These eight abolitionists helped enslaved people escape to freedom.
- Isaac Hopper. Abolitionist Isaac Hopper.
- John Brown. Abolitionist John Brown, c.
- Harriet Tubman.
- Thomas Garrett.
- William Still.
- Levi Coffin.
- Elijah Anderson.
- Thaddeus Stevens.
Who are the characters in the Underground Railroad?
- Levi Coffin The Underground Railroad, painted by Charles T. Webber, shows Levi Coffin, his wife Catherine, and Hannah Haydock assisting a group of fugitive slaves.
Who was important in 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.
Who helped Harriet Tubman with the Underground Railroad?
Fugitive Slave Act She often drugged babies and young children to prevent slave catchers from hearing their cries. Over the next ten years, Harriet befriended other abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, Thomas Garrett and Martha Coffin Wright, and established her own Underground Railroad network.
Who was the most important person in the Underground Railroad?
HARRIET TUBMAN – The Best-Known Figure in UGR History Harriet Tubman is perhaps the best-known figure related to the underground railroad. She made by some accounts 19 or more rescue trips to the south and helped more than 300 people escape slavery.
Who ended slavery?
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves… shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free,” effective January 1, 1863. It was not until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, in 1865, that slavery was formally abolished ( here ).
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.
Who was Captain James Nugent?
As an abolitionist, Captain James Nugent was active in the Underground Railroad. His name is listed as an operator in “The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom.” In 1852, Captain Nugent’s role as a conductor was documented when he aided runaways from Detroit to Canada.
Was there really an underground railway?
Nope! Despite its name, the Underground Railroad wasn’t a railroad in the way Amtrak or commuter rail is. It wasn’t even a real railroad. The Underground Railroad of history was simply a loose network of safe houses and top secret routes to states where slavery was banned.
What was William Still’s role in the Underground Railroad?
He became an active agent on the Underground Railroad, assisting fugitive Africans who came to Philadelphia. With the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, Still was appointed chairman of the society’s revived Vigilance Committee that aided and supported fugitive Africans.
Why was Harriet Tubman vs Moses?
Harriet Tubman is called “The Moses of Her People” because like Moses she helped people escape from slavery. Harriet is well known as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. Using a network of abolitionists and free people of color, she guided hundreds of slaves to freedom in the North and Canada.
What is William Still’s legacy?
HIS LEGACY Through his enduring dedication to Black liberation, William Still provided future generations of Black Americans with a gleaming example of how we can each dedicate our lives to the fight civil rights and freedom.
Was Frederick Douglass part of the Underground Railroad?
The famous abolitionist, writer, lecturer, statesman, and Underground Railroad conductor Frederick Douglass (1817–1895) resided in this house from 1877 until his death. He was a leader of Rochester’s Underground Railroad movement and became the editor and publisher of the North Star, an abolitionist newspaper.
Who financed the Underground Railroad?
5: Buying Freedom Meanwhile, so-called “stockholders” raised money for the Underground Railroad, funding anti-slavery societies that provided ex-slaves with food, clothing, money, lodging and job-placement services. At times, abolitionists would simply buy an enslaved person’s freedom, as they did with Sojourner Truth.
What did Levi Coffin do?
Levi Coffin, (born October 28, 1798, New Garden [now in Greensboro], North Carolina, U.S.—died September 16, 1877, Cincinnati, Ohio), American abolitionist, called the “President of the Underground Railroad,” who assisted thousands of runaway slaves on their flight to freedom.
Heroes of the Underground Railroad
Jaime Morales is a young woman from the Dominican Republic (Clickability client services) Beyond the River: The Untold Story of the Heroes of the Underground Railroad is a book about the heroes of the Underground Railroad. Ann Hagedorn is a writer and editor based in New York City. SimonSchuster Until the Civil War, few stories in American history have combined as much suspense, adventure, and moral righteousness as the story of the Underground Railroad—the vast network of safe houses that was established to enable between 50,000 and 100,000 fugitive slaves to escape to the Free States and Canada in the decades before the war.
Ann Hagedorn explains how abolitionist activity flourished in a village on the Ohio River that grew to become one of the nation’s most important concentrations of abolitionist activity.
When it came to the Underground Railroad, John Rankin was its lynchpin from the 1830s through the 1860s.
Long before the American Civil War occurred, the Ohio River divided the United States into two different countries engaged in a cold war over the subject of slavery on either side of the river.
On the crest of a high hill behind the town, on the site of Rankin’s house, which still exists, stood a beacon of liberty.
The result of this abrogation of freedoms in the name of advancing slavery was an increase in the number of people who joined the Underground Railroad.
“The arrival of new recruits lifted the morale of those who had been working in the underground organization for many years.” Slavery in the United States of AmericaRecommended Videos
Myths About the Underground Railroad
When it comes to teaching African-American Studies today, one of the great delights is the satisfaction that comes from being able to restore to the historical record “lost” events and the persons whose sacrifices and bravery enabled those events to take place, never to be lost again. Among our ancestors’ long and dreadful history of human bondage is the Underground Railroad, which has garnered more recent attention from teachers, students, museum curators, and the tourism industry than any other institution from the black past.
- Nevertheless, in the effort to convey the narrative of this magnificent institution, fiction and lore have occasionally taken precedence over historical truth.
- The sacrifices and valor of our forefathers and foremothers, as well as their allies, are made all the more noble, heroic, and striking as a result.
- I think this is a common misconception among students.
- As described by Wilbur H.
Running slaves, frequently in groups of up to several families, were said to have been directed at night on their desperate journey to freedom by the traditional “Drinking Gourd,” which was the slaves’ secret name for the North Star.
The Railroad in Lore
When it comes to teaching African-American Studies today, one of the great delights is the satisfaction that comes from being able to restore to the historical record “lost” events and the persons whose sacrifices and bravery resulted in those events, which will never be lost again. In recent years, few institutions from our ancestors’ long and dreadful history in human bondage have garnered more attention than the Underground Railroad. It is one of our forefathers’ most venerable and philanthropic innovations, and it is also one of the most well-known and well-received by teachers, students, museum curators, and the tourism industry.
In order to communicate the truth about the past as it truly happened, scholars have put in a great lot of work to distinguish between fact and fiction, which has always been an important component of telling it straight.
When I hear our students talk about the Underground Railroad, I get the impression that they are under the impression that it was something akin to a black, Southern Grand Central Station, with regularly scheduled routes that hundreds of thousands of slave “passengers” used to escape from Southern plantations, aided by that irrepressible, stealthy double agent, Harriet Tubman.
Many people also believe that thousands of benign, incognito white “conductors” routinely hid slaves in secret rooms hidden in attics or basements, or behind the staircases of numerous “safe houses,” the locations of which were coded in “freedom quilts” sewn by slaves and hung in their windows as guideposts for fugitives on the run.
Siebert in his massive pioneering (and often wildly romantic) study, The Underground Railroad(1898), the “railroad” itself was composed of “a chain of stations leading from the Southern states to Canada,” or “a series of hundreds of interlocking ‘lines,’ ” that ran from Alabama or Mississippi, throughout the South, all the way across the Ohio River and Mason-Dixon Line, as the historian David Blight summarizes in Passages: The Underground Railroad, 1838-19 Escaped slaves, many of whom were entire families, were said to be guided at night on their desperate journey to freedom by the traditional “Drinking Gourd,” which was the slaves’ code name for the Northern Star.
A Meme Is Born
As Blight correctly points out, the railroad has proven to be one of the most “enduring and popular strands in the fabric of America’s national historical memory.” Since the end of the nineteenth century, many Americans, particularly in New England and the Midwest, have either made up legends about the deeds of their ancestors or simply repeated stories that they have heard about their forebears.
It’s worth taking a look at the history of the phrase “Underground Railroad” before diving into those tales, though.
Tice Davids was a Kentucky slave who managed to escape to Ohio in 1831, and it is possible that the phrase “Underground Railroad” was invented as a result of his successful escape.
According to Blight, he is believed to have said that Davids had vanished as though “the nigger must have gone off on an underground railroad.” This is a fantastic narrative — one that would be worthy of Richard Pryor — but it is improbable, given that train lines were non-existent at the time.
The fleeing slave from Washington, D.C., who was tortured and forced to testify that he had been taken north, where “the railroad extended underground all the way to Boston,” according to one report from 1839, was captured.
constructed from Mason and Dixon’s to the Canada line, upon which fugitives from slavery might come pouring into this province” is the first time the term appears.
14, 1842, in the Liberator, a date that may be supported by others who claim that abolitionist Charles T. Torrey invented the phrase in 1842, according to abolitionist Charles T. Torrey. As David Blight points out, the phrase did not become widely used until the mid-1840s, when it was first heard.
Myth Battles Counter-Myth
Historically, the appeal of romance and fantasy in stories of the Underground Railroad can be traced back to the latter decades of the nineteenth century, when the South was winning the battle of popular memory over what the Civil War was all about — burying Lost Cause mythology deep in the national psyche and eventually propelling the racist Woodrow Wilson into the White House. Many white Northerners attempted to retain a heroic version of their history in the face of a dominant Southern interpretation of the significance of the Civil War, and they found a handy weapon in the stories of the Underground Railroad to accomplish this goal.
Immediately following the fall of Reconstruction in 1876, which was frequently attributed to purportedly uneducated or corrupt black people, the story of the struggle for independence was transformed into a tale of noble, selfless white efforts on behalf of a poor and nameless “inferior” race.
Siebert questioned practically everyone who was still alive who had any recollection of the network and even flew to Canada to interview former slaves who had traced their own pathways from the South to freedom as part of his investigation.
In the words of David Blight, Siebert “crafted a popular tale of largely white conductors assisting nameless blacks on their journey to freedom.”
Truth Reveals Unheralded Heroism
That’s a little amount of history; what about those urban legends? The answers are as follows: It cannot be overstated that the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement itself were possibly the first examples in American history of a truly multiracial alliance, and the role played by the Quakers in its success cannot be overstated. Despite this, it was primarily controlled by free Northern African Americans, particularly in its early years, with the most notable exception being the famous Philadelphian William Still, who served as its president.
- The Underground Railroad was made possible by the efforts of white and black activists such as Levi Coffin, Thomas Garrett, Calvin Fairbank, Charles Torrey, Harriet Tubman and Still, all of whom were true heroes.
- Because of the adoption of the Fugitive Slave Act in 1850, the railroad’s growth did not take place until after that year.
- After all, it was against the law to help slaves in their attempts to emancipate themselves.
- Being an abolitionist or a conductor on the Underground Railroad, according to the historian Donald Yacovone, “was about as popular and hazardous as being a member of the Communist Party in 1955,” he said in an email to me.
- The Underground Railroad was predominantly a phenomena of the Northern United States.
- For the most part, fugitive slaves were left on their own until they were able to cross the Ohio River or the Mason-Dixon Line and thereby reach a Free State.
- For fugitives in the North, well-established routes and conductors existed, as did some informal networks that could transport fugitives from places such as the abolitionists’ office or houses in Philadelphia to other locations north and west.
(where slavery remained legal until 1862), as well as in a few locations throughout the Upper South, some organized support was available.
I’m afraid there aren’t many.
Furthermore, few dwellings in the North were equipped with secret corridors or hidden rooms where slaves might be hidden.
What about freedom quilts?
The only time a slave family had the resources to sew a quilt was to shelter themselves from the cold, not to relay information about alleged passages on the Underground Railroad that they had never visited.
As we will discover in a future column, the danger of treachery about individual escapes and collective rebellions was much too large for escape plans to be publicly shared.5.
No one has a definitive answer.
According to Elizabeth Pierce, an administrator at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, the figure might be as high as 100,000, but that appears to be an overstatement.
We may put these numbers into context by noting that there were 3.9 million slaves and only 488,070 free Negroes in 1860 (with more than half of them still living in the South), whereas there were 434,495 free Negroes in 1850 (with more than half still living in the South).
The fact that only 101 fleeing slaves ever produced book-length “slave narratives” describing their servitude until the conclusion of the Civil War is also significant to keep in mind while thinking about this topic.
However, just a few of them made it to safety.
How did the fugitive get away?
John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, as summarized by Blight, “80 percent of these fugitives were young guys in their teens and twenties who absconded alone on the majority of occasions.
Because of their household and child-rearing duties, young slave women were significantly less likely to flee than older slave women.
Lyford in 1896 reported that he could not recall “any fugitives ever being transported by anyone, they always had to pilot their own canoe with the little help that they received,” suggesting that “the greatest number of fugitives were self-emancipating individuals who, upon reaching a point in their lives when they could no longer tolerate their captive status, finally just took off for what had been a long and difficult journey.” 7.
What is “Steal Away”?
They used them to communicate secretly with one another in double-voiced discussions that neither the master nor the overseer could comprehend.
However, for reasons of safety, privacy, security, and protection, the vast majority of slaves who escaped did so alone and covertly, rather than risking their own safety by notifying a large number of individuals outside of their families about their plans, for fear of betraying their masters’ trust.
Just consider the following for a moment: If fleeing slavery had been thus planned and maintained on a systematic basis, slavery would most likely have been abolished long before the American Civil War, don’t you think?
According to Blight, “Much of what we call the Underground Railroad was actually operated clandestinely by African Americans themselves through urban vigilance committees and rescue squads that were often led by free blacks.” The “Underground Railroad” was a marvelously improvised, metaphorical construct run by courageous heroes, the vast majority of whom were black.
Gara’s study revealed that “running away was a terrible and risky idea for slaves,” according to Blight, and that the total numbers of slaves who risked their lives, or even those who succeeded in escaping, were “not huge.” There were thousands of heroic slaves who were helped by the organization, each of whom should be remembered as heroes of African-American history, but there were not nearly as many as we often believe, and certainly not nearly enough.
Approximately fifty-five of the 100 Amazing Facts will be published on the website African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. On The Root, you may find all 100 facts.
Heroes of the Underground Railroad
But enough about history; what about those urban legends? Answers to the questions are as follows: It cannot be overstated that the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement as a whole were possibly the first examples in American history of a genuinely multiracial alliance, with the Quakers playing a critical part in its success. Although it was mostly controlled by free Northern African Americans, particularly in its early years, it was also dominated by Philadelphians, most notably the famous William Still.
- Some of the Underground Railroad’s most heroic figures were both white and black campaigners.
- As reported by James Horton, William Still himself was responsible for the rescue of 649 fugitives who sought refuge in Philadelphia, including 16 who came on a single day (June 1, 1855), according to Blight.
- People were involved in its activities, but only a small number of them, relative to the number of people in the world.
- It is possible to be charged with “constructive treason” if you violate the 1850 Act of Congress.
- Because of this, it concentrated its operations mostly in the Free States.
- Because of these circumstances, the Underground Railroad could be put into operation.
Additionally, in Washington, D.C.
In addition, some slaves were aided in their attempts to flee from Southern seaports, albeit only a small number of people.
You know, those secret passageways or rooms in attics, garrets, cellars, or basements.
Tunnels were rarely used by escaped slaves, who preferred to sneak out of towns at night than than via them, which would have been a massive task and extremely expensive project.
Simply put, this is one of the strangest urban legends to have been perpetuated in the whole history of African-American culture and civilization.
The truth is that messages of many kinds were sent out at black church gatherings and prayer sessions from time to time, but none of them had information concerning Harriet Tubman’s arrival date and time.
How many slaves actually managed to escape to a new life in the North, in Canada, Florida, or Mexico?
No one is certain of anything.
It is estimated that as many as 100,000 people worked at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, according to Elizabeth Pierce, a center spokeswoman, but that sounds a bit optimistic to me given the current state of the economy.
In light of the fact that these data would include those fugitives who had successfully crossed into Canada via the Underground Railroad as well as natural growth, we can see how modest the numbers of runaway slaves who successfully crossed into Canada in this decade, for example, were.
According to John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger’s groundbreaking book, Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation, more than 50,000 slaves fled not to the North, but “inside the South,” as Blight explains, “annually throughout the late antebellum period,” according to Franklin and Schweninger.
Families as a group?
Because of their family and child-rearing duties, young slave women were significantly less inclined to flee away.
Lyford, in 1896 reported that he could not recall “any fugitives ever being transported by anyone, they always had to pilot their own canoe, with the little help that they received,” suggesting that “the greatest number of fugitives were self-emancipating individuals who, upon reaching a point in their lives when they could no longer tolerate their captive status, finally just took off for what had become “Steal Away” is the seventh question.
Inventing coded languages to communicate clandestinely with one another, in double-voiced discourses that the master and overseer couldn’t comprehend, was a brilliant trait of African Americans during the slave trade era.
They did not put themselves or their families at danger by alerting a large number of individuals outside of their families about their plans, out of fear of being betrayed.
Let’s consider the following for a moment: If fleeing slavery had been this planned and maintained on a systematic basis, slavery would most likely have been abolished long before the American Civil War, don’t you believe?
According to Blight, “Much of what we call the Underground Railroad was actually operated clandestinely by African Americans themselves through urban vigilance committees and rescue squads that were often led by free blacks.” The “Underground Railroad” was a marvelously improvised, metaphorical construct run by courageous heroes, the majority of whom were African Americans.
Gara’s study revealed that “running away was a terrifying and risky idea for slaves,” according to Blight, and that the aggregate numbers of slaves who risked their lives, or even those who succeeded in escaping, was “not enormous.” There were thousands of heroic slaves who were helped by the organization, each of whom should be remembered as heroes of African-American history, but there were nothing like as many as we often believe, and certainly not nearly enough.
Approximately fifty-five of the 100 Amazing Facts will be made available on the African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross website. On The Root, you may read all 100 facts.
9 Unsung Heroes of the Underground Railroad
That’s a piece of history; what about those urban legends? Here are the solutions: 1. The Underground Railroad and the abolitionist campaign itself were possibly the first instances in American history of a genuinely multiracial alliance, and the significance of the Quakers in its success cannot be overstated. It was, however, mostly controlled by free Northern African Americans, particularly in its early years, with the most notable exception being the famous Philadelphian William Still. He was aided in his efforts by white abolitionists, many of whom were Quakers.
- According to James Horton, William Still personally recorded the rescue of 649 fugitives who sought refuge in Philadelphia, including 16 who arrived on a single day, June 1, 1855, according to Blight.
- However, there was just a small number of persons that participated in its activities, as compared to other organizations.
- Violations of the 1850 Act might result in accusations of “constructive treason,” according to the law.
- The Underground Railroad was predominantly aNorthern phenomenon, according to historians.
- Before crossing the Ohio River or the Mason-Dixon Line and entering a Free State, fugitive slaves were mostly on their own.
- There were well-established routes and conductors in the North, as well as some informal networks that might transport a runaway from, example, the abolitionists’ office or houses in Philadelphia to other areas north and west.
- In addition, some slaves were aided in escape from Southern seaports, albeit only a small number of them.
You know, those secret passageways or apartments in attics, garrets, cellars, or basements?
The majority of fugitive slaves escaped from towns under the cover of night, rather than through tunnels, which would have been enormous enterprises and extremely expensive to construct.
Simply put, this is one of the strangest urban legends to have been perpetuated in the entirety of African-American history.
However, on rare occasions, communications of all kinds were sent at black church gatherings and prayer sessions, but none of them had information regarding the day and time that Harriet Tubman would be arriving in town.
How many slaves actually fled to a new life in the North, in Canada, Florida, or Mexico?
Some researchers believe that a range between 25,000 and 40,000 is the most reasonable estimate, while others believe that 50,000 is the highest possible amount.
We may put these numbers into context by noting that there were 3.9 million slaves and only 488,070 free Negroes in 1860 (with more than half of them still residing in the South), but there were 434,495 free Negroes in 1850 (and 3.9 million slaves in 1860).
Remember that only 101 fleeing slaves ever produced book-length “slave narratives” concerning their servitude before the conclusion of the Civil War, and that most of them were executed.
What about entire families?
In fact, 95% of those who escaped did it alone.
Families with children attempted to flee to freedom in large numbers, but such cases were unusual.” Furthermore, according to scholar John Michael Vlach, one abolitionist, W.H.
When it came to establishing coded languages, African Americans were geniuses.
Moreover, theGrapevinewas a genuine creation, with John Adams himself commenting on it as early as 1775.
As much as I wish it had been otherwise, the escape and rescue of fugitive slaves did not take place in the manner portrayed by the most popular tales about the Underground Railroad.
It should come as no surprise that only a small number of slaves were able to escape slavery.
Gara’s study revealed that “running away was a terrible and risky idea for slaves,” according to Blight, and that the total numbers of slaves who risked their lives, or even those who succeeded in attaining freedom, were “not substantial.” There were hundreds of heroic slaves who were helped by the organization, each of whom should be remembered as heroes of African-American history, but there were not nearly as many as we generally assume, and certainly not nearly enough.
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross website will host fifty of the 100 Amazing Facts. Read the entire list of 100 Facts on The Root.
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 William Still was born in 1821 to previously enslaved parents in New Jersey, he was 23 years old and had already taken up the abolitionist banner in more ways than one. Abolitionists in Pennsylvania praised him for his ability to learn to read and write, and he worked his way through the ranks of the organization until he was appointed head of the society’s new Vigilance Committee in the early 1850s. After being appointed to his current post, Still was in charge of the region’s network of safe houses, which included his own residence.
During his reign, Still is reported to have transported over 800 individuals to freedom, one of them was his brother Peter.
The accounts of more than 600 escapees were chronicled by Still, who collected them all in a landmark volume called The Underground Railroad in 1872, making him the first and only Black person to write and self-publish a firsthand account of activity on the Underground Railroad.
“The race must not forget the rock from which they were hewn, nor the hole from which they were dug,” he said in the preface to the book. In the same way as other races do, this newly freed people will require all of the information they can gather about their former state.
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
At the age of 17, David Ruggles relocated to New York City, where he founded a grocery store that employed freed African Americans. Ruggles was born free in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1810. Ruggles soon expanded his business to include lending and selling abolitionist books, pamphlets, and newspapers, making him the first Black bookshop proprietor in the United States. To aid those fleeing slavery in New York City, Ruggles and other local abolitionists formed the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835.
- On top of that, he hid a large number of fugitives in his own home on Lispenard Street, where he provided legal assistance to Black Americans who had been sought by bounty hunters.
- The humanitarian hand of Mr.
- “I shall never forget Mr.
- Ruggles gave the newlyweds $5 shortly after the wedding and arranged for them to go to New Bedford, Massachusetts, aboard a steamer.
- Ruggles died in 1939.
- The Northampton Association of Education and Industry, located in Florence, Massachusetts, was an independent community that advocated for equal rights for everyone.
Ruggles was able to restore some of his strength by hydrotherapy while he was there, and he went on to start his own hydrotherapy facility, where Douglass would frequently pay him a visit. The author of Douglass’ obituary, after he passed away at the age of 39, was a close friend.
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.
Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad
While working relentlessly to escort fugitives through his home state of Delaware and into Philadelphia, where he lived with his wife and children during the 1840s, Samuel D. Burris was killed. However, even though Burris was a free man, if he was found assisting fugitives in Delaware he might be imprisoned and sold into slavery, which he was in 1847. A lady called Maria Matthews was arrested by authorities after Burris attempted to sneak her onboard a vessel. Because his bond was set at $5000 (equivalent to more than $157,000 today), he was compelled to spend months in jail while he awaited his court appearance.
As a result of the trial, Burris was found guilty and sentenced to an additional ten months in jail on November 2, 1847.
A group of Philadelphia abolitionists raised $500 during Burris’ 10-month prison sentence and dispatched a Quaker named Isaac Flint to masquerade as a trader and acquire Burris at an auction while he 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 liberty had been taken away.” ‘The joyous news was whispered in Burris’ ear that everything was well; 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 irate Delawareans petitioned the government to punish him even more severely when he was released.
Burris’ operations in Delaware came to a halt after officials passed legislation that prescribed public flogging as a penalty for anyone caught a second time.
Instead, he relocated to San Francisco, where he obtained funds to assist newly liberated persons in establishing themselves in their newfound freedom,
- 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
The Underground Railroad – Lincoln Home National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)
When we talk about the Underground Railroad, we’re talking about the attempts of enslaved African Americans to earn their freedom by escaping bondage, which took place from the beginning of the Civil War to the end of the war. In every country where slavery existed, there was a concerted attempt to flee, first to maroon communities in remote locations far from settlements, then across state and international borders. Runaways were considered “fugitives” under the rules of the period because of their acts of self-emancipation, albeit in retrospect, the term “freedom seeker” appears to be a more fair description.
It’s possible that the choice to aid a freedom seeking was taken on the spur of the moment.
Freedom seekers traveled in a variety of directions, including Canada, Mexico, the United States West, the Caribbean islands, and Europe.
The Fugitive Slave Acts
Until the end of the Civil War, enslavement in the United States was considered lawful and acceptable. In contrast to the rhetoric of the Revolutionary War era about freedom, the new United States constitution safeguarded the rights of individuals to possess and enslave other people, including women. The Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 further reinforced these slaveholding rights, allowing for the return to captivity of any African American who was accused or simply suspected of being a freedom seeker under certain circumstances.
It was a $500 punishment for anybody who supported a liberator or just interfered with an arrest, a clear recognition of the significance and lasting influence on American society of the Underground Railroad phenomenon decades before it was given its official name.
Individuals in the North were brought face to face with the immoral issue by the spectacle of African Americans being reenslaved at the least provocation and the selling of abducted free African Americans to the South for slavery.
Those who aided freedom seekers in their attempts to flee were considered members of the Underground Railroad. “Buy us too,” says H.L. Stephens in his parting words. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information.
Motivation of Freedom Seekers
Time period, geographic location, kind of agriculture or industry, size of the slaveholding unit, urban vs rural environment, and even the temperament and financial stability of the enslaver all influenced the degree to which people were enslaved. All of these experiences have one thing in common: the dehumanization of both the victim and the oppressor as a result of the demands of a system that treats human beings as property rather than as individuals. This element, probably more than any other, helps to explain why some people opted to escape and why their owners were frequently taken aback by their actions.
Many people were able to flee because they had access to knowledge and abilities, including reading, which gave them an advantage.
The slaves rebelled despite the fact that the slavery system was intended to train them to accept it.
Geography of the Underground Railroad
Wherever there were enslaved African Americans, there were those who were desperate to get away. Slavery existed in all of the original thirteen colonies, as well as in Spanish California, Louisiana, and Florida, as well as in all of the Caribbean islands, until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the British abolition of slavery brought an end to slavery in the United States (1834). The Underground Railroad had its beginnings at the site of enslavement in the United States. The routes followed natural and man-made forms of movement, including rivers, canals, bays, the Atlantic Coast, ferries and river crossings, as well as roads and trails and other infrastructure.
Freedom seekers used their inventiveness to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and brains in the process.
Commemoration of Underground Railroad History
The desire to emigrate could be found everywhere there were enslaved African-Americans. Slavery existed in all of the original thirteen colonies, as well as in Spanish California, Louisiana, and Florida, as well as on all of the Caribbean islands, until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the British abolition of slavery brought an end to slavery in the British Empire (1834). At the point of servitude, the Underground Railroad got its beginnings. The routes followed natural and man-made forms of transit, including rivers, canals, bays, the Atlantic Coast, ferries and river crossings, as well as roads and paths in the forest.
Disguises, forgeries, and other techniques were devised by freedom seekers with the help of their ingenuity, daring, and intellect.
Running away slaves were tracked down and apprehended using the lure of announced incentives to entice the populace to assist in the capture and enslavement of runaway slaves on predicted routes of escape.
Uncovering Underground Railroad History
The desire to emigrate might be found everywhere there were enslaved African Americans. Slavery existed in all of the original thirteen colonies, as well as in Spanish California, Louisiana, and Florida, and on all of the Caribbean islands, until the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and the British abolition of slavery brought an end to slavery in the United States (1834). At the site of enslavement, the Underground Railroad had its start. The routes followed natural and man-made forms of movement, including rivers, canals, bays, the Atlantic Coast, ferries and river crossings, highways, and footpaths.
Freedom seekers used their ingenuity to devise disguises, forgeries, and other techniques, drawing on their courage and intelligence to do so.
Unknown Underground Railroad Heroes
Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, known as the “Moses of her people,” and Frederick Douglass, a freedom seeker who rose to become the greatest African American leader of his time, are two of the most well-known figures linked with the Underground Railroad. Both were from the state of Maryland. Those seeking freedom, on the other hand, came from every part of the world where slavery was legalized, even the northern colonies. Harriet Jacobs arrived from North Carolina, where she had spent the previous seven years hidden in her grandmother’s attic.
Louis and journeyed 700 miles until she reached Canada, where she sought sanctuary.
Lewis Hayden, his wife, and their kid were able to flee from slavery in Kentucky to freedom in Ohio thanks to the assistance of Delia Webster and Calvin Fairbanks.
Mary Ellen Pleasant, a black businesswoman from San Francisco, took in a fugitive named Archy Lee and hosted him in her house, setting the stage for an important state court case.
Coffin and Rankin are two white clergymen from the Midwest who aided freedom seekers in their efforts to gain their independence.
Residents of Wellington and Oberlin, Ohio, both black and white, stood up to slave hunters and refused to allow them to return John Price to his servitude in the state of Kentucky.
Charles Torrey, Leonard Grimes, and Jacob Bigelow were among the members of a multiracial network in Washington, D.C., who worked for years to assist individuals like as Ann Marie Weems, the Edmondson sisters, and Garland White in their quest for freedom.
William and Ellen Craft managed to flee over one thousand miles from Georgia to Boston by putting on a convincing disguise.
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
In addition to coordinating preservation and education efforts across the country, the National Park Service Underground Railroad program integrates local historical sites, museums, and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad into a mosaic of community, regional, and national stories. The Network also seeks to foster contact and collaboration between scholars and other interested parties, as well as to help in the formation of statewide organizations dedicated to the preservation and investigation of Underground Railroad locations.