Escaping the Chains of Slavery

Escaping the Plantation

  • Escaping the plantation will not be easy as white overseers are constantly on the watch making sure that things are in order
  • In order to escape you will need to escape his view and attention long enough to get a decent head start
  • Know the consequences if you are caught trying to escape, there will most likely be brutal floggings with a whip as punishment for attempting to escape the plantation
  • The "darkies" as blacks are often referred to by or even more offensive terms by whites are more heavily populated in the "black belt" or the southern region of the US with more plantation agriculture
  • The farther South the more brutal and difficult the trip will be but with the help of the secret network of people, places, and routes in the North, the Underground Railroad, it is possible
  • Let the inspiration from the courageous actions of Denmark Vesey who was famous for planning a slave rebellion in the far South, South Carolina, and Nat Turner who successfully led a slave rebellion in Virginia inspire you to not give up, abolition of slavery isn't far if we continue to fight and resist

Instructions for the Long Trip Ahead.....

  • There's a long travel between here in Louisville, Kentucky to Canada, a place where blacks can live free from slavery
  • The first task is to cross the Ohio River which borders northern Kentucky and happens to be very close to Louisville, the Ohio River is the border between the Northern and Southern States
  • To cross the Ohio River a boat will be needed as it's too big to swim across
  • The destination across the river is Cincinnati, Ohio, take notice that Ohio is a free state but that does not mean you are safe as blacks who were suspected to be slaves could still be caught and returned to their masters
  • After reaching Cincinnati the next destination will be Cleveland, Ohio
  • There isn't too much more land travel after you reach Cleveland as you will be near Lake Erie which after you cross, you will finally be in Canada, your shelter and escape from the chains of the "peculiar institution"/slavery

Advice on Avoiding Recapture

  • One of the guides through this trip will be the stars, look for the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper in the night sky to locate the North Star, if you head in the direction of the North Star, you will be going North therefore heading closer to Canada
  • Another reference to head north would be watching the birds after winter when they'll be flying north
  • Another reference to head north on cloudy nights or during the daylight would be to look for moss growing on trees since moss tends to grow on the north side of tree trunks
  • A useful way to cover your scent to confuse the dogs would be to try to run through streams
  • Be careful of traps and snares placed to catch runaways
  • Most effective way of traveling to avoid being captured is to hide during the day and travel at night
  • Names to know for their contribution to helping fugitive slaves: Harriet Tubman, Levi Coffin, and William Still

The Underground Railroad, a Full documentary

The Underground Railroad (Full Documentary)