Pathway to Freedom

By: Allie McKee

How To...

In order to escape the black belt to freedom using the underground railroad, you must first find the North Star. This will be a key component in a successful escape from the peculiar institution because it will help lead you North to Canada. Another component to help you figure out the direction is to see the birds flying North after the winter, they will show you the way as well. Keep in mind that your journey may result in floggings if the overseer spots you, but whether you attempt to escape and are caught or not, those beatings can not be avoided. From Kentucky, it is a straight shot through the Ohio River, to Ohio and on to Canada. Once you reach the Ohio River, there will usually be a black man there, he will lead you to the house with the candle in the window, which signals a safe place for slaves. Many people in the North are against slavery, but expect some names such as "blackies" to be thrown your way from those who are prejudice towards the race in general. The most popular home belongs to John Rankin, a supporter of Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner, and his family in Ripley, Ohio. He will then guide you in the direction needed in order to reach your final destination, Canada.

Resources On the Way


Although the risk of consequences are high, it is possible for anyone to escape. There is a chance of reaching Canada with determination and hope. Equal opportunities are out there for everyone, including you! If Frederick Douglas was able to make it through the underground railroad, so can you!