The Journey to Freedom
The story of the Underground Railroad by Riky Bae
How do the Abolitionist Beliefs Contribute to the Continuation of American Democracy?
What is Slavery?
In the eighteen hundreds, slavery was illegal in Britain and losing popularity in the northern colonies. Although, it was still popular in the southern states and the gulf. The southern states depended on slaves for tobacco and indigo plantations while Central America used slaves for sugarcane farms.
Additional Info on Slavery
- Ancient Greeks
- And Aztecs
Many of these civilizations depended on slavery heavily, almost like a walking stick (not the bug). In the colonies, they had chattel slaves, slaves that remained slaves for death. The slaves offspring were also considered slaves. In the preexisting civilizations, the slaves could often gain their freedom in other ways (they were still difficult but they didn't have to be slaves for life). Chattel slavery was actually practiced in many European countries during the sixteenth century and afterward.
What is the Underground Railroad Anyway?
How did the Railroad Work?
- There were the "stations", where the slaves stopped along the way- they usually have some sign telling slaves that it is a station (like a quilt on a clothesline)
- Then the "conductors" will help you along the way they are normally regular people
- They would help carry the "packages" along the route, giving them clothes, food, water, and other provisions
Many slaves followed the North Star, which lead them north to Canada (hence the name "North Star"). Conductors would also give slaves money to avert suspicion from the townsfolk.
The Many Risks of the Railroad
- Burning at the stake
- Burning an insignia or letter on their face
- Jail time
- Gibbeted for short periods of time
- Or even hangings!
When slaves started escaping, slave owners started putting bounties on their heads. This attracted many bounty hunters, but it increased the chance of runaway slaves being discovered. Bounty Hunters normally went after a slave for months unless it got to Canada, but some bold bounty hunters still crossed the border to get their prize.