The Underground Railroad was large group of people who secretly worked together to help slaves escape slavery in the south. Despite the name, the Underground Railroad had nothing to do with actual railroads and was not located underground (www.freedomcenter.org). The Underground Railroad helped move hundreds of slaves to the north each year. It’s estimated that the south lost 100,000 slaves during 1810-1850 (www.pbs.org).
The Fugitive Slave Act was a very controversial law when passed. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was a federal law that stated runaway slaves should be captured and returned to their owner. If anyone were to interfere and help a runaway slave, there would be severe punishments for the interferer. The Fugitive Slave Act denied slave the right of trial by jury and any citizens who helped any slaves were fined. This act resulted badly in free states. In The Slave Catchers, the author informs the readers that the Act of 1850 imposed “ the possibilities that free Negroes would be kidnapped and sold into slavery posed a constant threat” (Campbell 175). Slave hunters or slave holders would go into free states and enslave free black men. One victim of the Fugitive Slave Act was Northup. Northup was a musician. He was mistaken for a runaway slave and was sold into slavery for twelve years. This act made the Abolitionist mad because the federal government was so quick in enforcing this law. They believed that if the government can enforce this law so quickly, other slave laws could be enforced too. Northerners tried every way to bypass this law and work their way around it. They would help the runaway slaves through various methods, one most famously known as The Underground Railroad. For slaves that started a new life in the North before the act was enacted, it meant
Although not "underground" nor a "railroad," this informal system became a loosely constructed network of escape routes that originated in the South, intertwined throughout the North, and eventually ended in Canada and other places where runaways were safe from being recaptured. From 1830 to 1865, the Underground Railroad reached its peak as abolitionists who condemned human bondage aided large numbers of slaves to freedom. They not only called for an end to slavery, but acted to assist its victims in securing freedom. Unlike other organized activities of the abolition movement that primarily denounced human bondage, the Underground Railroad secretly resisted slavery by aiding runaways.
The Underground Railroad brought freedom to countless passengers in the years leading up to the Civil War, thanks to conductors who risked their own lives to help slaves escape and lead them to slavery. Harriet Tubman is one of the most famous conductors to have worked on the Underground Railroad, whose journeys were made even more dangerous due to the fact that she was an escaped slave herself. Tubman was nicknamed “Moses” for helping hundreds of slaves find freedom and was very proud to say to say of her time as a conductor, “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger” (Harriet Tubman).
When people hear about the Underground Railroad for the first time they perceive the picture that it’s a railroad that is literally underground, but that isn’t the case with the Underground Railroad. This railroad was not underground or even a railroad. The name was derived from the activities being conducted in secret, and “using darkness or disguise” (history.com). This was the means of African Americans escapes; if they would have been caught they would get a harsh punishment, that punishment could consist of being “sold to someone who lived much further south than Maryland, where it would be harder to run away because the distance to the North was so much greater” (thinkport.org). Other punishments for slaves when they escape were that they would get “beaten and forced to do exceptionally hard work”. One of the most famous known conductors of the Underground Railroad is Harriet Tubman.
Hiding under wooden floors, in attics, in basements, and hidden doorways. The Underground Railroad wasn't a actual railroad but a system of abolitionist helping escaped slaves. Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave, she started the railway. Helping starving wanted ex-slaves and risking her life for theirs. Harriet Tubman has helped so many African Americans escaped before slavery was outlawed.
The Underground Railroad was used by many black slaves who escaped to freedom, conductors who helped free slaves were great people who took many risks. The days when slaves thought they could never make it or when a conductor's house was the best feeling in the whole world helped slaves not lose hope. Slaves may have not had a full education, but they knew they didn't deserve this, “Some slaves chose to rebel because of their lack of rights and the dominant power places on them...they received physical punishments, physical abuse and no right to an education” (The Underground Railroad Wksht). Many slaves were soon fed up with the abuse they were received all based on the color of their skin and background so they decided to resist and flee. More than hundreds were lucky enough to seek help from conductors on the Underground Railroad. Men and women of each color worked in unison to free slaves, they are the reason to why so many slaves could breathe in the fresh air and walk without any chains. They broke laws, but they did a good deed and the many bounties on their heads and the suspicions never hindered their determination to bring slaves to freedom. One conductor could not bring a handful of slaves to freedom in the North or especially Canada without the high risk of being caught. It took the whole team of conductors to bring slaves to freedom. Many conductors who took slaves out of the plantations and started them on their journeys, used disguises to return for others and help slaves at least get a day without whips or chains. Conductors were able to walk freely, but they are the ones who decided for themselves to help the men, woman, and all the children who wanted a new life. Many slaves were able to escape with no more physical abuse, get an education, and all because the conductors on the Underground Railroad gave a
The Underground Railroad was how Harriet freed hundreds of slaves, including her aging parents. The Underground Railroad was a route that Harriet took to free the slaves. She would have covered wagons with fixed bottoms, which were filled with slaves. She would take them to various homes of other abolitionists for food and shelter throughout the night. Once day broke Harriet would continue her journey towards the free states (Smith par 1-2).
The Underground Railroad consisted of many secret routes that the runaway slaves took to escape to freedom. Although some historians claim that the Underground Railroad was never as effective and organized as people make it to be, the system did exist. It’s conductors were always black and they rescored bands of slaves into the North, relying on both black and white homesteads, called “stations.” At these stations, the runaway slaves would hide and be fed. Harriet Beecher Stowe said that she and her husband hid slaves too, and her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was based on a real-life story of how Eliza Harris and her son escaped to the North.
“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves” Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States and credited for ending slavery for African Americans. On Friday, September 23rd, we set off for Cincinnati, Ohio. The goal of this trip was to view the Underground Railroad and Freedom Center and apply it to what we have studied in class so far. The mission of the Underground Railroad and Freedom Center is to “reveal stories of freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps of freedom today.” The Center had many exhibits to view and all were impactful in different ways, however I will discuss the three that had the most effect on
The underground railroad was a network of northerners that helped slaves reached the north and Canada for safety from their plantation. It was secret and railway terms were used to describe system as a way to hide the real nature of the operation. The underground railroad extended from Maine to Nebraska but was most concentrated in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indian, New York, and The New England States. More of the more specific spots were Detroit, Michigan, Erie, Pennsylvania, Buffalo and New York.
After America acquired the West, the need for efficient transportation heightened. Ideas circulated about a railroad that would spread across the continent from East to West. Republican congresses ruled for the federal funding of railroad construction, however, all actions were halted for a few years on account of a war. Following the American Civil War of 1861-1865, the race to build transcontinental railroad began in 1866. Lincoln approved Pacific Railway Act of 1862, granting two railroad companies the right to build the first American transcontinental railroad, (Clark 432).
The Underground Railroad was an escape network of small, independent groups of individuals bound together by the common belief that enslaving a human being was immoral. A loosely structured, informal system of people who, without regard for their own personal safety. Conducting fugitives from slavery to free states, and eventually to Canada where they could not be returned to slavery was a dangerous undertaking.
William Still was born on October 7th, 1821, in Burlington County, New Jersey. Still’s original name as William Steel but his father changed it to protect his wife. Unfortunately the Steel family was unable to escape slavery together. After his escape from the life of slavery, William moved to Philadelphia where he learned to read. He then started to assist fugitive black slaves when being paid to work as a janitor at Pennsylvania’s Society for the Abolition of Slavery. While helping the escapees he wound up disentangling his long lost brother from slavery. In 1972 William wrote The Underground Railroad, which included documents he received from former slaves. This book was crucial because most books on slavery had some bias views written by white abolitionists. After visiting multitudinous escapees in Canada, Still was inspired to launch a desegregation campaign in Pennsylvania railroad cars. The campaign was triumphant and caused Pennsylvanian legislature to preclude segregation. William Still served as both President and vice president for the Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery. He served as vice president for eight year and President for five. William did not stop there he then organized a YMCA for blacks, an orphanage for children of black sailors and soldiers and the mission Sabbath school. At age 81, in 1902, William Gant Still died of a disease known as Bights disease. However his exploits will never be forgotten.
The underground railroad was a system organized to safely move slaves into free states (Coddon). Harriet Tubman was an outstanding abolitionist and black leader of her time. After freeing her whole family from slavery, Tubman’s main concern was the freedom of all slaves. She became well acquainted with many white abolitionists and often received food and shelter from them, while trying to free someone from slavery (Coddon). Most of the Underground Railroad was organized in Philadelphia, where Tubman became acquainted with William Still (Coddon). This was were the first anti-slavery society was established. Still was a black man who was the executive director of the General Vigilance Committee and later became known as “The Father of the Underground Railroad” (Coddon). Since written records were life-threatening to keep, many were burned or not kept at all. Although William Still did say this about Harriet Tubman, “She was a woman of no pretensions; indeed , a more ordinary specimen of humanity could hardly be found...Yet courage shrewdness, and disinterested exertions to rescue her fellow man, she was without equal. (Coddon)” Still encouraged African resistance to slavery, and even taught himself how to read (Turner). He worked nonstop to end race discrimination and, in 1867, he published A Brief Narrative of the Struggle for the Rights of Colored