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The Underground Railroad Essay

961 words - 4 pages

The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a network of ways that slaves used to escape to the free-states in the North. The Underground Railroad did not gain that name until around 1830 (Donald - ). There were many conductors, people who helped and housed the escaping slaves, but there are a few that have made records. The Underground Railroad was a big network, but it was not run by one certain organization; instead it was run by several individuals (PBS - )
The Underground Railroad was not an actual railroad, it was just an idea of indirect paths from on station to another. The Underground Railroad began when slaves had first entered America in 1619, and it ended along with the American Civil War in 1865 (Lavine - ). Slaves had the choice of escaping to the free-states in the North, or to Mexico. Depending on where you were coming from and what happened on the way, it could take from 24 hours to a year’s worth of running (How Stuff Works “How it Worked”).
Along the way, stopping at a “Safe House” or “Station” was a slaves best chance during the daytime or when needing to rest. The Stations would normally hang a lantern outside on the porch for a time to show slaves it was a safe home (Chugger “Underground Railroad...for kids”) After the fugitives got what was needed, they would move onto the next station with the help of a conductor’s direction. Some conductors gave the fugitives a little bit of money or clothes to help them along their way (Pathways).
There were different times of day/week/year that were counted as the better time to move. The best time of day was probably around the night time hours; chances are the best time of week was on Saturdays, only because the paper did not run ads that day (Levein - ); and most slaves moved around winter time.
After a fugitive reached their desired place in the North, they normally would have found a all black town, a religious group, or a vigilance committee to live with for a time. They may have gotten money and a living place, provided by these groups, to start a new life with. If they gained enough money, fugitives would attempt to buy family members out of slavery (How Stuff Works “How it Worked”)
Well-known conductors are mainly known for how many fugitives they helped and/or housed, one being Harriet Tubman. Tubman was an escaped slave who helped over 300 fugitives in her 19 visits back to the South (Donald - ). Harriet Tubman had a $40,000 reward on her to anyone who caught her (Ducksters). Two other well-known escaped slaves were Ellen and William Craft, even though they were not known for being conductors, they are well known for their way of escape. Ellen had a light enough skin tone to blend in with the whites and have William look like her...

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