Who Created The Underground Railroad?

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

Who started the Underground Railroad and why?

  • The Underground Railroad started because slaves wanted freedom from their harsh lives of unpaid toil in the plantations that were located in the slave states of the south. The rise of the Abolishment movement in 1830 provided money, safe houses and clothes to facilitate the escape of slaves.

When was the Underground Railroad started?

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

Who was the father of the Underground Railroad?

William Still (1821-1902), known as “the Father of the Underground Railroad,” assisted nearly 1,000 freedom seekers as they fled enslavement along the eastern branch of the Underground Railroad. Inspired by his own family’s story, he kept detailed, written records about the people who passed through the PASS offices.

Did Tubman create the Underground Railroad?

Contrary to legend, Tubman did not create the Underground Railroad; it was established in the late eighteenth century by black and white abolitionists. Tubman likely benefitted from this network of escape routes and safe houses in 1849, when she and two brothers escaped north.

Who was the head of the Underground Railroad?

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), a renowned leader in the Underground Railroad movement, established the Home for the Aged in 1908. Born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman gained her freedom in 1849 when she escaped to Philadelphia.

Where did the Underground Railroad originate?

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

What caused the creation of the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad was established to aid enslaved people in their escape to freedom. The railroad was comprised of dozens of secret routes and safe houses originating in the slaveholding states and extending all the way to the Canadian border, the only area where fugitives could be assured of their freedom.

Was William still a real person?

William Still, a free-born Black, became an abolitionist movement leader and writer during the antebellum period in American history. He was also one of the most successful Black businessmen in the history of the City of Philadelphia.

Why is William still the father of the Underground Railroad?

William Still was an abolitionist and conductor on the Underground Rail Road for 18 years. During this time he raised funds, provided shelter, and facilitated the resettlement of escaped slaves in the North. He got his start in 1847 at the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery as a clerk.

How old is William Still?

Her mission was getting as many men, women and children out of bondage into freedom. When Tubman was a teenager, she acquired a traumatic brain injury when a slave owner struck her in the head. This resulted in her developing epileptic seizures and hypersomnia.

Who owned Harriet Tubman?

Tubman’s owners, the Brodess family, “loaned” her out to work for others while she was still a child, under what were often miserable, dangerous conditions. Sometime around 1844, she married John Tubman, a free Black man.

Who were the people who helped with the Underground Railroad?

The Underground Railroad had many notable participants, including John Fairfield in Ohio, the son of a slaveholding family, who made many daring rescues, Levi Coffin, a Quaker who assisted more than 3,000 slaves, and Harriet Tubman, who made 19 trips into the South and escorted over 300 slaves to freedom.

How did Harriet Tubman find out about the Underground Railroad?

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

Does the Underground Railroad still exist?

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

8 Key Contributors to the Underground Railroad

Isaac Hopper, an abolitionist, is shown in this image from the Kean Collection/Getty Images. As early as 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with a “organization of Quakers, founded for such reasons,” which had sought to free a neighbor’s slave. Quakers were instrumental in the establishment of the Underground Railroad. Slavery was opposed in especially in Philadelphia, where Isaac Hopper, a Quaker who converted to Christianity, created what has been described as “the first working cell of the abolitionist underground.” Hopper not only protected escaped slave hunters in his own house, but he also constructed a network of safe havens and recruited a web of spies in order to get insight into their plans.

Hopper, a friend of Joseph Bonaparte, the exiled brother of the former French emperor, went to New York City in 1829 and established himself as a successful businessman.

READ MORE: The Underground Railroad and Its Operation

2. John Brown

John Brown, an abolitionist, about 1846 GraphicaArtis/Getty Images courtesy of Similar to his father, John Brown actively participated in the Underground Railroad by hosting runaways at his home and warehouse and organizing an anti-slave catcher militia following the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, which he inherited from his father. The next year, he joined several of his sons in the so-called “Bleeding Kansas” war, leading one attack that resulted in the deaths of five pro-slavery settlers in 1856.

Brown’s radicalization continued to grow, and his ultimate act occurred in October 1859, when he and 21 supporters seized the government arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), in an effort to incite a large-scale slave uprising.

3. Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where she experienced repeated violent beatings, one of which involving a two-pound lead weight, which left her with seizures and migraines for the rest of her life. Tubman fled bondage in 1849, following the North Star on a 100-mile walk into Pennsylvania, fearing she would be sold and separated from her family. She died in the process. She went on to become the most well-known “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, participating in around 13 rescue missions back into Maryland and rescuing at least 70 enslaved individuals, including several of her siblings.

As a scout, spy, and healer for the Union Army, Tubman maintained her anti-slavery activities during the Civil War, and is believed to have been the first woman in the United States to lead troops into battle. Tubman died in 1865. When Harriet Tubman Led a Civil War Raid, You Should Pay Attention

4. Thomas Garrett

‘Thomas Garrett’ is a fictional character created by author Thomas Garrett. The New York Public Library is a public library in New York City. The Quaker “stationmaster” Thomas Garrett, who claimed to have assisted over 2,750 escaped slaves before the commencement of the Civil War, lived in Wilmington, Delaware, and Tubman frequently stopped there on her route up north. Garret not only gave his guests with a place to stay but also with money, clothing & food. He even personally led them to a more secure area on occasion, arm in arm.

Despite this, he persisted in his efforts.

He also stated that “if any of you know of any poor slave who needs assistance, please send him to me, as I now publicly pledge myself to double my diligence and never miss an opportunity to assist a slave to obtain freedom.”

5. William Still

William Still is a well-known author and poet. Photograph courtesy of the Hulton Archive/Getty Images Many runaways traveled from Wilmington, the final Underground Railroad station in the slave state of Delaware, to the office of William Still in adjacent Philadelphia, which was the last stop on their journey. The Vigilance Committee of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, which provided food and clothing, coordinated escapes, raised funds, and otherwise served as a one-stop social services shop for hundreds of fugitive slaves each year, was chaired by Still, who was a free-born African American.

Still ultimately produced a book in which he chronicled the personal histories of his guests, which offered valuable insight into the operation of the Underground Railroad as a whole.

His assistance to Osborne Anderson, the only African-American member of John Brown’s company to survive the Harpers Ferry raid, was another occasion when he was called upon.

6. Levi Coffin

Charles T. Webber’s painting The Underground Railroad depicts fleeing slaves Levi Coffin, his wife Catherine, and Hannah Haydock providing assistance to the group of fugitive slaves. Getty Images/Bettina Archive/Getty Images Levi Coffin, often known as the “president of the Underground Railroad,” is said to have been an abolitionist when he was seven years old after witnessing a column of chained slaves people being taken to an auction house. Following a humble beginning delivering food to fugitives holed up on his family’s North Carolina plantation, he rose through the ranks to become a successful trader and prolific “stationmaster,” first in Newport (now Fountain City), Indiana, and subsequently in Cincinnati, Kentucky.

In addition to hosting anti-slavery lectures and abolitionist sewing club meetings, Coffin, like his fellow Quaker Thomas Garrett, stood steadfast when hauled before a court of law.

His writings state that “the dictates of humanity came in direct conflict with the law of the land,” and that “we rejected the law.”

7. Elijah Anderson

The Ohio River, which formed the border between slave and free states, was referred to as the River Jordan in abolitionist circles because it represented the border between slave and free states. Madison, Indiana, was an especially appealing crossing point for enslaved persons on the run, because to an Underground Railroad cell established there by blacksmith Elijah Anderson and several other members of the town’s Black middle class in the 1850s. With his fair skin, Anderson might have passed for a white slave owner on his repeated travels into Kentucky, where would purportedly pick up 20 to 30 enslaved persons at a time and whisk them away to freedom, sometimes accompanying them as far as the Coffins’ mansion in Newport.

An anti-slavery mob devastated Madison in 1846, almost drowning an agent of the Underground Railroad, prompting Anderson to flee upriver to Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where he eventually settled.

8. Thaddeus Stevens

Mr. Thaddeus Stevens is an American lawyer and senator. Bettmann Archive courtesy of Getty Images; Matthew Brady/Bettmann Archive Thaddeus Stevens, a representative from Pennsylvania, was outspoken in his opposition to slavery. The 14th and 15th amendments, which guaranteed African-American citizens equal protection under the law and the right to vote, respectively, were among his many accomplishments, and he also advocated for a radical reconstruction of the South, which included the redistribution of land from white plantation owners to former enslaved people.

Despite this, it wasn’t until 2002 that his Underground Railroad activities were brought to light, when archeologists uncovered a hidden hiding hole in the courtyard of his Lancaster house.

Seward, also served as Underground Railroad “stationmasters” during the era.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Underground Railroad

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

The Underground Railroad [ushistory.org]

The National Park Service (NPS) Through the Underground Railroad, Lewis Hayden was able to elude enslavement and later found work as a “conductor” from his home in Massachusetts. Speakers and organizers are required for any cause. Any mass movement requires the presence of visionary men and women. However, simply spreading knowledge and mobilizing people is not enough. It takes people who take action to bring about revolutionary change – individuals who chip away at the things that stand in the way, little by little, until they are victorious.

  • Instead of sitting around and waiting for laws to change or slavery to come crashing down around them, railroad advocates assisted individual fleeing slaves in finding the light of freedom.
  • Slaves were relocated from one “station” to another by abolitionists during the Civil War.
  • In order to escape being apprehended, whites would frequently pose as the fugitives’ masters.
  • In one particularly dramatic instance, Henry “Box” Brown arranged for a buddy to lock him up in a wooden box with only a few cookies and a bottle of water for company.
  • This map of the eastern United States depicts some of the paths that slaves took on their way to freedom.
  • The majority of the time, slaves traveled northward on their own, searching for the signal that indicated the location of the next safe haven.
  • The railroad employed almost 3,200 individuals between the years 1830 and the conclusion of the Civil War, according to historical records.

Harriet Tubman was perhaps the most notable “conductor” of the Underground Railroad during her lifetime.

Tubman traveled into slave territory on a total of 19 distinct occasions throughout the 1850s.

Any slave who had second thoughts, she threatened to kill with the gun she kept on her hip at the risk of his life.

When the Civil War broke out, she put her railroad experience to use as a spy for the Union, which she did successfully for the Union.

This was even worse than their distaste of Abolitionist speech and literature, which was already bad enough.

According to them, this was a straightforward instance of stolen goods. Once again, a brick was laid in the building of Southern secession when Northern cities rallied with liberated slaves and refused to compensate them for their losses.

Underground Railroad

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

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.

The Secret History of the Underground Railroad

Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race was the title of a series published by De Bow’s Review, a leading Southern periodical, a decade before the Civil War. The series was deemed necessary by the editors because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  1. However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  2. Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  3. How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
  4. Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  5. The word “Underground Railroad” brings up pictures of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and moonlit routes through the woods in the minds of most people today, just as it did in the minds of most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  6. At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  7. The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of isolated, unconnected escapes?
  8. Which historians you trust in will determine the solutions.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “great and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, as well as a “great and intricate network” of agents (nearly all of them white).

  1. “I escaped without the assistance.
  2. C.
  3. “I have freed myself in the manner of a man.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.
  4. The journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of runaway slaves in the 1850s was found by an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University while working on her final thesis some years ago, and this discovery served as the inspiration for his current book.
  5. One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, according to the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always secret at all.
  6. The New York State Vigilance Committee, established in 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad, no matter how unlikely it may seem, became popular fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities.

  • Political leaders, especially those who had taken vows to protect the Constitution — including the section ordering the return of runaways to their proper masters — blatantly failed to carry out their obligations.
  • Judge William Jay, a son of the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, made the decision to disregard fugitive slave laws and contributed money to aid runaway slaves who managed to flee.
  • One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that is worth noting.
  • It was not recognized for its abolitionist passion, in contrast to places like as Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as communities in upstate New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow newspaper, published shortly before the Civil War, claiming the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off the sale of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  1. Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bondage.
  2. The story begins in 1846, when a man called George Kirk slipped away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be discovered by the captain and shackled while awaiting return to his owner.
  3. The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of local African Americans who were on the lookout for him.
  4. In this case, the same court found other legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in short order this time.
  5. In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  6. Co-conspirator Louis Napoleon, who is thought to be the freeborn son of a Jewish New Yorker and an African American slave, was employed as an office porter in Gay’s office.
  7. Gay was the one who, between 1855 and 1856, maintained the “Record of Fugitives,” which the undergraduate discovered in the Columbia University archives and which chronicled more than 200 escapes.

Dr.

One first-person narrative starts, “I ate one meal a day for eight years.” “It has been sold three times, and it is expected to be sold a fourth time.

Undoubtedly, a countrywide network existed, with its actions sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and timetables were continually changing as well.

As with Gay and Napoleon’s collaboration, its operations frequently brought together people from all walks of life, including the affluent and the poor, black and white.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, went around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insouciantly purchased a steamship ticket to New York from Savannah.

See also:  Who Were Some Of The Names Of The Slaves In The Underground Railroad? (Solution)

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the overall population.

It not only played a role in precipitating the political crisis of the 1850s, but it also galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slave­holders, whether they had personally assisted fugitive slaves, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or simply enjoyed reading about slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  1. More than anything else, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice if necessary.
  2. Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments to escape capture.
  3. Cartwright’s most horrific nightmares.
  4. On one of the Union’s railway lines, an abolitionist discovered that the volume of wartime traffic was at an all-time high—­except on one of them.
  5. The number of solo travelers is quite limited.” And it’s possible that New Yorkers were surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

The accompanying essay, on the other hand, soon put their worries at ease. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park. It was never built.

Underground Railroad

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion at the time of the publication. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  • (“Fleeing slave,” he said, was an old Greek phrase for a fugitive slave).
  • “Treating one’s slaves lovingly but sternly,” he said, was the first option.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their exodus was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater disaster.
  • Was it a matter of time until the entire fabric came undone?
  • Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both huge and ominous in scale.
  • The term underground railroad brings to mind pictures of trapdoors, flickering torches, and dark passageways winding through the woods, much as it did for most of the population in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • At least until recently, researchers paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the public consciousness.
  • The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination concocted from a succession of isolated and unconnected escapes?
  • Depending on whose historians you trust, the answers will be different.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “big and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name, who he characterized as “a large and intricate network” (nearly all of them white).

  1. Activist clergyman James W.
  2. Pennington claimed in 1855 that he had escaped “without the help.
  3. As a result of his work on Abraham Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner, one of the nation’s most recognized practitioners of history (his earlier book on the subject was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), has joined an expanding number of researchers who are illuminating the night sky.
  4. (Since the student, as he makes clear in his acknowledgments, chose to become a lawyer, no scholarly careers were jeopardized in the course of the publication of this book.) Readers will be surprised by the narrative told in Gateway to Freedom: The Secret History of the Underground Railroad.
  5. Assisting runaways was nothing new for abolitionist organisations, who made a point of publicizing it in pamphlets, publications, and yearly reports.
  6. Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” offered donated luxury goods and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad became common fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, despite the fact that this may seem unlikely.

  • Many women were enthralled by these incidents, which transformed everyday, “feminine” tasks like baking, grocery shopping, and sewing into exhilarating acts of moral commitment and political rebellion for thousands of them.
  • While governor of New York, William Seward publicly sponsored Underground Railroad operations, and while serving as a senator in the United States Senate, he (not so openly) provided refuge to runaways in his basement.
  • When Northern states implemented “personal liberty” acts in the 1850s, they were able to exclude state and municipal authorities from federal fugitive-slave statutes, this act of defiance acquired legal recognition.
  • Yet another surprise in Foner’s gripping story is that it takes place in New York City.
  • Even as recently as the 1790s, enslaved laborers tended Brooklyn’s outlying fields, constituting a quarter of the city’s total population (40 percent).
  • Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bond slavery.
  • George Kirk snuck away on board a ship bound for New York in 1846, only to be apprehended by the captain and kept in chains while waiting to be returned to his master’s possession.
  • Following his triumphant exit from court, the winning fugitive was met with applause from the courtroom’s African-American contingent.
  • A second legal basis was discovered by the same court to free Kirk, who this time rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and arrived in the safety of Boston in no time.
  • In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress, who became the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard.
  • Whilst Gay was busy publishing abolitionist manifestos and raising funds, Napoleon was patrolling the New York harbor in search of black stowaways and traveling the length and breadth of the Mason-Dixon Line in pursuit of those who had managed to escape slavery.

It’s “the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City,” according to Foner, and it contains “a treasure trove of compelling anecdotes and a storehouse of insights about both slavery and the underground railroad.” One of the most moving passages was when Gay documented the slaves’ accounts of their reasons for fleeing in a matter-of-fact tone.

  • Cartwright’s theory, it appears that none of them addressed Drapetomania.
  • I was beaten with a hatchet and bled for three days after being struck with 400 lashes by an overseer.” As a result of his research, Foner concludes that the phrase “Underground Railroad” has been used to describe something that is restrictive, if not deceptive.
  • Though it had tunnels, it also had straightaways and bright straightaways where its traces might be found.
  • It is true that the Underground Railroad had conductors and stationmasters in a sense, but the great majority of its people contributed in ways that were far too diverse to be compared in such a straightforward manner.
  • Its passengers and their experiences were almost as different.
  • During this time, a Virginia mother and her little daughter had spent five months crouched in a small hiding hole beneath a house near Norfolk before being transported out of the country.
  • Although the Underground Railroad operated on a small scale, its effect considerably beyond the size of its activities.

It fostered the suspicions of Southern leaders while driving Northern leaders to choose sides with either the slaves or the slavecatchers.

Escapees were reported to be flooding northward at an unusual rate just a few days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861.

There had been a Drapetomania on a magnitude that was worse beyond Dr.

The Reverend Samuel Cartwright passed away in 1863, just a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially established Drapetomania as a national policy.

As he put it, the Underground Railroad “has hardly no business at all these days.

New Yorkers may have been astonished to open their eyes in the early 1864 season as well.

The accompanying piece, on the other hand, soon put their concerns to rest. According to the plan, Manhattan’s first subway line would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park, beginning at 42nd Street.

Facts, information and articles about the Underground Railroad

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, given its “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. The author of the essays, the eminent New Orleans physician Samuel Adolphus Cartwright, described in precise anatomical terms the reasons for African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  1. But it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  2. Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a wider calamity.
  3. How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to fall apart?
  4. Rather, it was intentionally promoted and aided by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  5. The name “Underground Railroad” brings up thoughts of trapdoors, flickering torches, and dark passageways through the woods for most people today, just as it did for most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  6. At least until recently, historians paid relatively little attention to this story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  7. Was the Underground Railroad genuinely a countrywide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” or was it merely a fabrication of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of ad hoc, unconnected fugitives’ escapes?

Depending on whose historians you trust, the answers will differ.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were white) a generation after the Civil War and documented a “vast and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name (nearly all of them white).

In 1855, the radical preacher James W.

Pennington wrote, “I escaped without the assistance.

As a result of his work on Abraham Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner, one of the nation’s most recognized practitioners of history (his last book on the subject was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), has joined an expanding number of researchers who are illuminating the darkness.

(Since the student, as he makes clear in his acknowledgments, chose to become a lawyer, no scholarly careers were jeopardized by the publication of this volume.) Readers will be surprised by the narrative told in Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.

Abolitionist organizations made no secret of their willingness to aid runaways; in fact, they publicized their efforts in pamphlets, publications, and yearly reports.

Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad were frequent fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, despite the fact that they seemed unlikely.

  • Even legislators who had sworn vows to preserve the Constitution — including its provision demanding the return of runaways to their lawful lords – disobeyed their oaths and failed to fulfill their responsibilities.
  • Escaped slave laws were disregarded by Judge William Jay, a son of the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who provided money to aid fugitive slaves.
  • One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that has been overlooked.
  • When compared to places like Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as upstate cities like Buffalo and Syracuse—­the city was not recognized for its anti-slavery fervor.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow’s newspaper soon before the Civil War that the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” Planters’ slave purchases were financed by New York banks, while New York merchants made their fortunes on slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  • Slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and in addition to officially apprehending escapees, they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—to sell them into Southern bondage.
  • George Kirk snuck away on board a ship bound for New York in 1846, only to be apprehended by the captain and kept in shackles while waiting to be returned to his owner.
  • The winning fugitive was escorted out of court by a watchful phalanx of African Americans from the surrounding community.
  • In this case, the same court found new legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in no time at all.
  • Founder and editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, Sydney Howard Gay, was descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  • Napoleon, on the other hand, prowled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and traveled the length and breadth of the Mason-Dixon Line, escorting fugitives to freedom.
  • This paper, according to Foner, “is the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City.

Despite Dr.

One first-person narrative opens with the words “one meal a day for eight years.” “It’s been sold three times and is expected to be sold a fourth time.

There was undoubtedly a countrywide network in existence, with its operations sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and schedules were continuously changing.

Akin to the cooperation between Gay and Napoleon, its efforts frequently brought together rich and poor, black and white, for a shared purpose.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, strutted around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insolently purchased a steamship ticket to New York.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the total population.

In addition to contributing to the political crisis of the 1850s, it galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slaveholders, whether they had personally aided fugitives, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or were simply entertained by the colorful accounts of slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  • Above all, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice.
  • Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments.
  • Cartwright could have imagined.
  • In the same year, an abolitionist reported that all of the Union’s railway lines were seeing record wartime traffic, with the exception of one.
  • A solitary wanderer is hard to come by.” In addition, New Yorkers may have been surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

However, the accompanying article instantly put their concerns at ease. In it, the author presented a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward along Broadway from the Battery to Central Park.

Ended

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, given its “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose value as property totaled approximately $2 billion. The author of the essays, the eminent New Orleans physician Samuel Adolphus Cartwright, described in precise anatomical terms the reasons for African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme dislike of being whipped (“skin.

  • However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness that he dubbed “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee” that received the most attention from readers.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  • How long will it take until the entire fabric begins to unravel?
  • Instead, a well-organized network, huge and ominous in scope, deliberately fostered and assisted it.
  • The name Underground Railroad brings up thoughts of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and nighttime passages through the woods for most people today, just as it did for most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • For a story that has loomed big in the American psyche, it has garnered remarkably little attention from academics, at least until lately.
  • Was the Underground Railroad genuinely a countrywide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” or was it merely a fabrication of popular imagination created out of a series of ad hoc, unconnected escapes?

The answers are contingent on which historians you trust.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a generation after the Civil War and documented a “vast and sophisticated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name (nearly all of them white).

“I escaped without the assistance.

C.

“I have freed myself, just as a man would.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.

Several years ago, an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University, while working on her senior thesis, discovered a previously undiscovered journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of escaping slaves in the 1850s—a discovery that served as the inspiration for his latest book.

  • One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, despite the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always underground at all.
  • In 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, the New York State Vigilance Committee officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Jermain W.
  • Bake sales for the Underground Railroad, as unlikely as it may seem, became frequent fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, and bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” sold donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks before the winter holidays.
  • Even legislators who had taken vows to preserve the Constitution — including its provision requiring the return of runaways to their legal owners — blatantly failed to carry out their responsibilities.
  • Judge William Jay, the son of the first chief judge of the United States Supreme Court, determined to violate fugitive-slave rules and contributed money to aid escaped slaves.
  • It is a little-known historical irony that, right up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as by Southern slaveholders.
  • Unlike Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as upstate places like as Buffalo and Syracuse—the city was not recognized for its abolitionist passion.

By the time New York’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, the city’s economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South; the editor of De Bow’s gloated just before the Civil War that the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  • Slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and in addition to officially apprehending escapees, they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—to be sold into Southern bondage.
  • In 1846, a man called George Kirk sneaked away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be apprehended by the captain and shackled until he could be returned to his owner.
  • The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of African Americans who had gathered to watch his every move.
  • The same court discovered new legal grounds on which to release Kirk, who this time rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and arrived in the safety of Boston in no time.
  • Sydney Howard Gay, the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, was descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  • While Gay produced abolitionist manifestos and gathered funds, Napoleon patrolled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and crisscrossed the Mason-Dixon Line, escorting fugitives to freedom.
  • According to Foner, this paper “is the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City.

Despite Dr.

“I ate one meal a day for eight years,” starts one first-person story.

“I was beaten with a hatchet and bled for three days after being struck with four hundred lashes by the overseer.” Finally, Foner illustrates that the name “Underground Railroad” has been a restrictive, if not misleading, metaphor for a long time.

Nonetheless, its rails traveled not just through tortuous tunnels, but also through bright straightaways.

The Underground Railroad did, in a sense, have conductors and stationmasters, but the great majority of its people contributed in ways that were too diverse to be compared in such a straightforward manner.

The stories of its passengers were almost as different as the passengers themselves.

A Virginia mother and her young daughter, on the other hand, spent five months cowering in a tiny hiding hole beneath a home near Norfolk before being transported out of the country.

Despite this, the Underground Railroad’s effect greatly outstripped the size of its activities.

It fostered the suspicions of Southern leaders while driving Northern leaders to choose sides with either the slaves or the slave catchers.

Escapees were believed to be flooding northward at an unusual rate just days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, according to reports.

This was Drapetomania on a scale that was worse than any of Dr.

Samuel Cartwright died in 1863, just a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially established Drapetomania as government policy.

“The Underground Railroad currently does almost no business at all,” he stated.

When you open The Evening Post, you’ll notice a headline announcing preparations for “A New Underground Railroad” in the city.

The accompanying piece, on the other hand, soon put their fears to rest. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward along Broadway from the Battery to Central Park.

Slaves Freed

Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race was the title of a series published by De Bow’s Review, a leading Southern periodical, a decade before the Civil War. The series was deemed necessary by the editors because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  1. However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  2. Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  3. How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
  4. Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  5. The word “Underground Railroad” brings up pictures of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and moonlit routes through the woods in the minds of most people today, just as it did in the minds of most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  6. At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  7. The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of isolated, unconnected escapes?
  8. Which historians you trust in will determine the solutions.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “great and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, as well as a “great and intricate network” of agents (nearly all of them white).

  1. “I escaped without the assistance.
  2. C.
  3. “I have freed myself in the manner of a man.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.
  4. The journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of runaway slaves in the 1850s was found by an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University while working on her final thesis some years ago, and this discovery served as the inspiration for his current book.
  5. One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, according to the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always secret at all.
  6. The New York State Vigilance Committee, established in 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad, no matter how unlikely it may seem, became popular fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities.

  • Political leaders, especially those who had taken vows to protect the Constitution — including the section ordering the return of runaways to their proper masters — blatantly failed to carry out their obligations.
  • Judge William Jay, a son of the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, made the decision to disregard fugitive slave laws and contributed money to aid runaway slaves who managed to flee.
  • One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that is worth noting.
  • It was not recognized for its abolitionist passion, in contrast to places like as Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as communities in upstate New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse.
See also:  Who Published The Underground Railroad Whitehead? (Best solution)

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow newspaper, published shortly before the Civil War, claiming the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off the sale of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  1. Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bondage.
  2. The story begins in 1846, when a man called George Kirk slipped away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be discovered by the captain and shackled while awaiting return to his owner.
  3. The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of local African Americans who were on the lookout for him.
  4. In this case, the same court found other legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in short order this time.
  5. In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  6. Co-conspirator Louis Napoleon, who is thought to be the freeborn son of a Jewish New Yorker and an African American slave, was employed as an office porter in Gay’s office.
  7. Gay was the one who, between 1855 and 1856, maintained the “Record of Fugitives,” which the undergraduate discovered in the Columbia University archives and which chronicled more than 200 escapes.

Dr.

One first-person narrative starts, “I ate one meal a day for eight years.” “It has been sold three times, and it is expected to be sold a fourth time.

Undoubtedly, a countrywide network existed, with its actions sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and timetables were continually changing as well.

As with Gay and Napoleon’s collaboration, its operations frequently brought together people from all walks of life, including the affluent and the poor, black and white.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, went around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insouciantly purchased a steamship ticket to New York from Savannah.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the overall population.

It not only played a role in precipitating the political crisis of the 1850s, but it also galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slave­holders, whether they had personally assisted fugitive slaves, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or simply enjoyed reading about slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  • More than anything else, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice if necessary.
  • Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments to escape capture.
  • Cartwright’s most horrific nightmares.
  • On one of the Union’s railway lines, an abolitionist discovered that the volume of wartime traffic was at an all-time high—­except on one of them.
  • The number of solo travelers is quite limited.” And it’s possible that New Yorkers were surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

The accompanying essay, on the other hand, soon put their worries at ease. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park. It was never built.

Prominent Figures

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion at the time of the publication. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  • (“Fleeing slave,” he said, was an old Greek phrase for a fugitive slave).
  • “Treating one’s slaves lovingly but sternly,” he said, was the first option.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their exodus was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater disaster.
  • Was it a matter of time until the entire fabric came undone?
  • Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both huge and ominous in scale.
  • The term underground railroad brings to mind pictures of trapdoors, flickering torches, and dark passageways winding through the woods, much as it did for most of the population in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • At least until recently, researchers paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the public consciousness.
  • The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination concocted from a succession of isolated and unconnected escapes?
  • Depending on whose historians you trust, the answers will be different.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “big and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name, who he characterized as “a large and intricate network” (nearly all of them white).

  • Activist clergyman James W.
  • Pennington claimed in 1855 that he had escaped “without the help.
  • As a result of his work on Abraham Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner, one of the nation’s most recognized practitioners of history (his earlier book on the subject was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), has joined an expanding number of researchers who are illuminating the night sky.
  • (Since the student, as he makes clear in his acknowledgments, chose to become a lawyer, no scholarly careers were jeopardized in the course of the publication of this book.) Readers will be surprised by the narrative told in Gateway to Freedom: The Secret History of the Underground Railroad.
  • Assisting runaways was nothing new for abolitionist organisations, who made a point of publicizing it in pamphlets, publications, and yearly reports.
  • Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” offered donated luxury goods and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad became common fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, despite the fact that this may seem unlikely.

  • Many women were enthralled by these incidents, which transformed everyday, “feminine” tasks like baking, grocery shopping, and sewing into exhilarating acts of moral commitment and political rebellion for thousands of them.
  • While governor of New York, William Seward publicly sponsored Underground Railroad operations, and while serving as a senator in the United States Senate, he (not so openly) provided refuge to runaways in his basement.
  • When Northern states implemented “personal liberty” acts in the 1850s, they were able to exclude state and municipal authorities from federal fugitive-slave statutes, this act of defiance acquired legal recognition.
  • Yet another surprise in Foner’s gripping story is that it takes place in New York City.
  • Even as recently as the 1790s, enslaved laborers tended Brooklyn’s outlying fields, constituting a quarter of the city’s total population (40 percent).
  • Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bond slavery.
  • George Kirk snuck away on board a ship bound for New York in 1846, only to be apprehended by the captain and kept in chains while waiting to be returned to his master’s possession.
  • Following his triumphant exit from court, the winning fugitive was met with applause from the courtroom’s African-American contingent.
  • A second legal basis was discovered by the same court to free Kirk, who this time rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and arrived in the safety of Boston in no time.
  • In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress, who became the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard.
  • Whilst Gay was busy publishing abolitionist manifestos and raising funds, Napoleon was patrolling the New York harbor in search of black stowaways and traveling the length and breadth of the Mason-Dixon Line in pursuit of those who had managed to escape slavery.

It’s “the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City,” according to Foner, and it contains “a treasure trove of compelling anecdotes and a storehouse of insights about both slavery and the underground railroad.” One of the most moving passages was when Gay documented the slaves’ accounts of their reasons for fleeing in a matter-of-fact tone.

  • Cartwright’s theory, it appears that none of them addressed Drapetomania.
  • I was beaten with a hatchet and bled for three days after being struck with 400 lashes by an overseer.” As a result of his research, Foner concludes that the phrase “Underground Railroad” has been used to describe something that is restrictive, if not deceptive.
  • Though it had tunnels, it also had straightaways and bright straightaways where its traces might be found.
  • It is true that the Underground Railroad had conductors and stationmasters in a sense, but the great majority of its people contributed in ways that were far too diverse to be compared in such a straightforward manner.
  • Its passengers and their experiences were almost as different.
  • During this time, a Virginia mother and her little daughter had spent five months crouched in a small hiding hole beneath a house near Norfolk before being transported out of the country.
  • Although the Underground Railroad operated on a small scale, its effect considerably beyond the size of its activities.

It fostered the suspicions of Southern leaders while driving Northern leaders to choose sides with either the slaves or the slavecatchers.

Escapees were reported to be flooding northward at an unusual rate just a few days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861.

There had been a Drapetomania on a magnitude that was worse beyond Dr.

The Reverend Samuel Cartwright passed away in 1863, just a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially established Drapetomania as a national policy.

As he put it, the Underground Railroad “has hardly no business at all these days.

New Yorkers may have been astonished to open their eyes in the early 1864 season as well.

The accompanying piece, on the other hand, soon put their concerns to rest. According to the plan, Manhattan’s first subway line would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park, beginning at 42nd Street.

Related Reading:

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, given its “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. The author of the essays, the eminent New Orleans physician Samuel Adolphus Cartwright, described in precise anatomical terms the reasons for African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  • But it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a wider calamity.
  • How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to fall apart?
  • Rather, it was intentionally promoted and aided by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  • The name “Underground Railroad” brings up thoughts of trapdoors, flickering torches, and dark passageways through the woods for most people today, just as it did for most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • At least until recently, historians paid relatively little attention to this story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  • Was the Underground Railroad genuinely a countrywide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” or was it merely a fabrication of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of ad hoc, unconnected fugitives’ escapes?

Depending on whose historians you trust, the answers will differ.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were white) a generation after the Civil War and documented a “vast and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name (nearly all of them white).

In 1855, the radical preacher James W.

Pennington wrote, “I escaped without the assistance.

As a result of his work on Abraham Lincoln and slavery, Eric Foner, one of the nation’s most recognized practitioners of history (his last book on the subject was awarded a Pulitzer Prize), has joined an expanding number of researchers who are illuminating the darkness.

(Since the student, as he makes clear in his acknowledgments, chose to become a lawyer, no scholarly careers were jeopardized by the publication of this volume.) Readers will be surprised by the narrative told in Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.

Abolitionist organizations made no secret of their willingness to aid runaways; in fact, they publicized their efforts in pamphlets, publications, and yearly reports.

Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad were frequent fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, despite the fact that they seemed unlikely.

  1. Even legislators who had sworn vows to preserve the Constitution — including its provision demanding the return of runaways to their lawful lords – disobeyed their oaths and failed to fulfill their responsibilities.
  2. Escaped slave laws were disregarded by Judge William Jay, a son of the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, who provided money to aid fugitive slaves.
  3. One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that has been overlooked.
  4. When compared to places like Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as upstate cities like Buffalo and Syracuse—­the city was not recognized for its anti-slavery fervor.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow’s newspaper soon before the Civil War that the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” Planters’ slave purchases were financed by New York banks, while New York merchants made their fortunes on slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  • Slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and in addition to officially apprehending escapees, they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—to sell them into Southern bondage.
  • George Kirk snuck away on board a ship bound for New York in 1846, only to be apprehended by the captain and kept in shackles while waiting to be returned to his owner.
  • The winning fugitive was escorted out of court by a watchful phalanx of African Americans from the surrounding community.
  • In this case, the same court found new legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in no time at all.
  • Founder and editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, Sydney Howard Gay, was descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  • Napoleon, on the other hand, prowled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and traveled the length and breadth of the Mason-Dixon Line, escorting fugitives to freedom.
  • This paper, according to Foner, “is the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City.

Despite Dr.

One first-person narrative opens with the words “one meal a day for eight years.” “It’s been sold three times and is expected to be sold a fourth time.

There was undoubtedly a countrywide network in existence, with its operations sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and schedules were continuously changing.

Akin to the cooperation between Gay and Napoleon, its efforts frequently brought together rich and poor, black and white, for a shared purpose.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, strutted around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insolently purchased a steamship ticket to New York.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the total population.

In addition to contributing to the political crisis of the 1850s, it galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slaveholders, whether they had personally aided fugitives, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or were simply entertained by the colorful accounts of slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  1. Above all, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice.
  2. Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments.
  3. Cartwright could have imagined.
  4. In the same year, an abolitionist reported that all of the Union’s railway lines were seeing record wartime traffic, with the exception of one.
  5. A solitary wanderer is hard to come by.” In addition, New Yorkers may have been surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

However, the accompanying article instantly put their concerns at ease. In it, the author presented a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward along Broadway from the Battery to Central Park.

The Beginnings Of the Underground Railroad

A decade before the Civil War, the leading Southern periodical De Bow’s Reviewpublished a series titled Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race—a much-needed study, the editors opined, given its “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose value as property totaled approximately $2 billion. The author of the essays, the eminent New Orleans physician Samuel Adolphus Cartwright, described in precise anatomical terms the reasons for African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme dislike of being whipped (“skin.

  • However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness that he dubbed “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee” that received the most attention from readers.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  • How long will it take until the entire fabric begins to unravel?
  • Instead, a well-organized network, huge and ominous in scope, deliberately fostered and assisted it.
  • The name Underground Railroad brings up thoughts of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and nighttime passages through the woods for most people today, just as it did for most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • For a story that has loomed big in the American psyche, it has garnered remarkably little attention from academics, at least until lately.
  • Was the Underground Railroad genuinely a countrywide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” or was it merely a fabrication of popular imagination created out of a series of ad hoc, unconnected escapes?

The answers are contingent on which historians you trust.

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a generation after the Civil War and documented a “vast and sophisticated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he recognized by name (nearly all of them white).

“I escaped without the assistance.

C.

“I have freed myself, just as a man would.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.

Several years ago, an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University, while working on her senior thesis, discovered a previously undiscovered journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of escaping slaves in the 1850s—a discovery that served as the inspiration for his latest book.

  • One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, despite the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always underground at all.
  • In 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, the New York State Vigilance Committee officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Jermain W.
  • Bake sales for the Underground Railroad, as unlikely as it may seem, became frequent fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities, and bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” sold donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks before the winter holidays.
  • Even legislators who had taken vows to preserve the Constitution — including its provision requiring the return of runaways to their legal owners — blatantly failed to carry out their responsibilities.
  • Judge William Jay, the son of the first chief judge of the United States Supreme Court, determined to violate fugitive-slave rules and contributed money to aid escaped slaves.
  • It is a little-known historical irony that, right up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as by Southern slaveholders.
  • Unlike Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as upstate places like as Buffalo and Syracuse—the city was not recognized for its abolitionist passion.

By the time New York’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, the city’s economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South; the editor of De Bow’s gloated just before the Civil War that the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  1. Slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and in addition to officially apprehending escapees, they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—to be sold into Southern bondage.
  2. In 1846, a man called George Kirk sneaked away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be apprehended by the captain and shackled until he could be returned to his owner.
  3. The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of African Americans who had gathered to watch his every move.
  4. The same court discovered new legal grounds on which to release Kirk, who this time rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and arrived in the safety of Boston in no time.
  5. Sydney Howard Gay, the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard, was descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  6. While Gay produced abolitionist manifestos and gathered funds, Napoleon patrolled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and crisscrossed the Mason-Dixon Line, escorting fugitives to freedom.
  7. According to Foner, this paper “is the most complete description in existence of how the underground railroad worked in New York City.

Despite Dr.

“I ate one meal a day for eight years,” starts one first-person story.

“I was beaten with a hatchet and bled for three days after being struck with four hundred lashes by the overseer.” Finally, Foner illustrates that the name “Underground Railroad” has been a restrictive, if not misleading, metaphor for a long time.

Nonetheless, its rails traveled not just through tortuous tunnels, but also through bright straightaways.

The Underground Railroad did, in a sense, have conductors and stationmasters, but the great majority of its people contributed in ways that were too diverse to be compared in such a straightforward manner.

The stories of its passengers were almost as different as the passengers themselves.

A Virginia mother and her young daughter, on the other hand, spent five months cowering in a tiny hiding hole beneath a home near Norfolk before being transported out of the country.

Despite this, the Underground Railroad’s effect greatly outstripped the size of its activities.

It fostered the suspicions of Southern leaders while driving Northern leaders to choose sides with either the slaves or the slave catchers.

Escapees were believed to be flooding northward at an unusual rate just days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861, according to reports.

This was Drapetomania on a scale that was worse than any of Dr.

Samuel Cartwright died in 1863, just a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation, which officially established Drapetomania as government policy.

“The Underground Railroad currently does almost no business at all,” he stated.

When you open The Evening Post, you’ll notice a headline announcing preparations for “A New Underground Railroad” in the city.

The accompanying piece, on the other hand, soon put their fears to rest. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward along Broadway from the Battery to Central Park.

The Underground Railroad Gets Its Name

Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race was the title of a series published by De Bow’s Review, a leading Southern periodical, a decade before the Civil War. The series was deemed necessary by the editors because it had “direct and practical bearing” on 3 million people whose worth as property totaled approximately $2 billion. When it comes to African Americans’ supposed laziness (“deficiency of red blood in the pulmonary and arterial systems”), love of dancing (“profuse distribution of nervous matter to the stomach, liver, and genital organs”), and extreme aversion to being whipped (“skin.

  • However, it was Cartwright’s discovery of a previously undiscovered medical illness, which he coined “Drapetomania, or the sickness that causes Negroes to flee,” that grabbed the most attention from readers.
  • Despite the fact that only a few thousand individuals, at most, fled slavery each year—nearly all of them from states bordering the free North—their migration was seen by many Southern whites as a portent of a greater calamity.
  • How long do you think it will take until the entire cloth begins to unravel?
  • Rather, it was intentionally supported and helped by a well-organized network that was both large and diabolical in scope.
  • The word “Underground Railroad” brings up pictures of trapdoors, flickering lamps, and moonlit routes through the woods in the minds of most people today, just as it did in the minds of most Americans in the 1840s and 1850s.
  • At least until recently, scholars paid relatively little attention to the story, which is remarkable considering how prominent it is in the national consciousness.
  • The Underground Railroad was widely believed to be a statewide conspiracy with “conductors,” “agents,” and “depots,” but was it really a fiction of popular imagination conjured up from a succession of isolated, unconnected escapes?
  • Which historians you trust in will determine the solutions.
See also:  How Did Slaves Communicate Along The Underground Railroad? (Perfect answer)

One historian (white) questioned surviving abolitionists (most of whom were also white) a decade after the Civil War and documented a “great and complicated network” of agents, 3,211 of whom he identified by name, as well as a “great and intricate network” of agents (nearly all of them white).

  • “I escaped without the assistance.
  • C.
  • “I have freed myself in the manner of a man.” In many cases, the Underground Railroad was not concealed at all.
  • The journal of a white New Yorker who assisted hundreds of runaway slaves in the 1850s was found by an undergraduate student in Foner’s department at Columbia University while working on her final thesis some years ago, and this discovery served as the inspiration for his current book.
  • One of the book’s most surprising revelations is that, according to the book’s subtitle, the Underground Railroad was not always secret at all.
  • The New York State Vigilance Committee, established in 1850, the year of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act, officially declared its objective to “welcome, with open arms, the panting fugitive.” Local newspapers published stories about Jermain W.

Bazaars with the slogan “Buy for the sake of the slave” provided donated luxury items and handcrafted knickknacks just before the winter holidays, and bake sales in support of the Underground Railroad, no matter how unlikely it may seem, became popular fund-raisers in Northern towns and cities.

  • Political leaders, especially those who had taken vows to protect the Constitution — including the section ordering the return of runaways to their proper masters — blatantly failed to carry out their obligations.
  • Judge William Jay, a son of the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, made the decision to disregard fugitive slave laws and contributed money to aid runaway slaves who managed to flee.
  • One overlooked historical irony is that, up until the eve of Southern secession in 1860, states’ rights were cited as frequently by Northern abolitionists as they were by Southern slaveholders, a fact that is worth noting.
  • It was not recognized for its abolitionist passion, in contrast to places like as Boston and Philadelphia, which had deep-rooted reformer traditions—­as well as communities in upstate New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse.

Even before the city’s final bondsmen were released, in 1827, its economy had become deeply intertwined with that of the South, as evidenced by a gloating editorial in the De Bow newspaper, published shortly before the Civil War, claiming the city was “nearly as reliant on Southern slavery as Charleston.” New York banks lent money to plantation owners to acquire slaves, while New York merchants made their fortunes off the sale of slave-grown cotton and sugar.

  • Besides properly recapturing escapees, slave catchers prowled the streets of Manhattan, and they frequently illegally kidnapped free blacks—particularly children—in order to sell them into Southern bondage.
  • The story begins in 1846, when a man called George Kirk slipped away aboard a ship sailing from Savannah to New York, only to be discovered by the captain and shackled while awaiting return to his owner.
  • The successful fugitive was escorted out of court by a phalanx of local African Americans who were on the lookout for him.
  • In this case, the same court found other legal grounds on which to free Kirk, who rolled out triumphantly in a carriage and made his way to the safety of Boston in short order this time.
  • In addition to being descended from prominent Puritans, Sydney Howard Gay married a wealthy (and radical) Quaker heiress.
  • Co-conspirator Louis Napoleon, who is thought to be the freeborn son of a Jewish New Yorker and an African American slave, was employed as an office porter in Gay’s office.
  • Gay was the one who, between 1855 and 1856, maintained the “Record of Fugitives,” which the undergraduate discovered in the Columbia University archives and which chronicled more than 200 escapes.

Dr.

One first-person narrative starts, “I ate one meal a day for eight years.” “It has been sold three times, and it is expected to be sold a fourth time.

Undoubtedly, a countrywide network existed, with its actions sometimes shrouded in secrecy.

Its routes and timetables were continually changing as well.

As with Gay and Napoleon’s collaboration, its operations frequently brought together people from all walks of life, including the affluent and the poor, black and white.

Among others who decamped to Savannah were a light-skinned guy who set himself up in a first-class hotel, went around town in a magnificent new suit of clothes, and insouciantly purchased a steamship ticket to New York from Savannah.

At the height of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives was still a small proportion of the overall population.

It not only played a role in precipitating the political crisis of the 1850s, but it also galvanized millions of sympathetic white Northerners to join a noble fight against Southern slave­holders, whether they had personally assisted fugitive slaves, shopped at abolitionist bake sales, or simply enjoyed reading about slave escapes in books and newspapers.

  1. More than anything else, it trained millions of enslaved Americans to gain their freedom at a moment’s notice if necessary.
  2. Within a few months, a large number of Union soldiers and sailors successfully transformed themselves into Underground Railroad operatives in the heart of the South, sheltering fugitives who rushed in large numbers to the Yankees’ encampments to escape capture.
  3. Cartwright’s most horrific nightmares.
  4. On one of the Union’s railway lines, an abolitionist discovered that the volume of wartime traffic was at an all-time high—­except on one of them.
  5. The number of solo travelers is quite limited.” And it’s possible that New Yorkers were surprised to open their eyes in early 1864.

The accompanying essay, on the other hand, soon put their worries at ease. It proposed a plan to construct Manhattan’s first subway line, which would travel northward up Broadway from the Battery to Central Park. It was never built.

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.

The Underground Railroad

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

Home of Levi Coffin

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

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

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

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

Slavery is a noun that refers to the act of owning another human being or being owned by another human being (also known as servitude). Abolitionists utilized this nounsystem between 1800 and 1865 to aid enslaved African Americans in their attempts to flee to free states.

Media Credits

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.

Director

Tyson Brown is a member of the National Geographic Society.

Author

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

Production Managers

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

Program Specialists

According to National Geographic Society’s Sarah Appleton, Margot Willis is a National Geographic Society photographer.

Last Updated

  • User Permissions are set to expire on June 21, 2019. Users’ permissions are detailed in our Terms of Service, which you can see by clicking here. Alternatively, if you have any issues regarding how to reference something from our website in your project or classroom presentation, please speak with your instructor. They will be the most knowledgeable about the selected format. When you contact them, you will need to provide them with the page title, URL, and the date on which you visited the item.

Media

User Permissions are due on June 21, 2019. Please see our Terms of Service for more details on user permissions. If you have any issues regarding how to properly reference something from our website in your project or classroom presentation, please speak with your instructor or a librarian. Most likely, they will be the ones who are most familiar with the recommended format The title of the page, the URL of the resource, as well as the date you visited it, will be necessary when you contact them.

Text

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

Interactives

  • Printing and using the text on this page is permitted under our Terms of Service.

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.

  1. Those working in the Underground Railroad utilized code terms to keep their identities hidden from others.
  2. While traveling on the Underground Railroad, both runaways and conductors had to endure terrible conditions, harsh weather, and acute starvation.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. Tubman was said to have carried a revolver in order to guarantee that she never lost track of a passenger.
  2. 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.
  3. It is possible for “shareholders” to make donations to such groups, which may be used to supply supplies or to construct additional lines.
  4. 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

  • In an effort to aid runaway slaves in their attempts to flee from slave states to the North and Canada, white and African American abolitionists constructed a network of hiding spots around the country where fugitives could hide during the day and travel under the cover of night to safety. 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” railroad in her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. There is no definitive estimate of the overall number of runaways who utilized the Underground Railroad to escape to freedom, although some estimates place the number at more than 100,000 liberated slaves throughout the antebellum period. Underground Railroad participants employed code phrases to retain their identity in order to avoid detection. Slaves on the run were referred to as “passengers” or “freight,” and the hiding spots were known as “stations” or “depots.” Anyone who directed runaways or offered assistance to them along the road was known as a “stationmaster,” “conductor,” or “engineer,” depending on the situation. In the course of their Underground Railroad journeys, both runaways and conductors endured inhumane conditions, freezing temperatures, and starvation. Numerous people put their lives in danger, particularly after the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act made it illegal to provide assistance to escape slaves anywhere, even free states. It also made it increasingly difficult for free African Americans to preserve their independence, as they may be mistaken for runaways as a result of this federal statute. As one abolitionist put it, “free colored people suffered the same fate as the breathless and slaves” at that historical period. At the Kansas City Public Library, you may hear a recording of filmmaker Gary Jenkins talking about the Underground Railroad in the West. Conductors in Kansas felt impelled to assist slaves from adjacent Missouri, Arkansas, and Indian Territory, despite the fact that doing so would violate federal law (present-day Oklahoma). Underground Railroad routes that extended into Kansas and branched out into northern states such as Iowa and Nebraska, as well as all the way into Canada, were often utilized by these fugitives. Passengers on the “Most Miserable” routes, which abolitionists in Kansas dubbed “MM” for routes that came out of Mississippi and neighboring Missouri, were a particular focus of their efforts. “I feel very happy and thankfullthat I have been able to do so much good for the oppressed, and so much harm to the oppressors,” one conductor from Wakarusa, Kansas, said in 1859. Many well-known persons were connected with the Underground Railroad, notably Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and then returned to the South 19 times to assist over 300 slaves in their journey to freedom. To guarantee that she never lost track of a passenger, Tubman was said to carry a revolver. In addition to assisting more than 3,000 slaves, Levi Coffin, a Quaker, hosted many of them at his estates in Indiana and Ohio, which were well-traveled staging areas. A number of 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, throughout the 1850s. Other Kansans contributed to fugitive assistance organisations by donating money or volunteering their time and services. It is possible for “shareholders” to contribute gifts to such organizations, which may be used to supply supplies or to create new lines of business. If, for example, the “Lane Trail” and the “John Brown Road” were well-known to pro-slavery groups, an anti-slavery assistance association devised fresh plans to transport fugitives from Kansas to the north, with side branches branching off in cities throughout Iowa. Members of assistance groups not only devised new routes, but they also tested the routes to ensure that men, women, and children could travel in peace. During an escape, engineers guided passengers and warned the remainder of the train to reroute if there was a threat to the railway’s itinerary. The Underground Railroad: A Decoded History

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 across the country where fugitives could conceal themselves during the day and travel by night. Despite the fact that runaways tended to travel on foot and trains were rarely used, everyone involved referred to the secret network as the “Underground Railroad,” a term that first appeared in literature in 1852 when Harriet Beecher Stowe mentioned a secret “underground” line in her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was set in the American West.

Members of the Underground Railroad utilized code phrases to remain anonymous.

On Underground Railroad travels, both runaways and conductors were subjected to inconvenient situations, freezing weather, and acute hunger.

This federal statute also made it more difficult for free African Americans to preserve their independence, since they were more likely to be mistaken for runaways as a result of the law.

Listen to a tape of filmmaker Gary Jenkins speaking at the Kansas City Public Library on the Underground Railroad in the West.

Underground Railroad routes that extended into Kansas and branched out into northern states such as Iowa and Nebraska, or even all the way into Canada, were frequently used by these smugglers.

“I feel very happy and thankfullthat I have been able to do so much good for the oppressed, and so much harm to the oppressors,” said one conductor from Wakarusa, Kansas, in 1859.

Tubman was said to have carried a revolver in order to ensure that she would never lose track of a passenger.

Individuals from Kansas also played major roles, such as Enoch and Luther Platt, who managed railroad stations out of their house in Wabaunsee County, Kansas Territory, in the 1850s.

“Shareholders” might make donations to such organisations in order to supply supplies or to develop new lines of distribution.

In addition to developing new routes, members of assistance organisations evaluated those routes to ensure that men, women, and children could travel securely.

During an escape, engineers guided passengers and alerted the remainder of the train to reroute if danger was imminent. The Underground Railroad: A Decoded Guide

Suggested Reading:

Leave a Comment

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