Escaping Slavery

Maria Garcia

Section 1


You will start your journey by escaping your masters house in Arkansas. Then you will cross Missouri and a small area of Illinois with the help of the conductors, station masters, and stock holders in the Underground Railroad. Once you reach the Ohio River there will be a man wearing a red handkerchief waiting to help you cross. Once you get across you will continue crossing Illinois and then cross Lake Michigan with the help of another man with a red handkerchief. After you cross this lake you will have to also cross Michigan and then Lake Huron to finally reach Canada and freedom.

How To Escape Slavery

The beginning of successfully escaping the peculiar institution begins with making sure to quietly sneak out at night without alerting your overseer. Once you break out immediately start heading towards the north, away from the Black Belt.

How To Find The North:

  • look for the Big Dipper and Little Dipper to find the Northern Star
  • look at the direction birds are flying in , they fly to the north
  • look for moss growing on trees, it typically grows on then northern side

While heading north make sure to run through streams to cover your scent from the watch dogs and remain well hidden during the day. Through out your journey to freedom continuously look for men willing to help you such as abolitionist and freed slaves who are a part of the Underground Railroad. These people will provide a place for you to eat, sleep and hide in along the way, until you finally reach Canada.


Despite massive rebellions led by fearless leaders such as Denmark Vessey and Nat Turner, slave holders continue to view slaves in a inferior manner. If you are caught while trying to escape it is highly likely that your overseer will issue a flogging for the "darkie" who tried to escape. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to be careful when escaping and have a well thought out plan.

Section 2

Follow The Drinking Gourd

A song written to teach slaves how to reach the North and eventually meet up with someone in the Underground Railroad by following the Big Dipper (drinking gourd). The song also ties in a folk tale about a peg legged sailor who marked the trail with his peg leg.

Follow the drinking gourd, follow the drinking gourd,
For the old man is awaiting for to take you to freedom,
If you follow the drinking gourd.
The riverbank will make a very good road, the dead trees show you the way,
Left foot, peg foot, traveling on, Follow the drinking gourd.
The river ends between two hills, Follow the drinking gourd,
There's another river on the other side, Follow the drinking gourd.
Where the great big river meets the little river, Follow the drinking gourd,
The old man is awaiting for to take you to freedom,
If you follow the drinking gourd.

Harriet Jacob, a slave, recalls sexual abuse by her white master. This forced readers to reflect on a topic that was usually avoided.