The Road To Freedom

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad is a network of people who helped and guided fugitive slaves escape to freedom in the North and Canada. This was not an actual railroad, it consisted of many secret routes and safe houses that included many "stations" (rest stops, breaks, etc) in between. The fight against peculiar institution had grown massively and many abolitionist and leaders were aiding slaves into freedom. Slaves wanted to escape the racial persecution (often referred to as "blackies") and also the physical abuse such as flogging and earn their own freedom to gain prosperity and wealth for themselves.
Doing As They Can: Slave Life in the American South

To my dear slaves...

Your escape from slavery will be anything BUT easy, good luck!

1. First you must escape from your slaveholders and overseers. Be sure to gather your spouse and children and as many necessities as possible.

2. Be sure to attempt your escape during the night when dark falls. Sometimes there will be a "conductor" posing as a slave to help guide slaves northward. You will generally travel about 10-20 miles to the next station and wait with the stationmaster until messages from other stationmasters are communicated for continued travel.

3. If you lose your way, remember that Canada is NORTH so look for the North star for guidance!

4. To avoid dogs who catch slaves for slave owners, be sure to wash off and run through a river or body of water to rid the scent of your clothes.


Some of the key places on the Underground Railroad route are Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Canada.

From Charleston, SC: (Denmark Vesey was enslaved here and after purchasing his freedom, he planned a rebellion which reached the leaders of Charleston)

  • travel North into North Carolina and continue into Richmond, VA (Nat Turner's rebellion took place in Southhampton Country, VA. Turner and a group of followers killed many white men, women, and children on the night of August 21 and this incident haunted many white southerners.)
  • From Richmond, VA keep north towards MD and pass through Washington D.C.
  • Keep traveling up into you reach Philadelphia, PA
  • Pass through New Jersey until you reach New York, NY- you're almost there!
  • Continue into CT and you will be in Boston, MA
  • From Boston, travel through New Hampshire and northern Virginia into MONTREAL, CANADA and you have reached freedom!!!

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Here is a list of the many people who assist these runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad as conductors:

Levi Coffin: "President of the Underground Railroad."

John Rankin: Rankin and his wife Jean's home (overlooking the Ohio RIver) was the escaped salve's first stop in free territory and one of the most famous stations of the Underground railroad.

John P. Parker: Parker ferried slaves from Kentucky to Ohio

Lyman Beecher: Beecher organized the Lane Debates on Slavery and Abolition.

James Bradley: He learned the abolitionist tools to move fugitives from Kentucky to Ohio.