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Under Ground Rail Way
Transcript of Under Ground Rail Way
Before the American Civil War, enslaved Africans looked for freedom in places where slavery had already been abolished. These places included free states like Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut as well as the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Nova Scotia. Passengers on the Underground Railway relied on conductors to help guide them through the passageways to safe houses where they were able to
stay overnight for safety. Conductors were abolitionists who were people of all backgrounds: black and white, men and women, Quakers and Methodists.
William Still is known as the "Father of the Underground Railroad". He helped more than 800 slaves escape to freedom and kept careful records of the people he helped. After they had found freedom, his records helped families who had been seperated reunite.
Thursday, July 19, 1846
By: Emily Meyer
Who Was Involved In The Underground Railway ?
What was the Underground Railway ?
Canada's Role in the Underground Railway
Canada played a big role in helping slaves find freedom. It is estimated that about 30,000 to 40,000 slaves entered Canada through the Underground Railroad. Newcomers moved to many parts of Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec and Nova Scotia. In Canada former slaves founded churches, schools and newspapers, farmed land, built homes and raised families. African-Canadians opened and operated various businesses such as pharmacies, boutiques, hat shops as well as Toronto's first taxi company. African-Canadian communities became centers for the abolitionist movement, fighting against prejudice and racial discrimination.
"Conductors" assisted "Passengers" in their journey North
I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger. ~Harriet Tubman
The Underground Railway was a secret network of tunnels and safe houses leading from the southern United States to free states and Canada. The railway began in the 1780s but it was not called The Underground Railway until the 1830s. These secret passages followed the North Star and were designed to help American slaves escape to freedom.
Frederick Douglass was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader.
Levi Coffin was very involved in the Underground Railroad in India and Ohio. He was nicknamed "President of the Underground Railway" because thousands of slaves that are reported to have passed through his care while escaping their masters.
Harriet Tubman was one of the "conductors". People say that she never lost a passenger. She herself had escaped from slavery before deciding to help other slaves escape to freedom. Every time she went back to save someone she risked her life.
Interesting Facts About the Underground Railroad
- Harriet Tubman was disliked by Southern Slave owners. A reward of $40,000 was offered for her capture!
- Levi Coffin and his wife Catherine helped about 3,000 slaves find freedom.
- While most slaves escaped to freedom in Canada and the northern United States, many slaves located in the deep South found freedom in Mexico and Florida.
- Biblical names were often used as code words. Canada was sometimes called the "Promised Land" and the Mississippi River was called the "River Jordan".
People who helped slaves escape to freedom
People who wanted to escape slavery
People who donated money and supplies
Safe houses where escaping slaves could find temporary refuge
People who provided "passengers" with meals,clothes and places to rest and hide e.g. Harriet Tubman and William Still
People who worked undercover to make the travel arrangements and ensure the railway ran smoothly