So you want to be Free?

A helpful guide to gaining freedom

You deserve a better Life

You work day after day under the hot sun just to be yelled at and not rewarded the next day. When you wake up your overseer threatens to flog you with their whip you because you didn't get up soon enough. He doesn't understand what it takes to be you. The overseer watches you as you work and yells mean things at you to encourage you to work harder. You are more than just another "darkie" working in the fields. Life in this "peculiar institution" is not a proper one. Freedom is just north, all you have to do is run. Many people will be there to aid you in your journey.


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 you are running your master will come looking for you when you escape. He will post rewards for people who find you and use dogs that will try to sniff you out in order to bring you back to the plantation.

  • 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

Option 1:

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

Option 2:

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.
More about the Railroad:

  • 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:

  1. 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
  2. William worked with another white Abolitionist named Thomas Garrett. He helped around 3,000 slaves escape to freedom.
  3. Also look for Harriet Tubman; she is making trips back down south to bring more slaves into the north.
  4. Fredrick Douglas is an escaped slave who gives antislavery speeches. He has created his own paper entitled the North Star.
  5. 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

  1. Stationmasters; Will hide you in their houses or stations
  2. Conductors; Will guide or transport you to your next station
  3. Stockholders; Will help you by giving you money, food and clothes
  4. 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

In Mobile-
  • 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

In 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

Follow the Drinking Gourd