves by providing them with safe passage to and from stations. They did this under the cover of darkness with slave catchers hot on their heels. Many times these stations would be located within their own homes and businesses.
How the Underground Railroad worked for kids?
People who worked with the Underground Railroad cared about justice and wanted to end slavery. They risked their lives to help enslaved people escape from bondage, so they could remain safe on the route. Some people say that the Underground Railroad helped to guide 100.000 enslaved people to freedom.
Where did the Underground Railroad lead to?
Underground Railroad routes went north to free states and Canada, to the Caribbean, into United States western territories, and Indian territories. Some freedom seekers (escaped slaves) travelled South into Mexico for their freedom.
What effect did the Underground Railroad have?
The work of the Underground Railroad resulted in freedom for many men, women, and children. It also helped undermine the institution of slavery, which was finally ended in the United States during the Civil War. Many slaveholders were so angry at the success of the Underground Railroad that they grew to hate the North.
How did the Underground Railroad lead to the Civil War quizlet?
How did the Underground Railroad cause the Civil War? *The Underground Railroad was a escape route for fugitive slaves in America. *Slaves would be helped by Northerners or “Quakers” who help slaves escape to Canada. *John Brown believed that this would bring an end to slavery.
What does Underground Railroad mean in history?
-Harriet Tubman, 1896. The Underground Railroad—the resistance to enslavement through escape and flight, through the end of the Civil War—refers to the efforts of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom by escaping bondage. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape.
How did the Underground Railroad work quizlet?
How did the Underground Railroad work? Escaped slaves were lead by conductors. They stopped during the day and traveled at night. They worried freed slaves would take their jobs and they needed cotton that the slaves picked for factories.
What was the Underground Railroad quizlet Chapter 11?
– The Underground Railroad was a system of trails and people used by slaves to escape to freedom before the Civil War. – Harriet Tubman used this trail to rescue slaves.
The Underground Railroad
A network of routes, sites, and individuals existed during the time of slavery in the United States that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in their attempts to escape to the North.SubjectsSocial Studies, United States HistoryImage
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.
- As the network expanded, the railroad metaphor became more prevalent.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were usually on their tails, chasing them down.
- Historians who study the railroad, on the other hand, find it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction.
- Eric Foner is one of the historians that belongs to this group.
- Despite this, the Underground Railroad was at the center of the abolitionist struggle during the nineteenth century.
- Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and abolitionist.
- Cincinnati Museum Center provided the photography.
- 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.
Levi Coffin’s residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he lived as an American Quaker and an abolitionist. As a halt on the Underground Railroad, his home served as an important link in the emancipation of slaves from the South to the United States’ northern climes. Cincinnati Museum Center took the photographs. “> While slavery was in effect, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the northern hemisphere during that time period.
However, even though it was not a genuine railroad, it fulfilled a similar function: it moved people across large distances.
Many of the people who worked on the Underground Railroad were motivated by a desire for justice and a desire to see slavery put out of business—a motivation that was so strong that they were willing to risk their lives and their own freedom in order to aid enslaved individuals in their escape from bondage and to keep them safe along their journey.
- The train metaphor became more and more prevalent as the network increased in size and complexity.
- It was known to as “stations” where the runaways were housed, while “station masters” were those who were in charge of concealing the captives.
- 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 members of a larger organization.
- It has been said that conductors regularly pretended to be enslaved persons in order to smuggle runaways off of plantations during the early days of the railroad.
- Often, the conductors and passengers went 16–19 kilometers (10–20 miles) between each safehouse stop, which was a long distance for them.
- On a regular basis, patrols on the lookout for enslaved persons were hard on their tails.
- Truth and fiction are difficult to distinguish in the minds of historians who study the railroad.
Instead, they argue that much of the action took place openly and in broad daylight.
He went back into the history of the railroad and discovered that, while a massive network existed that kept its actions hidden, the network grew so powerful that it was able to push the myth’s boundaries even farther.
It was the railroad that intensified racial tensions between northern and southern states and hence helped to precipitate the Civil War.
As a halt on the Underground Railroad, his home served as an important link in the emancipation of slaves from the South to the United States’ northern climes.
Civil WarNoun(1860-1865) An American struggle between the Union (north) and the Confederacy (south).
Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to escape to free territories.
The Cincinnati, Ohio, home of American Quaker and abolitionist Levi Coffin. As a station on the Underground Railroad, his home served as an important link in the emancipation of slaves from the South to the North. Photographs courtesy of the Cincinnati Museum Center “> While slavery was in effect, the Underground Railroad was a network of routes, locations, and individuals that assisted enslaved persons in the American South in escaping to the northern hemisphere. The term “Underground Railroad” was employed in a figurative sense rather than literally.
It also did not run underground, but rather through private residences, barns, churches, and commercial establishments.
According to some estimates, the Underground Railroad assisted in the emancipation of one hundred thousand enslaved persons between 1810 and 1850.
Runaway enslaved persons were directed from place to place along the routes by “conductors.” Those who concealed the enslaved individuals were referred to as “station masters,” and the sites where they were hidden were referred to as “stations.” Fugitives who traveled along the routes were referred to as “passengers,” while those who arrived at the safe homes were referred to as “freight.” Contemporary analysis has revealed that the vast majority of persons who took part in the Underground Railroad did it on their own, rather than as part of a larger organization.
- There were people from a variety of vocations and socioeconomic backgrounds there, including previously enslaved people.
- Because of the threat of being apprehended, they carried out the majority of their operations at night.
- The lanterns in the windows welcomed them and assured them of their safety.
- These pictures of the Underground Railroad were etched in the collective memory of the nation, and they grabbed the imaginations of writers, who spun exciting tales of dark, perilous passageways and spectacular escapes of enslaved people from their chains.
- The Underground Railroad was not concealed, according to a number of notable historians who have committed their lives’ work to uncovering the realities about it.
- One of these historians is Eric Foner.
- Despite this, the Underground Railroad was at the center of the abolitionist struggle during the 19th century.
- The Cincinnati, Ohio, home of American Quaker and abolitionist Levi Coffin.
- Photographs courtesy of the Cincinnati Museum Center (1860-1865) American struggle between the Union (north) and the Confederacy (south) (south).
- mythNounlegend or traditional narrative that is told or heard.
Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as slavery). Between 1800 and 1865, abolitionists employed a nounsystem to assist enslaved African Americans in escaping to free states.
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Gina Borgia is a member of the National Geographic Society. Jeanna Sullivan is a member of the National Geographic Society.
According to National Geographic Society’s Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society photographer.
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The True History Behind Amazon Prime’s ‘Underground Railroad’
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Did Colson Whitehead baseThe Underground Railroadon a true story?
“The reality of things,” in Whitehead’s own words, is what he aims to portray in his work, not “the facts.” His characters are entirely made up, and the story of the book, while based on historical facts, is told in an episodic style, as is the case with most episodic fiction. This book traces Cora’s trek to freedom, describing her lengthy trip from Georgia to the Carolinas, Tennessee and Indiana.) Each step of the journey presents a fresh set of hazards that are beyond Cora’s control, and many of the people she meets suffer horrible ends.) What distinguishes The Underground Railroad from previous works on the subject is its presentation of the titular network as a physical rather than a figurative transportation mechanism.
According to Whitehead, who spoke to NPR in 2016, this alteration was prompted by his “childhood belief” that the Underground Railroad was a “literal tunnel beneath the earth”—a misperception that is surprisingly widespread.
Webber Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons While the Underground Railroad was composed of “local networks of anti-slavery people,” both Black and white, according to Pulitzer Prize–winning historianEric Foner, the Underground Railroad actually consisted of “local networks of anti-slavery people, both Black and white, who assisted fugitives in various ways,” from raising funds for the abolitionist cause to taking cases to court to concealing runaways in safe houses.
Although the actual origins of the name are unknown, it was in widespread usage by the early 1840s.
Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition, argues that the Underground Railroad should be referred to as the “Abolitionist Underground” rather than the “Underground Railroad” because the people who ran it “were not just ordinary, well-meaning Northern white citizens, activists, particularly in the free Black community,” she says.
As Foner points out, however, “the majority of the initiative, and the most of the danger, fell on the shoulders of African-Americans who were fleeing.” a portrait taken in 1894 of Harriet Jacobs, who managed to hide in an attic for nearly seven years after fleeing from slavery.
Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons “Recognizable historical events and patterns,” according to Foner, are used by Whitehead in a way that is akin to that of the late Toni Morrison.
According to Sinha, these effects may be seen throughout Cora’s journey.
According to Foner, author of the 2015 bookGateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad, “the more you know about this history, the more you can appreciate what Whitehead is doing in fusing the past and the present, or perhaps fusing the history of slavery with what happened after the end of slavery.”
What time period doesThe Underground Railroadcover?
Caesar (Aaron Pierre) and Cora (Thuso Mbedu) believe they’ve discovered a safe haven in South Carolina, but their new companions’ behaviors are based on a belief in white supremacy, as seen by their deeds. Kyle Kaplan is a producer at Amazon Studios. The Underground Railroad takes place around the year 1850, which coincides with the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act. Runaways who had landed in free states were targeted by severe regulations, and those who supported them were subjected to heavy punishments.
In spite of the fact that it was intended to hinder the Underground Railroad, according to Foner and Sinha, the legislation actually galvanized—and radicalized—the abolitionist cause.
“Every time the individual switches to a different condition, the novel restarts,” the author explains in his introduction.
” Cora’s journey to freedom is replete with allusions to pivotal moments in post-emancipation history, ranging from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in the mid-20th century to white mob attacks on prosperous Black communities in places like Wilmington, North Carolina (targeted in 1898), and Tulsa, Oklahoma (targeted in 1898).
According to Spencer Crew, former president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and emeritus director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, this “chronological jumble” serves as a reminder that “the abolition of slavery does not herald the abolition of racism and racial attacks.” This problem has survived in many forms, with similar effects on the African American community,” says the author.
What real-life events doesThe Underground Railroaddramatize?
Though they believe they’ve discovered a safe haven in South Carolina, Caesar (Aaron Pierre) and Cora (Thuso Mbedu) soon discover that their newfound friends’ acts are motivated by a conviction in white supremacy. The Amazon Studios team, led by Kyle Kaplan, When the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850, it was during this time that the Underground Railroad came into being. Runaways who had landed in free states were targeted by severe regulations, and those who supported them were subjected to heavy punishments.
According to Foner and Sinha, the measure, which was intended to hinder the Underground Railroad, instead galvanized—and radicalized—the abolitionist cause.
“Every time a character moves to a different state, the novel restarts,” the author noted in his introduction.
Cora’s journey to freedom is replete with allusions to pivotal events in post-emancipation history, ranging from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study in the mid-20th century to white mob attacks on prosperous Black communities in places like Wilmington, North Carolina (targeted in 1898), and Tulsa, Oklahoma (targeted in 1898).
According to Spencer Crew, former president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and emeritus director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, this “chronological jumble” serves as a reminder that “the abolition of slavery does not herald the abolition of racism and racial attacks.” These challenges continue to exist in various forms, with comparable consequences for the African-American community.
How doesThe Underground Railroadreflect the lived experience of slavery?
“How can I construct a psychologically plausible plantation?” Whitehead is said to have pondered himself while writing on the novel. According to theGuardian, the author decided to think about “people who have been tortured, brutalized, and dehumanized their whole lives” rather than depicting “a pop culture plantation where there’s one Uncle Tom and everyone is just incredibly nice to each other.” For the remainder of Whitehead’s statement, “Everyone will be battling for the one additional mouthful of food in the morning, fighting for the tiniest piece of property.” According to me, this makes sense: “If you put individuals together who have been raped and tortured, this is how they would behave.” Despite the fact that she was abandoned as a child by her mother, who appears to be the only enslaved person to successfully escape Ridgeway’s clutches, Cora lives in the Hob, a derelict building reserved for outcasts—”those who had been crippled by the overseers’ punishments,.
who had been broken by the labor in ways you could see and in ways you couldn’t see, who had lost their wits,” as Whitehead describes Cora is played by Mbedu (center).
With permission from Amazon Studios’ Atsushi Nishijima While attending a rare birthday party for an older enslaved man, Cora comes to the aid of an orphaned youngster who mistakenly spills some wine down the sleeve of their captor, prompting him to flee.
Cora agrees to accompany Caesar on his journey to freedom a few weeks later, having been driven beyond the threshold of endurance by her punishment and the bleakness of her ongoing life as a slave.
As a result, those who managed to flee faced the potential of severe punishment, he continues, “making it a perilous and risky option that individuals must choose with care.” By making Cora the central character of his novel, Whitehead addresses themes that especially plagued enslaved women, such as the fear of rape and the agony of carrying a child just to have the infant sold into captivity elsewhere.
The account of Cora’s sexual assault in the novel is heartbreakingly concise, with the words “The Hob ladies stitched her up” serving as the final word.
Although not every enslaved women was sexually assaulted or harassed, they were continuously under fear of being raped, mistreated, or harassed, according to the report.
With permission from Amazon Studios’ Atsushi Nishijima The novelist’s account of the Underground Railroad, according to Sinha, “gets to the core of how this venture was both tremendously courageous and terribly perilous.” She believes that conductors and runaways “may be deceived at any time, in situations that they had little control over.” Cora, on the other hand, succinctly captures the liminal state of escapees.
- “What a world it is.
- “Was she free of bondage or still caught in its web?” “Being free had nothing to do with shackles or how much room you had,” Cora says.
- The location seemed enormous despite its diminutive size.
- In his words, “If you have to talk about the penalty, I’d prefer to see it off-screen.” “It’s possible that I’ve been reading this for far too long, and as a result, I’m deeply wounded by it.
- view of it is that it feels a little bit superfluous to me.
- In his own words, “I recognized that my job was going to be coupling the brutality with its psychological effects—not shying away from the visual representation of these things, but focusing on what it meant to the people.” “Can you tell me how they’re fighting back?
History of the United States Based on a true story, this film Books Fiction about the American Civil War Racism SlaveryTelevision Videos That Should Be Watched
What was the Underground Railroad? : Harriet Tubman
“How can I construct a psychologically plausible plantation?” Whitehead is said to have pondered himself while writing the novel. As he explained to theGuardian, rather of portraying “a pop culture plantation where there’s one Uncle Tom and everyone is just incredibly nice to each other,” the author preferred to think “about individuals who’ve been traumatized, brutalized, and dehumanized their whole lives.” “Everyone is going to be battling for that one additional mouthful of breakfast in the morning, fighting for that one extra piece of land,” Whitehead continued.
- If you bring a group of individuals together who have been raped and tortured, that’s what you’re going to get, in my opinion.
- She now lives in the Hob, a derelict building reserved for outcasts—”those who had been crippled by the overseers’ punishments,.
- As Cora’s female enslavers on the Randall plantation, Zsane Jhe, left, and Aubriana Davis, right, take on the roles of Zsane and Aubriana.
- “Under the pitiless branches of the whipping tree,” the guy whips her with his silver cane the next morning, and the plantation’s supervisor gives her a lashing the next day.
- It “truly offers a sense of the type of control that the enslavers have over individuals who are enslaved and the forms of resistance that the slaves attempt to condition,” says Crew of the Underground Railroad.
- By making Cora the central character of his novel, Whitehead addresses themes that uniquely afflict enslaved women, such as the fear of rape and the agony of carrying a child just to have the infant sold into captivity elsewhere.
- The author “writes about it pretty effectively, with a little amount of words, but truly capturing the agony of life as an enslaved lady,” adds Sinha.
- Amazon Studios / Atsushi Nishijima / He claims that the novelist’s depiction of the Underground Railroad “gets to the core of how this undertaking was both tremendously brave and terribly perilous,” as Sinha puts it.
- Escapees’ liminal state is succinctly described by Cora in her own words.
that turns a living jail into your sole shelter,” she muses after being imprisoned in an abolitionist’s attic for months on end: ” How long had she been in bondage, and how long had she been out of it.” “Being free has nothing to do with being chained or having a lot of room,” Cora says further.
- Despite its diminutive size, the space seemed spacious and welcoming.
- Crew believes the new Amazon adaption will stress the psychological toll of slavery rather than merely presenting the physical torture faced by enslaved folks like it did in the first film.
- view of it is that it feels a little needless to have it here.
- In his words, “I recognized that my job was going to be coupling the brutality with its psychological effects—not shying away from the visual representation of these things, but focusing on what it meant to the people.” “Can you tell me how they’re fighting it?
History of the United States of America True Story was used to inspire this film. Books Fiction about the Civil War Racism SlaveryTelevision Videos that should be watched
Why was it called Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad; it was a network of people and ideas. Due to the network’s clandestine actions being secret and illegal, it was necessary for them to remain “underground” in order to aid fleeing slaves in their efforts to remain hidden from the authorities. Historically, the word “railroad” was used to describe a developing transportation system whose proponents communicated in secret through the usage of railroad code (also known as railroad code).
The homes where fugitives would rest and dine were referred to as “stations” or “depots,” and the owner of the property was referred to as the “station master,” while the “conductor” was the person in charge of transporting slaves from one station to the next, among other things.
Secret codes and phrases are included in this exhaustive collection.
With no clearly defined routes, the Underground Railway was a loosely structured network of linkages rather than a well-organized network of connections. They assisted slaves in their journey to freedom by providing them with housing and transportation. Small groups of supporters were formed independently; the majority of them were familiar with a few connecting stations but were unfamiliar with the complete trip. This technique maintained the confidentiality of those participating while also reducing the likelihood of infiltration.
- There was no one path, and there were most likely a number of them.
- These locations are listed on the website of the National Park Service.
- The majority of them traveled on foot and hid in barns or other out-of-the-way locations such as basements and cupboards.
- These committees generated cash to assist fugitives in resettling by providing them with temporary lodging and employment referrals.
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
Until 1850, fugitives had a minimal probability of being apprehended while residing in free states. Following the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Actas part of the Compromise of 1850, the Underground Railroad was diverted to Canada as its final objective, with the United States being the final destination. In newly constructed settlements in Southern Ontario, tens of thousands of slaves were resettled. In an instant, their work became more difficult and perhaps dangerous. A $1000 fine or six months in jail was imposed on anybody who assisted slaves.
Slave catchers were lavishly compensated, and even free African Americans were subjected to re-education through the destruction of their free documents.
The end of the Underground Railroad
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the Confederate states of the United States of America. Following the war’s conclusion, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1865, thereby ending slavery in the whole United States and putting an end to the Underground Railroad’s operations throughout the country.
Supporters of the Underground Railroad
Abolitionist President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing slaves in the Confederate states. Immediately following the war’s conclusion in 1865, Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, thus abolishing slavery across the United States and thereby bringing the Underground Railroad to a close.
The Underground Railroad was not a real railway in the traditional sense. The truth is that it was a clandestine organization that operated in the United States prior to the Civil War. The persons who worked on the Underground Railroad assisted fugitive slaves from the South in their efforts to reach safe havens in the North or Canada. The Underground Railroad utilized railroad terminologies as code phrases to communicate with one another. “Lines” were the names given to the roads leading to freedom.
- “Conductors” were those who were in charge of transporting or concealing enslaved persons.
- Because it was against the law, the Underground Railroad had to be kept a closely guarded secret.
- The people who managed the Underground Railroad were abolitionists, meaning they intended to abolish, or at the very least bring slavery to an end, in every state.
- It is thought that Thomas Garrett, a Quaker leader, assisted over 2,700 enslaved persons in their escape.
- The abolitionist Harriet Tubman was a former enslaved lady who helped hundreds of enslaved people to freedom.
- The majority of lines terminated in Canada.
- The railroad’s operations came to a stop with the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.
The Underground Railroad (1820-1861) •
The smuggling of fugitives during the winter season Charles T. Webber’s novel The Underground Railroad was published in 1893. Images that are in the public domain Underground Railroad was developed to assist oppressed persons in their journey from slavery to liberty. The railroad network was made up of dozens of hidden routes and safe houses that began in slaveholding states and extended all the way to the Canadian border, which was the only place where fugitives could be certain of their freedom.
- As part of the Underground Railroad, slaves were smuggled onto ships that transported them to ports in the northern United States or to countries outside of the United States.
- Though the number of persons who fled through the Underground Railroad between 1820 and 1861 varies greatly depending on who you ask, the most commonly accepted figure is roughly 100,000.
- The railroad employed conductors, among them William Still of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was likely the most well-known of the group.
- Slave-hiding spots were called stations, and stationmasters were individuals who hid slaves in their houses.
- The Underground Railroad functioned as a number of interconnected networks.
- Those responsible for leading the fugitive slaves north did so in stages.
- The “freight” would be transferred on to the next conductor once it reached another stop, and so on until the full journey had been completed.
When the Underground Railroad was successful, it engendered a great deal of hostility among slaveholders and their friends.
The law was misused to a tremendous extent.
Due to the fact that African Americans were not permitted to testify or have a jury present during a trial, they were frequently unable to defend themselves.
However, the Fugitive Slave Act had the opposite effect, increasing Northern opposition to slavery and hastening the Civil War.
A large number of those who escaped became human witnesses to the slave system, with many of them traveling on the lecture circuit to explain to Northerners what life was like as a slave in the slave system.
It was the success of the Underground Railroad in both situations that contributed to the abolition of slavery.
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Cite this article in APA format:
Waggoner, C., and Waggoner, C. (2007, December 03). The Underground Railroad is a term used to describe a system of transportation that allows people to flee their homes (1820-1861). BlackPast.org.
Source of the author’s information:
“The Underground Railroad,” by William Still (Chicago, Johnson Publishing Company, 1970) Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 2004); J. Blaine Hudson, Encyclopedia of the Underground Railroad (Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2006); David W. Blight, Passages to Freedom: The Underground Railroad in History and Memory (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books in association with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,
Don’t be deceived by the railway carriage’s appearance. A railroad museum may be situated within one, however the content of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum has nothing to do with railroads. Its original origins may be traced across the street to the Pamlico River, which was formerly utilized as a route of escape by enslaved African Americans seeking freedom in the 19th century. The museum’s cofounder and executive director, Leesa Jones, explains that after reading a slew of documents and old slave ads from Washington newspapers that would say things like, “My slave has escaped, they’re going to try to get to Washington in order to board a ship to get to their freedom,” they realized that they wanted to tell an accurate story about how freedom seekers left from the Washington waterfront.
- Jones points out that the first misconception many have about the underground railroad is that it was a system of subterranean trains, tunnels, and platforms that branched out like the London Underground or the New York subway.
- There actually existed a network of hidden routes and safe homes that thousands of enslaved persons used to travel from the southern United States to the free states and Canada during the early and mid-19th centuries.
- The Underground Railroad, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead published in 2016, examined the divide between the real and the metaphorical by reimagining genuine trains booming beneath the soil.
- However, in addition to depicting cotton fields, plantations, and forests, it is as effective in depicting subterranean steam trains that provide a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.
- I don’t want a blue screen of death.
- It had everything to do with the time, the place, and the fact that they were chatting in code.
- For example, a depot may have been anything other than a railroad station; it could have been a graveyard, a river, a barn, or a location in the woods.
As a result, individuals were free to talk about it, and those who overheard the conversation may have assumed they were talking about a railroad line or a train station, which they were not talking about.
Tracks and trains aren’t the only thing that people have misconceptions about.
Political influence and legal help were provided by African-Americans with access to education and resources, such as Robert Purvis and William Whipper, both of whom were from Philadelphia.
Photograph courtesy of MPI/Getty Images “In many of the narratives that you read, the abolitionists appear to be the heroes, and, without taking anything away from their noble deeds, what the freedom seekers accomplished is underestimated,” Jones adds.
Their situation was not that of helpless slaves on a plantation, waiting for the white abolitionists to arrive and take them away.
Thinking about the freedom seekers and the stories they recounted after achieving freedom, it becomes clear who the true hero of the story was very fast.
A tear fell from Jones’s eye during the film Harriet, which was released in 2019 and starred Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman, one of the most well-known conductors of the subterranean railroad.
While she is not a fan of Whitehead’s use of artistic license, she is looking forward to watching the Amazon version and participating in the discussion that it will elicit.
According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution, the most organized networks were in Pennsylvania and New York, with many of them centered on local churches.
Free Black people who liberated enslaved individuals from plantations in Maryland and Virginia ran an underground railroad station near the US Capitol in Washington, which was managed by free Black people.
‘One has to pay particular attention to the Black communities in the northern hemisphere, since they are the foot troops of this movement,’ he explains.
Image courtesy of Kyle Kaplan/Amazon Studios It was they who ensured that people were securely hidden, who resisted attempts to apprehend fugitives, who showed up at court hearings, who spent cold nights standing outside these hearings to ensure that people were not sent away before the hearing was completed.” Understanding the underground railroad requires an understanding of the people who worked on the network.
We must also remember those whites, notably attorneys, who took the lead in defending these fugitive slaves in the courtrooms of the northern states.
The extent of the brutality and persecution, as well as the deliberate efforts to return freedom seekers to servitude, are still not completely appreciated by the international community.
It was a risky move on their part.
These individuals are fleeing their homes, their families, and the locations that they are familiar with in an attempt to gain their freedom. It dawned on me that one must grasp their notion of freedom via their actions in order for freedom to become both a goal and an action.”
- Beware of the railway carriage’s deceptive appearance. A railroad museum may be situated within one, however the content of the Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum has nothing to do with trains. True origins may be traced across the street to the Pamlico River, which was formerly utilized as an escape route by enslaved African Americans attempting to emancipate themselves. Leesa Jones, cofounder and executive director of the museum in Washington, North Carolina, explains that after reading a slew of documents and old slave ads from Washington newspapers that said things like, “My slave has escaped, they’re going to try to get to Washington to board a ship to get to their freedom,” they realized that they wanted to tell an accurate story of how freedom seekers left from the Washington waterfront. Among the many misconceptions regarding the underground railroad, according to Jones, is the belief that it had a succession of subterranean trains, tunnels, and platforms that branched out, similar to the London Underground or the New York subway system. There actually existed a network of hidden passageways and safe homes that thousands of enslaved persons used to travel from the southern United States to free states and Canada during the early and mid-19th centuries. According to Jones, “When people hear the word railroad, their minds immediately go to a train.” As one historian put it, “the underground railroad was simply a metaphor for a movement of people who were able to organize a network of abolitionists and freedom searchers.” The Underground Railroad, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead published in 2016, examined the gulf between the real and the metaphorical by reimagining genuine trains roaring beneath the surface of the land. A big-budget-small-screen version, which is currently accessible on Amazon Prime, presents a combination of gorgeous photography and primal agony (there was a therapist on set), evoking Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and other classic films of the kind. However, in addition to depicting cotton fields, plantations, and forests, it is also effective in depicting subterranean steam trains that provide a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. During a virtual press conference for the 10-part series, director Barry Jenkins, whose credits include the Oscar-winning picture Moonlight, recalled: “I told Mark Friedberg, our production designer, ‘This can’t be false.’ ” Actual railroad lines, actual trains, and actual tunnels are what I’m after. A blue screen is something I do not desire. The use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) is not acceptable. As a result, we established a private train network, above which we constructed our tunnels. Why was the train metaphor chosen, and how did it come about? Time, place, and conversing in code were all factors in this situation. “Right around the time that the underground railroad began, trains began to crisscross the country, specifically the Baltimore-Ohio line, and abolitionists and freedom seekers discovered that they could freely talk about movement simply by referring to things in terms of railroad vocabulary,” Jones explained. If a depot was not a railroad station, it may have been anything from a graveyard to an island in the middle of the river to a barn in the woods. Someone who would transport freedom seekers from one location to another would have been considered a conductor. As a result, individuals were free to discuss it, and anyone who overheard the conversation may have assumed they were talking about a railroad line or a train station, which they were not. In order to help individuals achieve what they needed to do, I used cryptic language to help them.” It is not only about tracks and trains that people are misinformed. Furthermore, historical accounts of the Underground Railroad have tended to place a focus on “white saviours,” such as Quakers, while downplaying the role of African Americans who supplied refuge as well as clothes, food, and money. Political influence and legal help were provided by African-Americans with access to education and resources, such as Robert Purvis and William Whipper of Philadelphia. Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists are seen on the far left. Image courtesy of MPI/Getty Images. “In many of the narratives that you read, the abolitionists appear to be the heroes, and, without taking anything away from their noble deeds, what the freedom seekers accomplished is underestimated,” Jones explains. ” Understand the risks that freedom seekers were forced to face, how they escaped, why they escaped, and any hazards or difficulties they encountered on their journey to freedom. Their situation was not that of helpless slaves on a farm, waiting for the arrival of the white abolitionists. They were the catalyst for the formation of their own political movement. The abolitionists did require assistance, but they were white, Black, and Native American
- They were not all of one race or national origin. Thinking about the freedom seekers and the stories they recounted after achieving freedom, it becomes clear who the true hero of the story was very fast. They must be given the opportunity to share their experiences.” In the 2019 film Harriet, starring Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman, one of the most well-known conductors of the subterranean railroad, Jones sobbed throughout the whole movie. This realism in portraying the heroism of freedom seekers and abolitionists laboring at tremendous personal danger is something she admires about the movie. While she is not a fan of Whitehead’s use of artistic license, she is looking forward to seeing the Amazon adaptation and participating in the discussion that it will inevitably spawn. Although I am not a fan of Colson Whitehead’s book in terms of its romanticized idea of freedom and its inaccurate use of train escapes, I am hoping that it will cause people to take a closer look at why the underground railroad was necessary, help them understand that injustice has always existed, and help turn the tide in their attitudes toward people who are still oppressed. According to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the most organized networks were in Pennsylvania and New York, with many of them centered on local churches. There were roughly 9,000 escaped slaves who travelled through Philadelphia from 1830 to 1860, according to one estimate. There was an underground train station in Washington, DC, near the US Capitol that was managed by free Black people who were rescuing enslaved persons from plantations in Maryland and Virginia. Professor Richard Blackett, a historian of the abolitionist movement at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, feels that white abolitionists have been accorded an unfair amount of attention in the historical record. ‘One has to pay particular attention to the Black communities in the northern hemisphere, since they are the foot soldiers of this movement,’ he argues. The Underground Railroad’s Mbedu, for example, Kyle Kaplan/Amazon Studios provided the photograph. It was they who ensured that people were securely hidden, who resisted attempts to apprehend fugitives, who showed up at court hearings, who spent cold nights standing outside these hearings to ensure that people were not sent away before the hearing was completed.” Understanding the underground railroad requires an understanding of the people who worked on its construction. The whites, notably attorneys, who took the lead in defending these fugitive slaves throughout their trials in the northern courts must also be recognized. This is an important component of the subterranean railroad, one that we haven’t really looked at in depth yet,” says the author. He contends that the underground railroad is still too often perceived through “rose-tinted glasses” as a cohesive movement that contributed to the transformation of the United States of America. Even now, it is difficult to comprehend the extent of the violence and tyranny, as well as the deliberate efforts to return freedom seekers to servitude. As he adds, “you cannot comprehend the subterranean railroad until you begin at the place of departure.” “What is it about the local community in Maryland or Virginia that motivates a person to leave and travel to a place about which they have little or no prior knowledge?” A risky action, to say the least. A stab in the dark, to put it bluntly. Those seeking their independence are uprooting themselves from their families and the familiar environments that they have come to know and trust. It occurred to me that one must grasp their notion of freedom via their actions in order for freedom to become both a goal and an action.”
Myths About the Underground Railroad
When it comes to teaching African-American Studies today, one of the great delights is the satisfaction that comes from being able to restore to the historical record “lost” events and the persons whose sacrifices and bravery enabled those events to take place, never to be lost again. Among our ancestors’ long and dreadful history of human bondage is the Underground Railroad, which has garnered more recent attention from teachers, students, museum curators, and the tourism industry than any other institution from the black past.
- Nevertheless, in the effort to convey the narrative of this magnificent institution, fiction and lore have occasionally taken precedence over historical truth.
- The sacrifices and valor of our forefathers and foremothers, as well as their allies, are made all the more noble, heroic, and striking as a result.
- I think this is a common misconception among students.
- As described by Wilbur H.
- Running slaves, frequently in groups of up to several families, were said to have been directed at night on their desperate journey to freedom by the traditional “Drinking Gourd,” which was the slaves’ secret name for the North Star.
The Railroad in Lore
Following is a brief list of some of the most frequent myths regarding the Underground Railroad, which includes the following examples: 1. It was administered by well-intentioned white abolitionists, many of whom were Quakers. 2. The Underground Railroad was active throughout the southern United States. Most runaway slaves who managed to make their way north took refuge in secret quarters hidden in attics or cellars, while many more managed to escape through tunnels. Fourteenth, slaves made so-called “freedom quilts,” which they displayed outside their homes’ windows to signal fugitives to the whereabouts of safe houses and safe ways north to freedom.
When slaves heard the spiritual “Steal Away,” they knew Harriet Tubman was on her way to town, or that an ideal opportunity to run was approaching.
scholars like Larry Gara, who wrote The Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad and Blight, among other works, have worked tirelessly to address all of these problems, and I’ll outline the proper answers based on their work, and the work of others, at the conclusion of this piece.
First, a brief overview of the Underground Railroad’s history:
A Meme Is Born
As Blight correctly points out, the railroad has proven to be one of the most “enduring and popular strands in the fabric of America’s national historical memory.” Since the end of the nineteenth century, many Americans, particularly in New England and the Midwest, have either made up legends about the deeds of their ancestors or simply repeated stories that they have heard about their forebears.
It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.
Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who managed to escape to Ohio in 1831, and it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was invented as a result of his successful escape.
According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished as though “the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad.” This is a fantastic narrative — one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor — but it is improbable, given that train lines were non-existent at the time.
- The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839, was captured.
- constructed from Mason and Dixon’s to the Canada line, upon which fugitives from slavery might come pouring into this province” is the first time the term appears.
- 14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T.
Myth Battles Counter-Myth
Historically, the appeal of romance and fantasy in stories of the Underground Railroad can be traced back to the latter decades of the nineteenth century, when the South was winning the battle of popular memory over what the Civil War was all about — burying Lost Cause mythology deep in the national psyche and eventually propelling the racist Woodrow Wilson into the White House. Many white Northerners attempted to retain a heroic version of their history in the face of a dominant Southern interpretation of the significance of the Civil War, and they found a handy weapon in the stories of the Underground Railroad to accomplish this goal.
Immediately following the fall of Reconstruction in 1876, which was frequently attributed to purportedly uneducated or corrupt black people, the story of the struggle for independence was transformed into a tale of noble, selfless white efforts on behalf of a poor and nameless “inferior” race.
Siebert questioned practically everyone who was still alive who had any recollection of the network and even flew to Canada to interview former slaves who had traced their own pathways from the South to freedom as part of his investigation.
In the words of David Blight, Siebert “crafted a popular tale of largely white conductors assisting nameless blacks on their journey to freedom.”
Truth Reveals Unheralded Heroism
Historically, the appeal of romance and fantasy in stories of the Underground Railroad can be traced back to the latter decades of the nineteenth century, when the South was winning the battle of popular memory over what the Civil War was all about — burying Lost Cause mythology deep in the national psyche and eventually propelling the racist Woodrow Wilson to the presidency. Many white Northerners attempted to retain a heroic version of their history in the face of a dominant Southern interpretation of the significance of the Civil War, and they found a valuable weapon in the stories of the Underground Railroad to do this.
Immediately following the collapse of Reconstruction in 1876, which was frequently attributed to supposedly ignorant or corrupt black people, the story of the struggle for freedom was transformed into a tale of noble, selfless white efforts on behalf of a downtrodden and faceless, nameless race of “inferiors.” Wilbur Siebert’s 1898 essay on the Underground Railroad is credited with a great deal of modern ignorance and myth-making regarding the railroad.
Siebert interviewed practically everyone who was still alive who had any recollection of the network and even flew to Canada to interview former slaves who had traced their own pathways from slavery to freedom in the United States.
He also placed far too much emphasis on the work of so-called white conductors.