Alex Johnson

How to Escape

1. After the master goes to bed slip out of your quarters and start running north as fast as you can. Going north is the best way to escape the black belt. Do not be like Nat Turner or Denmark Vessey: just run! Revolts don't lead to escape. You can identify which way is north because moss usually grows on the north side of trees and the North Star is always in the northern sky. The North Star is on the brightest star in the sky and it is on the end of the little dipper.

2. Your farm is just south of Nashville so you will need to skirt around the city of Nashville and then continue north towards the Ohio River.

3. If at any point you hear dogs barking or someone yelling "darky," run even faster and head for the nearest stream so the dogs can't follow your scent. If the overseer catches you, you will be in for a great deal of floggings.

4. When daybreak comes you must hide yourself in the forest for the entire day until you can run again under the cover of night.

5. Once you come to the grand Ohio River, turn east and run towards the city of Ripley.

6. When you see the first cabin on the far bank of the river, hide in the bushes until night falls and someone comes to help you across the river.

7. This is the start of the underground railroad.

8. Friendly white folks or free black men will help you make your way between safe houses all the way until you reach Port Huron.

9. Thank the people that helped you reach the border along the underground railroad, and then cross the border and start a new life in Canada.

10. Congratulations: you have escaped the Peculiar Institution.

Harriet Tubman: Her life as the Underground Railroad Conductor