The Underground Railroad

The Only Sure Way a Slave Can Make it to Freedom

Tired of the OVERSEER'S Whip?

Taken one too many FLOGGINGS? Tired of living in the BLACK BELT? Then escape must be your goal. Wait until dark to slip away and start running north. Find your way by watching for the North Star on the Little Dipper and keeping an eye on the moss on the trees (it always grows facing north).

Don't Get Caught

Keep by the rivers. A dog can't keep your scent through the water. Only travel at night and hide during the day. Take food where you can but expect to be hungry, tired, and miserable. You aren't done running until you get to the Ohio River, the border between the North and the South.

Find John Rankin

He will be your first stationmaster along the railroad. stationmasters will keep you safe along your journey. After resting up for a day, make your way up north through Cleveland, following the stationmasters instructions until you get up to New York.

Stay Hidden

You may be in the North, but you're still a DARKIE to these people. Your master will have put out a large bounty on your head, and anyone, even an abolitionist, might take you and send you back, and just like that you'll be chattel under the Peculiar Institution again.

Cross Lake Eyrie

Once you're in New York, find someone to take you across the Great Lakes and into Canada, where you'll be a free man once and for all. No slave catchers will be able to follow you and others who have made the journey will be there to help you get on your feet.


"Why escape when we can just kill our overseer?" Many a slave has asked me this question. And to them I say we have tried. DENMARK VESSEY tried in 1822. He was found out before he could accomplish anything. NAT TURNER tried in 1831. He only managed to kill some women and children before he and his friends were put down. Escape in your only chance.

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Map of the Underground Railroad

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Book on Underground Railroad by Escaped Slave William Still

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Common Flyer in Old South

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