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Ask students to look at the map and notice the physical features of the land that made the journey difficult. Have them highlight the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Model for students how to shade the area where the Applachian Mountains lie—starting in Alabama and extending northeast through Maine and into Canada. Have students shade their own maps. Ask: What else do you think made the journey hard? Have them brainstorm challenges, such as:.


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Have students choose the route they would have taken. Divide students into small groups. Ask each group to look at the map and pick the route they would have taken to freedom.

Underground Railroad – Travel guide at Wikivoyage

Students should choose based on the states, rivers, or mountain ranges they would have to cross. Have each group describe the route they would have taken and why. Have students share what they consider the greatest challenges to escaping slaves, such as distance, weather, mountains, wildlife, bodies of water, or populated areas. Ask them to describe how their chosen route would have helped slaves to avoid those challenges. As slaves escaped through the Underground Railroad, they moved from one region of the United States to another.

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Looking at their routes helps you to understand some of the difficulties of the journey. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Naomi Friedman, M. Part 1: Part 2: Part 3: Resource Bank Contents. The Underground Railroad, a vast network of people who helped fugitive slaves escape to the North and to Canada, was not run by any single organization or person. Rather, it consisted of many individuals -- many whites but predominently black -- who knew only of the local efforts to aid fugitives and not of the overall operation.


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  • Still, it effectively moved hundreds of slaves northward each year -- according to one estimate, the South lost , slaves between and Sydney Howard Gay, the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard , descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a rich and radical Quaker heiress. While Gay published abolitionist manifestos and raised money, Napoleon prowled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and crisscrossed the Mason-Dixon Line guiding escapees to freedom.

    Apparently none mentioned Drapetomania, Dr. U ltimately, Foner demonstrates that the term Underground Railroad has been a limiting, if not misleading, metaphor.

    Certainly a nationwide network existed, its operations often covered in secrecy. Yet its tracks ran not just through twisting tunnels but also on sunlit straightaways. Its routes and timetables constantly shifted.

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    The Underground Railroad did, in a sense, have conductors and stationmasters, but the vast majority of its personnel helped in ways too various for such neat comparisons. Nearly as diverse were its passengers and their stories. One light-skinned man decamped to Savannah, put himself up in a first-class hotel, strolled about town in a fine new suit of clothes, and insouciantly bought a steamship ticket to New York.

    A Virginia woman and her young daughter, meanwhile, spent five months crouching in a tiny hiding place beneath a house near Norfolk before being smuggled to freedom.

    Underground Railroad

    Even on the brink of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives remained relatively small. Just days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April , escapees were reported to be streaming northward at an unprecedented rate.


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    • This was Drapetomania on a scale more awful than Dr. Samuel Cartwright died in , a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation, which had effectively made Drapetomania federal policy.

      Harriet Tubman: A Woman of Courage and Vision

      The accompanying article quickly set their minds at rest, however. We want to hear what you think about this article.