What kinds of things did Underground Railroad volunteers do? Men and women who operated Underground Railroad stations hid enslaved people in their homes, shops, churches, schools, and barns. Conductors drove enslaved people hidden in wagons or coaches to the next station.
What were underground railroad helpers called?
The free individuals who helped runaway slaves travel toward freedom were called conductors, and the fugitive slaves were referred to as cargo. The safe houses used as hiding places along the lines of the Underground Railroad were called stations.
What groups made up the Underground Railroad?
Those who most actively assisted slaves to escape by way of the “railroad” were members of the free black community (including such former slaves as Harriet Tubman), Northern abolitionists, philanthropists, and such church leaders as Quaker Thomas Garrett.
Who were the engineers in the Underground Railroad?
The people who helped enslaved people escape were called “conductors” or “engineers.” The places along the escape route were called “stations.” Sometimes those escaping were called “passengers.” Sometimes they were called “cargo” or “goods.” Conductors helped passengers get from one station to the next.
Who were the heroes of the Underground Railroad?
White and black activists such as Levi Coffin, Thomas Garrett, Calvin Fairbank, Charles Torrey, Harriet Tubman and Still were genuine heroes of the Underground Railroad.
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.
Where did the Underground Railroad originate?
The Underground Railroad was created in the early 19th century by a group of abolitionists based mainly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Within a few decades, it had grown into a well-organized and dynamic network. The term “Underground Railroad” began to be used in the 1830s.
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.
Who was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad?
Our Headlines and Heroes blog takes a look at Harriet Tubman as the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman and those she helped escape from slavery headed north to freedom, sometimes across the border to Canada.
How many slaves were saved by the Underground Railroad?
According to some estimates, between 1810 and 1850, the Underground Railroad helped to guide one hundred thousand enslaved people to freedom.
Where did the name Underground Railroad come from?
It was a name given to the way that people escaped. No one is sure where it originally got its name, but the “underground” part of the name comes from its secrecy and the “railroad” part of the name comes from the way it was used to transport people. The Underground Railroad used railroad terms in its organization.
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 Kansas part of the Underground Railroad?
Kansas gained a reputation for its active participation in the Underground Railroad and its willingness to fight for freedom.
Who was the father of the Underground Railroad?
William Still (1821-1902), known as “the Father of the Underground Railroad,” assisted nearly 1,000 freedom seekers as they fled enslavement along the eastern branch of the Underground Railroad. Inspired by his own family’s story, he kept detailed, written records about the people who passed through the PASS offices.
Were there tunnels in the Underground Railroad?
Contrary to popular belief, the Underground Railroad was not a series of underground tunnels. While some people did have secret rooms in their houses or carriages, the vast majority of the Underground Railroad involved people secretly helping people running away from slavery however they could.
Were quilts used in the Underground Railroad?
Two historians say African American slaves may have used a quilt code to navigate the Underground Railroad. Quilts with patterns named “wagon wheel,” “tumbling blocks,” and “bear’s paw” appear to have contained secret messages that helped direct slaves to freedom, the pair claim.
Operation Underground Railroad
O.U.R. volunteers cast a light on the issue of child trafficking by raising cash and increasing awareness about it. We have more than 9,000 volunteers that work tirelessly to raise awareness throughout the United States and abroad! Their work is critical in the fight against human trafficking because they have the ability to contact a large number of families and individuals in their communities. The greater the number of individuals who are aware of the indicators of human trafficking, the more children we will be able to rescue and protect.
However, even if your city does not have an Area Team, there are other opportunities for you to become involved.
Some of the activities that we have witnessed O.U.R.
- Organize bake sales, 5k runs, sports competitions (basketball, pickleball, bowling), school and community assemblies, and screening parties for the Operation Toussaint documentary.
.and much more! The possibilities are virtually limitless. We are tremendously appreciative for everything that our volunteers do to help us further our mission. Volunteers make a crucial contribution to our efforts to combat human trafficking. Sign up by clicking here, and check the FAQs section below for further information. Fundraiser for the Strikes Against Slavery Organize a bake sale as a fundraiser. In Colorado, there is an awareness run to help O.U.R. FAQs What is the process for becoming a member of the “Aftercare Team”?
- People who want to become more involved with aftercare should begin by volunteering in their community and getting to know our team for at least a year before becoming more connected with it in this way.
- click Join the Fight and then click Volunteer to get started.
- Many people come to O.U.R.
- Individuals seeking to serve in this capacity are not currently being accepted; however, if you would want to be considered in the future, please complete the form and send it to [email protected] with your resume attached.
- in a variety of additional ways.
- A list of Area Teams may be found at the bottom of the sign-up form, where volunteers can join up.
- New teams are being formed on a regular basis, and there are still several opportunities for you to become part.
to speak at our event?
What steps should I take to launch a fundraising in my community?
If you have not yet registered, please click here to access the registration form!
What if I reside outside of the United States and want to volunteer?
Those who live outside of the United States of America should put their mailing address and phone number here:.
However, you may be required to give your home address in the United States if you choose to volunteer. It is OK to enter a random address in the necessary United States space if this is the case.
What can YOU Do?
MAKE A DONATION TODAY Make others aware of the situation. DISSEMBLE THIS ARTICLE. Learn more about our new Love in Action Street Outreach Team by visiting this page.
Volunteer – National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The success of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is dependent on the contributions of volunteers. It is entirely dependent on volunteers to provide group tours, explain exhibitions, run the FamilySearch Center, and do a variety of other tasks. Opportunities and training may be modified to meet the needs of individuals with a wide range of interests and schedules.
- Interact with and get inspired by guests from all around the world
- Educate people about the history of the Underground Railroad. Check out the latest exhibitions and attend volunteer appreciation activities
- . Free public programs are available to everyone. Work with a team that is pleasant, fun, and varied
- Attend the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Cincinnati Museum Center for a reduced rate.
“I enjoy greeting and touring people, both young and elderly. I like to tell them about the battle for independence that has lasted hundreds of years and that they may learn from. “In addition, being able to tell them about courageous individuals who have contributed to the battle and to inform them that the fight for freedom continues today keeps me motivated to continue to support the cause.”
We would like to welcome you to join us as a volunteer and modern-day liberty conductor. Your abilities and talents will assist us in creating rewarding and meaningful experiences for our guests.
Do you enjoy learning about the Underground Railroad’s history? Are you motivated to demonstrate its relevance in today’s world? As an Exhibit Interpreter, you may contribute to the creation of exceptional visitor experiences for visitors by engaging in discourse with them, facilitating interactive activities, and facilitating collaborative learning. Our training curriculum is adaptable and may be tailored to meet your specific needs. Aid in the organization of K-12 and adult tours as well as exhibit interpretation for special events.
Do you enjoy learning about the Underground Railroad’s history and its characters? Do you feel compelled to demonstrate its relevance in today’s world? As an Exhibit Interpreter, you may contribute to the creation of exceptional visitor experiences for visitors by engaging in discourse with them, facilitating interactive activities, and encouraging collaborative learning. In order to meet your schedule, our training curriculum is flexible. Aid in the organization of K-12 and adult tours as well as exhibit explanation during special events.
Welcomers play an important role in creating a positive first impression on our guests by making them feel welcomed and valued. We are interested in learning where our guests are from, why they are here, and what brought them to us. The perfect volunteer opportunity for you if you have a friendly and outgoing nature and enjoy conversing with individuals from all over the world. Special events volunteers, in addition to serving as greeters, have the chance to work during certain activities. If you work full-time or have a demanding schedule, this may be an excellent option for you.
You can assist guests with registration, answer questions, monitor the floor, manage a volunteer station, and a variety of other tasks. Because Freedom Center personnel will assist you with your obligations, you will not require any formal training.
Do you have a passion for history and family genealogy? Would you like to learn more and assist others in tracking their family history? The FamilySearch Center at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which is wholly owned and maintained by volunteers, offers free genealogical assistance to the general public and is completely staffed by volunteers. People who volunteer at the FamilySearch Center have a strong interest in genealogy, are comfortable using a computer, and are able to communicate well with others.
Opportunities are available Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.
More information may be found here.
To apply, please complete the Volunteer Application form below, and a member of our staff will be in touch with you shortly.
Underground Railroad in Iowa
Initially funded by the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom program in 2002, the Iowa Network to Freedom project, which investigated persons and locations involved with the Underground Railroad in Iowa, became the Iowa Freedom Trail Project in 2003. After a five-year period of grant funding, volunteers have continued to collect information from historical resources and compile it into a form containing general information, such as biographical data, resource references, associated properties, and researcher information, among other things, to be used by the public.
- Individuals (by name)
- Individuals (by county)
- Places (by county)
- Research Files (by county)
- Inventory of Individuals (by name)
- Inventory of Places (by county)
- Inventory of Research Files
If you have any concerns concerning the Iowa Freedom Trail Project, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Researching Underground Railroad Activity
Since 2002, volunteers at the State Historical Society of Iowa have been doing research into the Underground Railroad’s presence in the state. The research and biographical form instructions can be found here. If you are interested in researching Underground Railroad activity in Iowa and have access to historical documents and primary sources, please review the instructions for submitting a research and biographical form to learn how you can contribute to the project.
- Instructions for the Research and Biographical Form
- Biographical Form
- Sample Biographical Form
- Biographical Form
Iowa and the Underground Railroad
Beginning in the late 1700s and continuing until the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the Underground Railroad was a network of people who assisted runaway slaves in their attempts to escape slavery. It included both northern and southern states, spanning from Texas all the way up to Maine. The vast majority of runaway slaves fled to Canada from the Deep South, although a minor number journeyed further south to Mexico and the Caribbean. Due to the fact that slaves were considered property in the United States at the time, helping runaway slaves was deemed larceny under American law at the time.
- Prior to the American Revolution, slavery was lawful across the British Empire, including the United States.
- These principles would transform the lives of black people, and many of them fought in the American Revolution in the hope that these rights would be given to them as well.
- Vermont became the first state in the new United States of America to pass anti-slavery legislation after the British were defeated in the Revolutionary War in 1777.
- Apart from that, there were no laws in the newly created United States that forced civilians to return fugitive slaves to their owners.
- The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution both stated similar views on the subject at the time.
- Taking it a step further, the Fleeing Slave Act of 1850 declared aiding and abetting fugitive slaves a federal felony punishable by penalties or jail.
- As the Underground Railroad network began to take shape, people began to fill a number of positions inside it.
Fugitive slaves were often referred to as passengers, cargo, fleece, or freight when they were on the run.
Others choose to play a more passive role.
The modes of transportation used varied from one region to the next, and were mostly determined by concealment and closeness to slave hunters.
In contrast to this, the majority of fleeing slaves travelled at night, particularly in towns with ambivalent sentiments regarding slavery.
In the middle of the night, conductors would walk or ride horses to the next station to transport them.
Because of its physical proximity between Missouri, a slave state to the south, and Illinois, a free state to the east, Iowa saw a substantial amount of Underground Railroad activity during this period.
That meant that when Iowa became a state in the Union in 1846, it would be a free state.
Most fugitive slaves crossed through Iowa on their route to other free states farther north or to Canada, where Britain would protect them from being arrested and returned to slavery.
Southeastern Iowa was also home to a large number of fugitive slaves from northern Missouri who were making their way to the Mississippi River and Illinois.
Numerous Iowans also became involved in the growing political opposition to the expansion of slavery into the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, which culminated in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which repealed the Missouri Compromise and granted Kansas and Nebraska the authority to determine their own slave-holding status.
You may get further information about the history of the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movements in Iowa and other states by clicking here. Take a look at the resources listed below.
- The John Brown Freedom Trail (1859)
- Abolitionist Movement Primary Sources
- Underground Railroad Primary Sources
- Underground Railroad Sites in the Iowa Culture mobile app
After the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman Led a Brazen Civil War Raid
They dubbed her “Moses” because she was responsible for bringing enslaved individuals from the South to freedom in the North. The Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, on the other hand, battled against the system of slavery far beyond her function as a conductor for the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, while serving as a soldier and spy for the Union Army, Harriet Tubman made history by being the first woman to command an armed military action in the United States, known as the Combahee Ferry Raid.
Tubman had traveled to Hilton Head, South Carolina, at the request of Massachusetts Governor John Andrew, leaving her family behind in Auburn, New York, and having established herself as a prominent abolitionist in Boston circles.
Tubman Becomes Military Leader
The Union troops used Harriet Tubman as a spy and militia commander during the Civil War, and she was awarded the Medal of Honor. Photograph courtesy of the Hulton Archive/Getty Images She worked as a laundress, opened a wash house, and worked as a nurse for many months before being ordered to join an espionage organization. As the leader of the Underground Railroad, Tubman had proved herself to be a great asset in terms of acquiring covert information, recruiting allies, and evading capture.
According to Brandi Brimmer, a history professor at Spelman College and expert on slavery, “her first and main priority would be to combat and eliminate the system of slavery and, in doing so, to definitively defeat the Confederacy.” Tubman collaborated with Colonel James Montgomery, an abolitionist who led the Second South Carolina Volunteers, a regiment comprised primarily of African-American soldiers.
Together, they devised a plan for a raid along the Combahee River, with the goal of rescuing enslaved people, recruiting freed soldiers into the Union Army, and destroying some of the richest rice fields in the surrounding area.
According to Kate Clifford Larson, historian and author of Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero, “She was daring and courageous.” “She had a keen sense of what was going on.
Overnight Raids Launch From the River
Two more gunboats,the Sentinel and the Harriet A. Weed, were guided out of St. Helena Sound and into the Combahee River by Tubman and Montgomery, who were on board the government cruiser theJohn Adams on the night of June 1, 1863. The Sentinel became aground while on its way to the destination, forcing men from that ship to transfer to the other two boats. Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom, written by Catherine Clinton, describes how Tubman, who was illiterate, could not record any of the information she acquired since she couldn’t write.
- It was necessary for them to transport gunboats up the river, according to Clinton.
- A few hours later, the John Adams and the Harriet A.
- Tubman commanded a force of 150 soldiers on the John Adams in pursuit of the fugitives.
- Rebels attempted to track down the slaves by shooting their weapons at them.
- As the fugitives made their way to the coast, Black troops in rowboats ferried them to the ships, but the operation was marred by confusion.
- More than 700 people managed to escape enslavement and board the gunboats.
Confederate forces also disembarked near Field’s Point, where they set ablaze plantation after plantation as well as fields and mills, warehouses, and mansions, resulting in a humiliating setback for the Confederacy that included the destruction of a pontoon bridge by gunboats.
Tubman Was Recognized a Hero (But Not Paid)
In the July 4, 1863 edition of Harper’s Weekly, there is an illustration showing slaves fleeing to a Union ship on the Combahee River while houses burn in the background. The Library of Congress is a federal government institution that collects and organizes information. The ships stopped in Beaufort, South Carolina, where a reporter from the Wisconsin State Journaloverheard what had transpired on the Combahee River and reported it to the authorities. He composed a narrative about the “She-Moses” without putting his name on it, but he never used Tubman’s name.
Although she remained anonymous until July 1863, Harriet Tubman’s fame soared when Franklin Sanborn, editor of Boston’sCommonwealthnewspaper, took up the story and revealed that she was an acquaintance of his called Harriet Tubman as the protagonist.
She died as a result of her efforts on the mission.
“She was turned down because she was a woman,” Larson explains.
“However, there isn’t a clear vision for the job of women who serve in the military with weapons, particularly Black women.” When it came time for Tubman to get a pension, it would be as the widow of a Black Union soldier who she married after the war, not as a reward for her valiant service as a soldier during the war.
Volunteers clean up alley with ties to Underground Railroad
AUGUSTA, Ga. — FREDERICKSBURG, Va. A group of volunteers organized by Leaders for Peace, one of several groups that have been protesting police brutality in downtown Fredericksburg, spent an afternoon clearing dead vegetation and garbage from an alley in downtown Fredericksburg that has ties to the Underground Railroad. Leaders for Peace is one of several organizations that have been protesting police brutality in downtown Fredericksburg. The alley, which is located at the intersection of Canal and Caroline streets at the northern end of the city’s Historic District, runs down to the Rappahannock River and back up to Canal Street.
- Later, as life for slaves and free Blacks in the Southern United States grew increasingly tough, George DeBaptiste, who was born in Fredericksburg, relocated to the northern United States.
- In the American Civil War, another DeBaptiste from Fredericksburg, Richard, served in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Unit, which was the Union Army’s second African American regiment during the war.
- In recent years, the lane leading to the site, which is owned by the City of Fredericksburg, has gotten overgrown and many people are ignorant of the site’s rich historical significance.
- One of the protestors’ demands has been for the city to do more to share the stories of its Black citizens, which has been granted.
- The lane was cleared of garbage and dead vegetation and the live bamboo trees that were blocking the entrance to the alley by around 50 volunteers, including youngsters, who worked for four hours last week, according to Coates.
- He stated that the group’s next step is to collaborate with the city to establish the most effective way to explain the site’s history.
- Aside from the DeBaptiste family, local attorney Blanton Massey, who owns the property at 1517 Caroline St.
As Massey noted in a 47-page leaflet containing information about the family, “(learning about their past) can inspire a reflection on how un-indentured whites and free black colonists mingled freely throughout the early days of the United States.” “How liberated blacks may have included themselves as entitled to liberty and justice for everyone, as enshrined in Thomas Jefferson’s brilliant words included in the Declaration of Independence,” writes the author.
- John DeBaptiste, the family patriarch, moved to Fredericksburg from St.
- He was the owner of French John’s Wharf and the boat operator.
- A number of members of the DeBaptiste family were free Blacks who acquired slaves and subsequently liberated them, or who used the money they earned to purchase their own freedom.
- His grandson, George DeBaptiste, relocated to Indiana and rose to prominence as a leader of the Underground Railroad movement.
- He is notably displayed on the city’s Gateway to Freedom memorial, where he is pictured leading the way for seven slaves to cross the Detroit River to Canada.
- Leaders for Peace, according to Coates, would want to see a memorial dedicated to the DeBaptistes built in the Fredericksburg alley, and Massey told The Free Lance–Star that he would like to see the area transformed into a pocket park as well.
If you have any questions about copyright, you should contact the company that distributes this article, The Free Lance-Star.
Legacy of Slavery in Maryland: Overview
In the fall of 2001, the Maryland State Archives began conducting coordinated research on individuals who were fighting against enslavement. Volunteers began working on the project utilizing original records as a starting point. A case for an Aaron Saulsbury, charged with aiding and abetting the escape of a slave,’ was discovered by volunteer Jerry Hynson in November of 1834 from the BALTIMORE COUNTY COURT, Criminal Docket, MSA C 314, MdHR 8451, 2-15-7-34, and was the first occurrence to be discovered by Jerry Hynson.
- The original goal for the initiative was to uncover previously undiscovered “heroes” of slave escape and resistance to enslavement.
- In addition to the well-known Underground Railroad icons Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, both of whom were born in Maryland, there is also evidence that thousands of unnamed others who have remained as hidden as the underground railroad effort which demanded their secrecy.
- It was during this initial phase that two substantial lists of legislation especially relating to both free and enslaved Blacks were published, marking an important milestone in the project’s development.
- A number of case studies were also examined and made available through the Archives Historical and Biographical Series, which is now online.
- The stories of Myers and Matthews have been integrated into the Pathways to Freedom underground railroad instructional website, which is maintained by Maryland Public Television.
New Research Associate for the Commission to Coordinate the Study, Commemoration, and Impact of Slavery’s History and Legacy in Maryland and New Grant
David Taft Terry was employed as a Research Associate for the Commission to Coordinate the Study, Commemoration, and Impact of Slavery’s History and Legacy in Maryland in the fall of 2001. He has worked for the commission since then. Jenny Masur, Regional Coordinator for the Mid-Eastern Region of the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Program, also advised the Archives about a funding opportunity through the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom Program in 2001. Terry developed a plan after consulting with Haley, Research and Student Outreach Director Emily Oland Squires, and State Archivist Edward C.
The proposal significantly increased the scope of the Archives’ Underground Railroad investigation, which was previously limited.
Primary study included removing free and enslaved blacks from United States Federal Census records between 1830 and 1860, as well as runaway advertisements from specific newspapers published in Maryland between 1830 and 1860.
When combined with financial donations from partner schools Goucher College, Morgan University, and Maryland Public Television, this award covered the bulk of the wages of a full contingent of 7 interns for the summer of 2002.
US Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Grant for the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland
Having been revised to widen its scope even more, the Archives made an application for a grant from the United States Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education in 2002, and was given a sum of around $250,000. After resubmitting their application the following year, the Archives was awarded three further years of funding totaling little more than $500,000. Additionally, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum made in-kind donations to underground railroad-related research, which lasted into 2006.
Following that, funding from the cities of Bowie and Annapolis were given, and in 2010, a multi-year grant proposal to the United States Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program was approved.
To further widen its scope, the Archives made an application for a grant to the United States Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education in 2002, and were given a grant in the amount of around $250,000. When the Archives re-applied the following year, they were awarded three further years of funding totaling little more than $500,000. In addition to Goucher, Morgan, and Maryland Public Television, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum made in-kind donations to underground railroad-related research that was carried out during 2006 by the museum.
The development of Beneath the Underground Railroad: The Flight to Freedom has so far engaged more than 60 professionals and volunteers, as well as permanent and intern employees.
Facts, information and articles about the Underground Railroad
Aproximate year of birth: 1780
1780 is a rough estimate.
Estimates range between 6,000 and 10,000.
From 6,000 to 8,000 people are expected to attend
The Story of How Canada Became the Final Station on the Underground Railroad Harriet Tubman’s Legacy as a Freedom Fighter and a Spion is well documented.
The Beginnings Of the Underground Railroad
Even before the nineteenth century, it appears that a mechanism to assist runaways existed. In 1786, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with the assistance provided to one of his escaped slaves by “a organization of Quakers, founded for such purposes.” The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are more officially known, were among the first abolitionist organizations to emerge. Their influence may have played a role in Pennsylvania becoming the first state to abolish slavery, which was home to a large number of Quakers.
In recognition of his contributions, Levi is often referred to as the “president of the Underground Railroad.” In Fountain City, Ohio, on Ohio’s western border, the eight-room Indiana home they bought and used as a “station” before they came to Cincinnati has been preserved and is now a National Historic Landmark.
“Eliza” was one of the slaves who hid within it, and her narrative served as the inspiration for the character of the same name in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The Underground Railroad Gets Its Name
Runaway assistance appears to have occurred well before the nineteenth century. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington expressed dissatisfaction with the assistance provided to one of his fugitive slaves by “a organization of Quakers, created specifically for this reason.” The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers as they are more officially known, were among the first abolitionist organizations to emerge in the nineteenth century. It is possible that their influence had a role in Pennsylvania becoming the first state to abolish slavery, given it was home to many Quakers at the time.
Due to his role in the Underground Railroad, Levi is sometimes referred to as its president.
“Eliza” was one of the slaves who hid within it, and her narrative served as the inspiration for the character of the same name in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s abolitionist novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (published in 1852).
Conductors On The Railroad
A “conductor,” who pretended to be a slave, would sometimes accompany fugitives to a plantation in order to lead them on their journey. Harriet Tubman, a former slave who traveled to slave states 19 times and liberated more than 300 people, is one of the most well-known “conductors.” She used her shotgun to threaten death to any captives who lost heart and sought to return to slavery. The Underground Railroad’s operators faced their own set of risks as well. If someone living in the North was convicted of assisting fugitives in their escape, he or she could face fines of hundreds or even thousands of dollars, which was a significant sum at the time; however, in areas where abolitionism was strong, the “secret” railroad was openly operated, and no one was arrested.
His position as the most significant commander of the Underground Railroad in and around Albany grew as time went on.
However, in previous times of American history, the phrase “vigilance committee” generally refers to citizen organizations that took the law into their own hands, prosecuting and hanging those suspected of crimes when there was no local government or when they considered the local authority was corrupt or weak.
White males who were found assisting slaves in their escape were subjected to heavier punishments than white women, but both were likely to face at the very least incarceration.
The most severe punishments, such as hundreds of lashing with a whip, burning, or hanging, were reserved for any blacks who were discovered in the process of assisting fugitive fugitives on the loose.
The Civil War On The Horizon
Events such as the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott decision compelled more anti-slavery activists to take an active part in the effort to liberate slaves in the United States. After Abraham Lincoln was elected president, Southern states began to secede in December 1860, putting an end to the Union’s hopes of achieving independence from the United States. Abolitionist newspapers and even some loud abolitionists warned against giving the remaining Southern states an excuse to separate. Lucia Bagbe (later known as Sara Lucy Bagby Johnson) is considered to be the final slave who was returned to bondage as a result of the Fugitive Slave Law.
Her owner hunted her down and arrested her in December 1860.
Even the Cleveland Leader, a Republican weekly that was traditionally anti-slavery and pro-the Fugitive Slave Legislation, warned its readers that allowing the law to run its course “may be oil thrown upon the seas of our nation’s difficulties,” according to the newspaper.
In her honor, a Grand Jubilee was celebrated on May 6, 1863, in the city of Cleveland.
The Reverse Underground Railroad
A “reverse Underground Railroad” arose in the northern states surrounding the Ohio River during the Civil War. The black men and women of those states, whether or not they had previously been slaves, were occasionally kidnapped and concealed in homes, barns, and other structures until they could be transported to the South and sold as slaves.