How to get out & inspiration to persevere

Instructions for FREEDOM

As a bonded darkie you are wondering, "how do I escape the bondage of this 'peculiar institution' here in the Black Belt (Deep South: from South Carolina & Georgia to the south west states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) ?

Why you can't stay in the South

You want to stay here in the Black Belt of course, but that is not going to gain you any sweet freedom. There is no efficient or successful way to do so from the familiarity of the South.

  • Since slave revolts have such a low success rate.

    • Gabriel Prosser (1800) and Denmark Vesey's (1822) revolts brought about

      • suppression

      • retribution

        • through means of leaked information even though they both had a considerable amount of followers

      • Nat Turner (1831)

        • only actual slave insurrection in the South in the 1800s (killed 60 white men, children, & women)

          • over 100 blacks executed

            • instilled fear in whites of

              • slave conspiracies

              • renewed violence

  • Therefore in order to GET freedom, you have to leave, and head towards it. You can escape to Canada (“Heaven”) for assured freedom or to north for “risky” freedom.
  • It WILL be harder for you coming from the Deep South to escape. Since you will most likely not receive any help from the underground railroad until you reach a free northern state.

General Information

  • Leave the plantation in the middle of the night and avoid being caught by your overseer

  • Head northward to find the people and places of the underground railroad and avoid slave catchers and dogs along the way

    • how to determine north?

      • north star(big dipper and little dipper; tip of the little dipper and the brightest star)

      • birds flying north after winter

      • moss on trees (grows on the north side of tree trucks) = compass during day or cloudy nights

    • how to avoid slave catchers and dogs effectively?( if done right, no more flogging for you!!)

      • go through a stream to cover scent and make a place to hide until they pass or go the other way

      • pay attention to avoiding the traps and snares set

      • run at night

      • hide during day

      • take all possible food with you before you leave

      • fear and be aware of the sound of dogs

    • What is the Underground Railroad

      • secret aid to escaping slaves, provided by abolitionists in the years before the American Civil War

        • people who helped

          • Brave people helped slaves on Underground Railroad

            • provide shelter

            • money or transportation donated

            • few went into south to guide to freedom

              • most workers=

                • free blacks

                • escaped slaves

                  • but help from white Northerners

          • Examples of people who assist the runaways on the railroad

            • Harriet Tubman

            • William Still

            • Frederick Douglass

Recommended Route

Escape Route-

Start: Deep South- Mobile, Alabama

Destination: Ontario, Canada → specifically Owen Sound, Ontario


  • Mobile, Alabama

    • The Tensaw, Alabama, and Tombigbee rivers all flow into Mobile Bay

  • Fulton, Mississippi,

    • follow “The Trace Road”

  • Maysville, Kentucky

    • cross the Ohio River

  • Ripley, Ohio

  • Milford, Ohio

  • Xenia, Ohio

  • Erie, Pennsylvania

  • Hamburg, NY

  • Niagara Falls, Ontario

  • Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada

Abolitionists who worked with Underground Railroad

What Caused the Civil War