How to Escape the South

Freedom is not far away!

This life you live is only temporary, carefully plan your escape and I know you will succeed.

Spending each and everyday doing backbreaking work in the fields with your overseer watching every single move and demanding for your pace to pick up is not what you deserve. You also do not deserve to put up with flogging, this physical punishment that goes on until you are black and blue and bleeding on the back, is not what you should fear. You must find you way out of this so called "peculiar institution", which is a name so ridiculous given to a system that is so cruel because it benefits those responsible for the horrid actions and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. You may have heard of those like the well known Denmark Vesey, who was able to purchase his freedom which lead him to start planning a slave revolt. Look to him as a inspiration for he has taken matters into his own hands and tried to make an impact on the white who are so corrupt. But don't just think that he was the only brave soul, there are also others just like him who have been courageous as well. Nat Turner is one who was actually able to lead a slave revolt, rather than just plan like Vesey did, that ended in the death of 60 whites. Be inspired!
Prison Songs - Early In The Mornin'
Although the slaves were not educated they were able to sing songs that they sang often times while they labored each day. These songs give a little insight into what it may have been like on the plantations as the sun was rising.


First you must know which direction to begin to journey towards:

That direction is North! In order to know which way is north look for the North Star, the bright one at the tail of the Little Dipper which lies next to the Big Dipper. Now run towards it because Canada is not far from it. In the day light seeing the birds overhead flying after the winter has passed- are showing you the way because they too are heading North. When night falls again if the North Star is not shinning bright, look for moss growing on tree trucks for it will always grow towards the North.

Now you must be able to avoid slave catchers and dogs for they are eager to find you.

It is best to travel at night when they are unlikely to spot you because remember their job is to track you and the other darkies down and return you to your owner, so if seen by them there is no turning back. If you choose to travel during the day try to disguise yourself to avoid the slave catchers.

Dogs on the other hand have a great sense of smell so when you hear them douse yourself with water to cover your scent and hide until they pass by. Or if possible choose to travel by river rather than by foot in order to avoid a dog tracking your scent all together. Just please keep in mind that anyone who sees a black man at night knows that they were a runaway.

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There are many willing to help you along your travels.

Whether you have started from an upper South state such as Kentucky, Virginia, or Maryland, or have been lucky and are making it all the way from the Deep South states once you reach the Ohio River you have arrived at the border between free states and the Black Belt! For crossing this massive river John Rankin is able to help. Just look for the house with the candle in the window once you have reached Ohio. If you choose not to go about this route there are other options because the Under Ground Railroad has various routes some of which start in the Eastern Shore of Maryland and into Delaware. Then takes you on to Philadelphia or often times other places in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Now your chances of making it to the end are becoming greater since you are getting further North and thanks to the help you will receive from people risking their lives to assisting runaway slaves like you. Harriet Tubman has returned many times to the South to lead others to freedom so if you have not met her yet along your journey you may along with abolitionists such as Levi Coffin and William Still who may offer to hide and help you, take the help they offer it will help! From the destination you have reached you may choose to settle in Massachusetts or New York or you may will need to travel further North possibly to Canada.

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Don't loose hope!

You will find freedom and will be able to live in large cities, or in black communities, or maybe Canada once you escape.