Harriet Tubman Nicknamed “Moses,” she went on to become the Underground Railroad’s most famous “conductor,” embarking on about 13 rescue operations back into Maryland and pulling out at least 70 enslaved people, including several siblings.
What was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad?
- One of the most famous “conductors” on the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman (an “Amazing American”), a former slave who escaped from Maryland. William Jackson’s house in Newton, Massachusetts, was a “station” on the Underground Railroad. The Jacksons were abolitionists, people who worked to end slavery.
Who were the main conductors of the Underground Railroad?
Harriet Tubman, perhaps the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, helped hundreds of runaway slaves escape to freedom. She never lost one of them along the way. As a fugitive slave herself, she was helped along the Underground Railroad by another famous conductor… William Still.
Who said I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad?
“I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say — I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” Harriet Tubman at a suffrage convention, NY, 1896. “Slavery is the next thing to hell.”
Was William still a conductor of the Underground Railroad?
Shamong Township, New Jersey, U.S. William Still (October 7, 1821 – July 14, 1902) was an African-American abolitionist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, businessman, writer, historian and civil rights activist.
Did Harriet Tubman give speeches?
In addition, Tubman’s speeches, if written about in newspapers, were only described and briefly quoted, rather than printed in full, as other abolitionists’ speeches sometimes were. She was illiterate so no written copies of her speeches appeared to be available.
What did a conductor do?
Conductors act as guides to the orchestras or choirs they conduct. They choose the works to be performed and study their scores, to which they may make certain adjustments (such as in tempo, articulation, phrasing, repetitions of sections), work out their interpretation, and relay their vision to the performers.
Is Gertie Davis died?
“ Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” “I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.”
What did Frederick Douglass do?
Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author and public speaker. He became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War.
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.
Is William still married?
In the early 1800s, Quaker abolitionist Isaac T. Hopper set up a network in Philadelphia that helped enslaved people on the run.
Was Harriet Tubman a suffragette?
She was a strong supporter of women’s voting rights, giving speeches on women’s suffrage in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Tubman shared her experiences of suffering in the war and railroad movement, in order to prove that women are equal to men.
What did Harriet Tubman do as a conductor on the Underground Railroad apex?
Who was Harriet Tubman? She was one of the most famous abolitionists who helped the Underground Railroad (a “conductor”). She was a Union spy and nurse during the Civil War. After she escaped from slavery, she made at least 19 trips on the underground railroad to help others escape.
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.
Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad
Taking a look at Harriet Tubman, who is considered the most renowned conductor on the Underground Railroad, our Headlines and Heroes blog. Tubman and those she assisted in their emancipation from slavery traveled north to freedom, occasionally crossing the Canadian border. While we’re thinking about the Texas origins of Juneteenth, let’s not forget about a lesser-known Underground Railroad that ran south from Texas to Mexico. In “Harriet Tubman,” The Sun (New York, NY), June 7, 1896, p. 5, there is a description of her life.
- Prints Photographs Division is a division of the Department of Photographs.
- She then returned to the area several times over the following decade, risking her life in order to assist others in their quest for freedom as a renowned conductor of the Underground Railroad (also known as the Underground Railroad).
- Prior to the Civil War, media coverage of her successful missions was sparse, but what is available serves to demonstrate the extent of her accomplishments in arranging these escapes and is worth reading for that reason.
- Her earliest attempted escape occurred with two of her brothers, Harry and Ben, according to an October 1849 “runaway slave” ad in which she is referred to by her early nickname, Minty, which she still uses today.
- Photograph courtesy of the Bucktown Village Foundation in Cambridge, Maryland.
- Her first name, Harriet, had already been chosen for her, despite the fact that the advertisement does not mention it.
She had also married and used her husband’s surname, John Tubman, as her own.
Slaves from the Cambridge, Maryland region managed to evade capture in two separate groups in October 1857.
In what the newspapers referred to as “a vast stampede of slaves,” forty-four men, women, and children managed to flee the situation.
Tubman and the majority of her family had been held in bondage by the Pattison family.
While speaking at antislavery and women’s rights conferences in the late 1800s, Tubman used her platform to convey her own story of slavery, escape, and efforts to save others.
There are few articles regarding her lectures during this time period since she was frequently presented using a pseudonym to avoid being apprehended and returned to slavery under the rules of the Federal Fugitive Slave Act.
“Harriet Tribbman,” in “Grand A.
Convention at Auburn, New York,” Anti-Slavery Bugle (Salem, Ohio), January 21, 1860, p.
Convention in Auburn, New York,” Anti-Slavery Bugle (Salem, Ohio), January 21, 1860, p.
A description of Harriett Tupman may be found in “A Female Conductor of the Underground Railroad,” published in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, VA) on June 6, 1860, page 1.
In addition, when Tubman’s remarks were mentioned in the press, they were only quickly summarized and paraphrased, rather than being printed in their whole, as other abolitionists’ speeches were occasionally done.
With the rescue of Charles Nalle, who had escaped slavery in Culpeper, Virginia, but had been apprehended in Troy, New York, where Tubman was on a visit, Tubman’s rescue attempts shifted from Maryland to New York on April 27, 1860, and continued until the end of the year.
At the Woman’s Rights Convention in Boston in early June 1860, when Tubman spoke about these events, the Chicago Press and Tribunereporter responded with racist outrage at the audience’s positive reaction to Tubman’s story of Nalle’s rescue as well as her recounting of her trips back to the South to bring others to freedom.
- Later media coverage of Tubman’s accomplishments was frequently laudatory and theatrical in nature.
- On September 29, 1907, p.
- This and several other later articles are included in the book Harriet Tubman: Topics in Chronicling America, which recounts her early days on the Underground Railroad, her impressive Civil War service as a nurse, scout, and spy in the Union Army, and her post-war efforts.
- In keeping with contemporary biographies such asScenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman(1869) and Harriet, the Moses of her People(1886), both written by Sarah H.
- Taylor, financial secretary at Tuskegee Institute, certain content in these profiles may have been embellished from time to time.
This request was made in an essay written by Taylor shortly before to the release of his book, “The Troubles of a Heroine,” in which he requested that money be delivered directly to Tubman in order to pay off the mortgage on her property so that she may convert it into a “Old Folks’ Home.” On March 10, 1913, Tubman passed away in the Harriet Tubman Home for Aged Negroes in Auburn, New York, where she had lived for the previous twelve years.
While these newspaper stories provide us with crucial views into Harriet Tubman’s amazing heroics, they also serve as excellent examples of the variety of original materials available inChronicling America. More information may be found at:
- Harriet Tubman: A Resource Guide
- Harriet Tubman: A Resource Guide
- Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide
- Slavery in America: A Resource Guide Newspaper advertisements for fugitive slaves, as well as a blog called Headlines and Heroes Topics in Chronicling America: Fugitive Slave Advertisements
A Guide to Resources on Harriet Tubman Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide; Runaway! from Slavery in America: A Resource Guide Newspaper advertisements for fugitive slaves, as well as a blog called Headlines and Heroes; Topics in Chronicling America: Fugitive Slave Advertisements
9 Unsung Heroes of the Underground Railroad
With hundreds of people participating in the Underground Railroad’s operation, which spanned from the Deep South all the way to Canada, it’s hardly surprising that the network of underground pathways and safe homes known as the Underground Railroad was so large in scope. Some, like as Harriet Tubman, served as “conductors,” directing rescue efforts, while others, such as John Brown, served as “station masters,” welcoming fugitives into their houses and facilitating their safe journey to safety after their capture.
1. William Still
William Still, who was born in 1821 to previously enslaved parents in New Jersey, traveled to Philadelphia when he was 23 years old and took up the abolitionist banner in more ways than one. As a result, he learned himself to read and write and obtained employment as a clerk for the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, where he rose through the ranks until he was appointed head of the organization’s new Vigilance Committee in the early 1850s. While in that role, Still administered the region’s network of safe houses, which included his own residence, and generated funds to support important rescue operations, including a number of those undertaken by Harriet Tubman.
The fact that he’s frequently referred to as “the Father of the Underground Railroad” is due to another factor.
Hopefully, the “amazing drive and ambition” displayed in the terrible stories will serve as an inspiration to Black Americans as they continue the fight for civil rights.
2. John P. Parker
When John P. Parker was 8 years old, a trader in Norfolk, Virginia, removed him from his enslaved mother and sold him to a doctor in Mobile, Alabama. John P. Parker was born into slavery. With the assistance of the doctor’s children, Parker worked as an apprentice in an iron foundry, where he also learned to read and write. Having persuaded one of the doctor’s patients to purchase him at the age of 18, he was given the opportunity to gradually reclaim his freedom with the money he earned from his foundry.
- While all of this was going on, Parker was making regular trips over the Ohio River to transport fugitives from Kentucky back to Ripley’s safe homes (one belonged to John Rankin, a prominent white abolitionist who lived less than a mile from Parker).
- He once anticipated that an enslaversuspecteda married couple would seek to flee, so he kidnapped their infant and placed him in his chamber to sleep.
- The enslaver awakened and chased after Parker, firing his gun, but Parker and his family were able to flee across the river and into Canada.
- Gregg during a series of interviews in the 1880s, but the manuscript remained undiscovered in Duke University’s archives until historian Stuart Seeley Sprague unearthed it and published it in 1996.
Parker’s rescues were recounted to journalist Frank M. Gregg during a series of interviews in the 1880s, but the manuscript remained undiscovered in Duke University’s archives until historian Stuart Seeley Sprague unearthed
3. and 4. Harriet Bell Hayden and Lewis Hayden
Lewis Hayden, who was born enslaved in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1812, witnessed enslavers tear his family apart not once, but twice throughout his lifetime. His brothers were sold to a different enslaver at first, and then his wife and son were purchased by Kentucky senator Henry Clay and sold someplace in the Deep South, according to historical records. Hayden never saw them or heard from them again. In the early 1840s, he married an enslaved lady called Harriet Bell, adopted her son, and began preparing their escape from the plantation where they had been held.
- The couple had returned to the United States by 1846, when they had settled in Boston’s Beacon Hill district, where they had founded a clothes business.
- Despite the fact that slavery had been outlawed in Massachusetts since 1783, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 declared that enslaved persons who had escaped to free states might still be apprehended and returned to their enslavers in the southern United States.
- Among those who have received considerable notice are Ellen and William Craft, who gained notoriety for their perilous escape from slavery in Georgia, which required Ellen impersonating a white man and William as a Black servant.
- The bounty hunters didn’t take any chances and returned home empty-handed.
- In 1873, he was elected to the Massachusetts General Assembly, where he served until his death in 1904.
- The estate of Harriet Tubman, who died in 1893, was bequeathed to Harvard Medical School for the aim of creating an annual scholarship for Black students, which is still in existence today.
5. Henrietta Bowers Duterte
His wife, Henrietta Bowers, was 35 when she married Francis A. Duterte, a Haitian-American undertaker who was also 35 at the time. It should have been a long and happy union because they both hailed from well-respected Philadelphia households and Francis’s mortuary was prosperous; in other words, it should have been a joyful union. However, by the end of the decade, Henrietta was on her own: Her children had all died while they were young, and Francis had also died unexpectedly. Instead of handing over the funeral company to a male, as would have been anticipated at the time, Henrietta took over and transformed it into a particularly secretive station on the Underground Railroad, in addition to maintaining the mortuary business.
It was nonetheless profitable, and Henrietta used the proceeds to support organizations that supported Philadelphia’s Black population, such as the First Colored Church and Stephen Smith’s Philadelphia Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons, which were both founded by Stephen Smith.
In 1866, she assisted in the organization of the Freedman’s Aid Society Fair, which raised funds for previously enslaved persons in Tennessee.
6. David Ruggles
David Ruggles, who was born free in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1810, traveled to New York City when he was 17 years old and founded a grocery store, which he operated with liberated African Americans. Ruggles soon expanded his business to include lending and selling abolitionist books, pamphlets, and newspapers as well, making him the first Black bookshop proprietor in the United States. Ruggles and other local abolitionists formed the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835, which was an inter-racial group that, like the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee, assisted people in their attempts to elude slavery.
- Frederick Douglass, who had escaped slavery and arrived in New York in 1838, impoverished and starving, was one of these temporary visitors.
- David Ruggles saved his life, as he revealed in his autobiography published in 1845.
- Ruggles’s alertness, kindness, and tenacity,” he wrote.
- Ruggles gave the couple $5 shortly after their wedding and arranged for them to go by steamer to New Bedford, Massachusetts.
- Ruggles distributed countless anti-slavery publications during his years as an Underground Railroad station master, and he advocated for “practical abolitionism,” which is the idea that each individual should actively participate in the emancipation of African-Americans.
- Not that he was without adversaries: his business was burned down on two occasions, and he was violently attacked on other times.
- Ruggles was able to restore some of his strength by hydrotherapy while he was there, and he subsequently founded his own hydrotherapy facility, where Douglass would frequently pay him a visit.
7. and 8. Harriet Forten Purvis and Robert Purvis
Robert Purvis, the son of a free Black woman and a free white man, was involved in virtually every aspect of Philadelphia’s anti-slavery movement from the 1830s to the Civil War, and he died in the Civil War. His work with prominent abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison to establish the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833 and the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society a few years later resulted in the formation of the Vigilant Association of Philadelphia and its Vigilance Committee, which provided fugitive fugitives with boarding, clothing, medical attention, legal counsel, and northern passage.
- Harriet, like Mott, would go on to become a prominent figure in the women’s suffragist movement.
- Their home on Lombard Street became a well-traveled corridor for fugitives on their way to the United States border with Canada.
- The eighth anniversary of slavery’s abolition in the British West Indies was being celebrated when a mob of Irish people, resentful of their own low social standing, attacked the revelers and began looting and setting fire to Black-owned businesses along the street.
- However, according to reports, a Catholic priest diverted the rioters off their intended route to the Purvises’ home, where Robert was armed and ready to confront them.
Robert estimated that he had assisted in the emancipation of around one person each day between 1831 and 1861 (though it’s probable that this figure includes his larger involvement with other anti-slavery organizations).
9. Samuel D. Burris
For more than a decade in the 1840s, Samuel D. Burris worked diligently to transport fugitives through his home state of Delaware and into Philadelphia, where he resided with his wife and children. Despite the fact that Burris was a free man, he might be imprisoned and sold into slavery if he was found assisting fugitives in Delaware—which is exactly what happened to him in 1847. Burris was detained while attempting to sneak a lady named Maria Matthews onto a boat, according to authorities. Because his bail was set at $5000 (equivalent to more than $157,000 today), he was compelled to spend months in jail while awaiting his trial.
Burris was found guilty on November 2, 1847, and he was sentenced to 10 more months in jail as well as a $500 fine.
A group of Philadelphia abolitionists raised $500 during Burris’ 10-month prison sentence and sent a Quaker named Isaac Flint to masquerade as a merchant and acquire Burris at an auction while Burris was serving his sentence.
In Still’s words, “he was not in the least conscious that he had fallen into the hands of friends, but on the contrary, he appeared to be under the assumption that his freedom had been taken away.” ‘The joyous news was whispered in Burris’s ear that everything was OK; that he had been purchased with abolition money in order to keep him from going south.’ The historian Robin Krawitz of Delaware State University told CNN that Burris continued to assist fugitives after his release, and enraged Delawareans petitioned the government to punish him even more severely after he was sentenced to prison.
Burris’ operations in Delaware were suspended when officials approved legislation that prescribed public flogging as a penalty for anyone caught a second time.
Underground Railroad: A Conductor And Passengers Documented In Music
However, while Harriet Tubman is the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, a new album highlights the contributions of an even more important figure: William Still, who was responsible for assisting nearly 800 enslaved African Americans to escape to freedom in the years before the Civil War. That Still was more generally acknowledged for his work as an abolitionist, historian, and conductor for the Underground Railroad is long overdue; he deserves to be. It was Still’s 1872 bookThe Underground Railroad that inspired the new filmHarriet, in which he is portrayed by Leslie Odom Jr., and he is also the key protagonist in Sanctuary Road, a new oratorio by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec that is based on Still’s novel.
- While still in his twenties, Still, who was born free in New Jersey in 1821, relocated to Philadelphia, where he worked for an abolitionist organization.
- ‘Preserve every tale, every truth, and every incident,’ sings bass-baritone Dashon Burton in the character of Still, his velvety authority shining through.
- The stories he collected were both alarming and distressing to listen to.
- Creature, who had a light skin tone, pretended to be an elderly white slave owner while traveling to Philadelphia with an enslaved valet who was actually Craft’s fiancé, who was also disguised as a white man.
- Sanctuary Road is not without its share of wry comedy, as you will see below.
- The people that sent him were apparently less intelligent than Brown, for he ended up spending much of his perilous voyage upside down.
- Merriweather at the conclusion of his devoted performance, which is tinged with a tinge of amusement.
- Three frantic chase sequences, starring tenor Joshua Blue and showing the enslaved Wesley Harris’ feverishly dashing through woodlands and avoiding highways, are interspersed between the lengthier stories by Moravec and Campbell between the longer stories.
- The singers, dressed as enraged slave owners, scream out, promising incentives to those who flee.
- Its sweeping romanticism, a la Samuel Barber, sounds very American, and it blends well with the text written by Mark Campbell, which was based on Still’s novel.
- Americans still have a long way to go before they can comprehend the Underground Railroad in its entirety.
However, via a piece such as Sanctuary Road, we may learn about William Still – a significant character in our nation’s history — and the hundreds of people he helped to achieve freedom. NPR has copyright protection until 2021. More information may be found at
What is the Underground Railroad? – Underground Railroad (U.S. National Park Service)
While Harriet Tubman is perhaps the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, a new CD pays tribute to another important figure: William Still, who assisted almost 800 enslaved African Americans in their escape to freedom in the years before the Civil War, according to the release. That Still’s contributions as an abolitionist, historian, and conductor for the Underground Railroad were more generally acknowledged is long overdue. He is a significant character in the upcoming filmHarriet (in which he is played by Leslie Odom Jr.), and he is also the central protagonist of Sanctuary Road, a new oratorio by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec based on Still’s 1872 bookThe Underground Railroad.
- While still in his twenties, Still, who was born free in New Jersey in 1821, came to Philadelphia to work for an abolitionist organization.
- ‘Preserve every tale, every truth, and every occurrence,’ sings bass-baritone Dashon Burton in the character of Still, his velvety authority shining through in his performance.
- Astonishing and terrible stories were chronicled by him.
- In order to travel to Philadelphia with her enslaved attendant, who was actually her fiancé, Craft, who had a light skin tone, pretended to be a white man – an elderly slave owner.
- Not everything in Sanctuary Road is serious.
- Brown scrawled “THIS SIDE UP” on the top of his box before climbing inside it.
- “If only those fools could read!” says baritone Malcolm J.
- The adventures that are presented are laden with perilous situations.
- Sanctuary Road features a chorus that both comments on and participates in the action of the show.
- The music for Sanctuary Road by Moravec is straightforward and does not attempt to break any new ground musically.
- As a librettist, Campbell has worked on 36 operas, including the Pulitzer Prize-winningSilent Night, by Kevin Puts, which he may be considered “America’s go-to librettist.” Americans still have a long way to go before they can comprehend the Underground Railroad in its fullest extent.
The tale of William Still — an important character in our history — and the hundreds of people he helped to achieve freedom may be told through the lens of an art piece such as Sanctuary Road. 10/21/2021 National Public Radio (NPR). More information may be found by going to
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.
How Harriet Tubman and William Still Helped the Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad, a network of people who assisted enslaved persons in escaping to the North, was only as strong as the people who were willing to put their own lives in danger to do so. Among those most closely associated with the Underground Railroad were Harriet Tubman, one of the most well-known “conductors,” and William Still, who is generally referred to as the “Father of the Underground Railroad.”
Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and guided others to freedom
Tubman, who was born into slavery in Maryland under the name Araminta Harriet Ross, was able to escape to freedom via the use of the Underground Railroad. Throughout her childhood, she was subjected to constant physical assault and torture as a result of her enslavement. In one of the most serious instances, she was struck in the head with an object weighing two pounds, resulting in her suffering from seizures and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her life. John Tubman was a free black man when she married him in 1844, but nothing is known about their connection other than the fact that she adopted his last name.
- Even though she began the voyage with her brothers, she eventually completed the 90-mile journey on her own in 1849.
- As a result, she crossed the border again in 1850, this time to accompany her niece’s family to Pennsylvania.
- Instead, she was in charge of a gang of fugitive bond agents.
- Her parents and siblings were among those she was able to save.
- Tubman, on the other hand, found a way around the law and directed her Underground Railroad to Canada, where slavery was illegal (there is evidence that one of her destinations on an 1851 voyage was at the house of abolitionist Frederick Douglass).
- “”I was a conductor on the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say things that other conductors are unable to express,” she stated with a sense of accomplishment.
“I never had a problem with my train going off the tracks or losing a passenger.” Continue reading Harriet Tubman: A Timeline of Her Life, Underground Railroad Service, and Activism for more information.
William Still helped more than 800 enslaved people escape
In 1852, under the alias Araminta Harriet Ross, Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland and eventually emancipated via a network known as the Underground Railroad. For the most of her childhood, she was subjected to regular physical assault and torture. One of the most serious incidents occurred when a two-pound weight was hurled at her head, leading her to suffer from seizures and narcoleptic episodes for the rest of her days. John Tubman was a free black man when she married him in 1844, but nothing is known about their connection other than the fact that she adopted his surname.
- In 1849, she set out on her trek with her brothers, but she eventually completed the 90-mile route on her own.
- Although Tubman had tasted freedom, she couldn’t take the notion of her family being slaves, so she crossed the border again in 1850, this time to accompany her niece’s family to Pennsylvania.
- Instead, she gathered a band of fugitive bond agents and led them away from the facility.
- Her mom and siblings were among the people she saved.
- Instead of ignoring this, Tubman circumvented it by directing her Underground Railroad to Canada, where slavery was illegal (there is evidence that one of her destinations on an 1851 voyage was at the house of abolitionist Frederick Douglass).
“Her proudly stated, “I was a conductor on the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say things that other conductors can’t.” In all my years of railroading, I never drove my train off the track or lost a passenger.” Continue reading Harriet Tubman: A Timeline of Her Life, Underground Rail Service, and Activism for more information.
Tubman made regular stops at Still’s station
Tubman was a frequent visitor at Still’s station, since she made a regular stop in Philadelphia on her way to New York. He is also said to have contributed monetarily to several of Tubman’s journeys. Her visits clearly left an effect on him, as evidenced by the inclusion of a section about her in his book, which followed a letter from Thomas Garrett about her ushering in arriving visitors. As Stillwright put it in his book, “Harriet Tubman had become their “Moses,” but not in the same way that Andrew Johnson had been their “Moses of the brown people.” “She had obediently gone down into Egypt and, through her own heroics, had delivered these six bondmen to safety.
But in terms of courage, shrewdness, and selfless efforts to rescue her fellow-men, she was without peer.
“While great anxieties were entertained for her safety, she appeared to be completely free of personal dread,” he went on to say.
will portray William Still, in the upcoming film Harriet. The film will explore the life and spirit of Tubman, and the role that Still had in guiding so many people on the road to freedom.
A portrait of Harriet Tubman, around 1885. It is noteworthy that the left side of Ms. Tubman’s face is not obscured by a shadow in this photograph by H. Seymour Squyer, which displays the damage she sustained as a child. The National Portrait Gallery is responsible for the preservation of the original. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, which is available online. Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave from Maryland who rose to prominence as the ” Moses ” of her people, was instrumental in assisting slaves in achieving freedom in Canada and the northern United States.
- When the misbehaving slave attempted to flee from his punishment, the overseer slammed him against a big iron weight.
- Tubman, who was well aware of the dangers of assisting runaways, is claimed to have refused to allow individuals to change their minds once they had decided to assist them.
- According to legend, she allegedly observed: “On my Underground Railroad, I run my train off the tracks and never pick up a passenger.” She was able to purchase a property in Auburn, New York, with the support of her friends, William and Frances Seward.
- ) Harriet had a long life and was buried with military honors at Ft.
- She had a long and fruitful life.
- William Still, a free-born African-American who has been dubbed the “Father of the Underground Railroad,” documented many first-person tales of persons who were fleeing the slave states of the southern United States. This photograph of William Jackson and his family, taken in 1846, shows them as abolitionists living in Newton, Massachusetts. His complete book, which has more than 800 pages, is accessible for online reading. Their place of residence was a station on the subway system. Today, that house serves as a museum
- John Fairfield, the son of a slave-holding family, is credited with numerous daring rescues and the development of inventive methods to keep escaping slaves safe
- Levi Coffin, who is credited with many slave rescues and the writing of Reminiscences about his and his wife Catherine Coffin’s efforts, is credited with writing Reminiscences about his and his wife Catherine Coffin’s efforts. Others feel his promises of aid were overstated to a significant extent.
There were many more who aided slaves who were attempting to break free from the bonds of American slavery. Due to the fact that much of their labor was carried out in secret, many myths and tales have sprung up around the true stories of the Underground Railroad. Throughout it all, however, one aspect remains indisputably true: the desire to be free is a human emotion so powerful that individuals are willing to go to great lengths to achieve their goal of freedom.
Pathways to Freedom
|People||Museums/ Historical Sites||Events||Primary Source Documents|
Marylanders who were a part of the Underground Railroad To quickly navigate to a certain individual, use the links provided below: Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Garrett, and William Still are all historical figures. Samuel Burris is a fictional character created by author Samuel Burris. More Individuals » Harriet Tubman, who was born a slave in Cambridge, Maryland, was a famous Underground Railroad conductor and one of the most well-known figures in the history of the Underground Railroad.
She was familiar with a number of paths through the woods and fields.
It was safer at night and when there were less people outdoors working or traveling from one location to another, according to the study.
When she was with her gang, she always had weapons on her person to defend them in case they were assaulted.
Her reputation is built on the fact that she never lost a single passenger.
We believe he was born around 1818, but we do not have any documentation to support this assumption.
Douglass had a sneaking suspicion that his white owner, Captain Aaron Anthony, was his father.
The death of Douglass’s mother occurred when he was around seven years old.
Douglass, who was eight years old at the time, was finally assigned to live with the Auld family in Baltimore by Captain Anthony.
Auld assisted the little child in his efforts to learn to read and write.
They would eventually provide their support to Douglass in his fight against the scourge of slavery.
Douglass was returned to the Eastern Shore, where he was placed with Thomas Auld, who happened to be Captain Anthony’s son-in-law.
He came to the conclusion that he must find his path to freedom.
He found employment at a shipyard in Fells Point, where he was surrounded by free Black men.
Douglass made the decision to try to go to the north in search of freedom.
He chose to dress in the manner of a free Black seaman, similar to the ones he worked with at the Shipyard.
Douglass departed Baltimore on September 3, 1838, according to historical records.
Once he had reached in the North, Douglass changed his last name from Bailey to Johnson in order to escape being recaptured by slavehunters from the southern United States.
Pennington, who was also Frederick’s best man.
Douglass changed his last name for the second and last time at that location.
He went throughout the northern United States, sharing firsthand tales of slavery, abolition, segregation, and prejudice with an audience of thousands.
He was terrified that he would be apprehended and returned to the slave trade.
Douglass was eventually and formally set free from his captivity.
There, he began publishing an abolitionist newspaper known as The North Star, which he named after his hometown.
He continued to contribute to national and international initiatives aimed at achieving freedom for all people, including himself.
He was 78 years old.
Several conductors, including Tubman, led the way to Garrett’s mansion.
He conveyed a large number of persons to Philadelphia, where there was a thriving Abolition Society and a large number of people who were involved with the Underground Railroad at the time.
He took in a large number of fugitives from Maryland, the state where his mother was born.
He made arrangements for a large number of fugitive slaves to continue their trek to Canada.
It includes descriptions of the fugitives he received as well as letters from fugitives and Underground Railroad aids such as Thomas Garrett and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper.
Several biographies of men and women who were involved in the Underground Railroad are also included in the book.
Take a look at an extract from William Still’s autobiography.
He was a free black guy at the time.
He became involved in the Underground Railroad’s operations as a result of his experiences.
He collaborated with Benjamin Still and Thomas Garrett on a number of projects.
If they are apprehended, they may be sold as slaves to make money.
He was arrested and taken to jail, where he remained for several months.
The judge ruled that he be sold and sentenced to serve seven years in prison.
They gathered funds and dispatched an abolitionist called Isaac Flint to the auction where Burris would be sold, where he was successful.
This is the narrative of that auction written by William Still. Burris then relocated to California, where he continued to send contributions to support formerly enslaved people in need. return to the beginning More Individuals »