So you want to be Free?
A helpful guide to gaining freedom
You deserve a better Life
Do not try to rebel. Even though you are angry, your best option is escaping, not picking a fight. Other slaves have tried to rebel, burn crops, or even poison their masters, but have had no luck with becoming free.
- In Charleston (1822) Denmark Vesey was hung with 30 other of his follower.
- Also in 1831 Nat Turner, a preacher, would try to lead an uprising that would result in 60 dead
- While hiding in the woods cover yourself with moss and leaves to hid your body
- travel through streams and rivers when you can so the dogs can't track your scent as well
How to get to the North
Following the North Star
- Looking at the sky, there should be one star brighter than all the rest. This is the North Star and by following it you should be lead north into safe territory.
- It is at the tip of the Little Dipper, near the Big Dipper
Using the Underground Railroad
- If you are unable to find the North Star or unsure if you have found it try to find an entrance to the Underground Railroad. This is a specialized system made to help escaped slaves reach freedom.
- Ran by either free blacks, freed slaved, or generous white people, all of these people are known as abolitionists
- It is very dangerous to work the underground railroad because there are laws forbidding helping/quartering fleeing slaves
- Anyone caught helping a escaped slave could be fined $1,000 or get up o 6 months in jail
- People who can help you:
- If you are fleeing from Maryland look for William Still. Still has a complete account of his trip through the railroad and helps slaves through the system
- William worked with another white Abolitionist named Thomas Garrett. He helped around 3,000 slaves escape to freedom.
- Also look for Harriet Tubman; she is making trips back down south to bring more slaves into the north.
- Fredrick Douglas is an escaped slave who gives antislavery speeches. He has created his own paper entitled the North Star.
- Harriet Stowe’s house is also another place to be looking out for. She wrote the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin that reveals more of the cruelties of slavery
- Know your people
- Stationmasters; Will hide you in their houses or stations
- Conductors; Will guide or transport you to your next station
- Stockholders; Will help you by giving you money, food and clothes
- Passengers or Baggage; This is the secret word people will use to describe you and your other friends that are trying to find freedom
Since there is still a chance of being sent back to the south once you reach the north, your goal should be to reach Canada where slavery is outlawed.
Recommended Route- Starting in Mobile, Alabama
- go down the Tombigbee, Tensaw, and Alabama Bay into Mississippi
Once in Mississippi
- follow "The Trace Road" that starts in Fulton, it will lead you to Kentucky
- Cross the Ohio River
Follow the Railroad
- Conductors will lead you through cities like:
- Ripley, Ohio
- Milford, Ohio
- Xenia, Ohio
- Erie, Pennsylvania
- Hamburg, New York
- You will arrive in Niagara Falls, Ontario, but the railroad can take you deeper into the county to Owen Sound
Routes to Freedom
No matter where a slave is located there should be people involved in the underground railroad to help them out.
The Black Belt
The Black Belt was the area where slaves were most concentrated. It spread from South Carolina to Georgia, all the way west to Louisiana. It is known for its cotton production.
Most of the people who traveled the underground railroad were young men, but sometimes many families would try to escape together.
Routes to Freedom
The Black Belt
Before becoming a famous conductor in the Underground Railroad, Tubman was a slave. She was born into slavery in Maryland and would later escape to Pennsylvania. Harriet would return back to the south 19 times to bring more slaves into free land. Later she would also become a Union spy in the Civil War.
She is most known for killing her 2 year old daughter with a butcher knife because she didn't want her to return to slavery. Margret and her other daughter of 9 months were shipped by steamboat back to the south. The steamboat sunk and her child drowned.
Henry "Box" Brown
Henry Brown shipped himself from Virginia to an abolitionist in Pennsylvania. It took Brown 27 hours of tossing around to complete his journey.