The Underground Railroad Essay

The Underground Railroad was located in the American South. A system created to free slaves in the American South, but it was not actually a railroad or underground it was a secret pathway that slaves took to escape from their master. This pathway that the runaway slave took was very secret. They would know when to go out to the railroad because of the songs that they sung. The Underground Railroad not only helped black slaves but also poor white slaves (Snodgrass).

Some of the most important people, who helped with the Underground Railroad, risked their lives to free black and white slaves from slavery because they had experienced slavery themselves and understood the value of freedom. The Underground Railroad was a system for slaves to escape. Close to the idea of a railroad the Underground Railroad had the same act of transporting people but in the Underground Railroad there were not just people there were slaves that had escaped. Some of the terms that they used in the Underground Railroad were lines: which were safe houses to safe houses (Underground Railroad).

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There was also “stations” and “depots” all across the south that were homes and businesses that took in slaves as they were traveling out of the south. The people who ran the “stations” and “depots” were called “stationmasters. ” The people who funded the Underground Railroad were called “stock holders. ” The “conductor” was responsible for moving fugitives or slaves from one station to the next (PBS). I found an article that includes a story of an old relative of a “conductor” of the Underground Railroad that is planning on retaking the path of the Underground Railroad.

Joan Southgate said that she is going to do something that the fugitive slaves who escaped to Canada could never do. Joan is eighty years old. About six year ago Joan walked about eight hundred and thirty five miles from Cleveland to St. Catharines, she followed in the footsteps of thousands of slave including the people that could make the Underground the church has organized something that they would call a “send off ” which is an event that they held on the Friday that she left on and this send off was a event that helped her begin her month long walk on the Underground railroad.

Railroad possible and could make it happen. She plans to raise two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for walking this historical path. “She ended her trip at the historical British Methodist Episcopal Church, where Harriet Tubman attended while living there in the 1850’s. Joan said that she will be back at the church by the Friday of that week to start the four hundred kilometer reverse route on the old historic freedom trail, going back to her home town. ” (Downs. ) She decided to this for the freedom seekers like Harriet Tubman and other people that have help African Americans get their freedom back.

She said it is also for all of the people the were involved in slavery because she said that there was more then just black slaves in the Underground Railroad (Downs). Harriet Tubman was one of the main people who helped. She was born as a slave in Bucktown, Maryland in 1820. Harriet’s real name was not Harriet Tubman it was Araminta Ross. When she was a child she was called Harriet after her mother’s name. In Harriet’s childhood she had two sisters that were slaves with her she had to experience the tragic sight of both of her sisters getting sold and transported.

When she was around the age of fourteen she got in the way of a supervisor whipping a slave and it turned out that instead of helping the slave her skull was fractured with a metal block because of this, she was in a coma for several months and she also had random blackouts for the rest of her life. (Alex S. ). “When Harriet got a little bit older her father would take her out in to the woods a teach her the paths and way of the woods. When her father took her out in to he woods it helped her later on with helping runaway slaves that were involved in the Underground Railroad. ” (Sahlman. Harriet’s parents were from the Ashanti tribe of West Africa they worked as slaves on the plantation of Broads. For Harriet working on the plantation was very hard, she was hired as a laborer when she was five years old.

Harriet’s least favorite place to work was indoors, in her early teen years Harriet was no longer allowed to work indoors so she was hired to be a field hand. Her masters routinely beat and whipped her. In 1844 Tubman married a free black man named John Tubman. Five years later in 1849 her main fear at the time was when the owner of the Broads Plantation died, many of the slaves were scheduled to be sold soon. After Tubman heard about the future in the new plantation she was supposed to go to. That night Harriet had planned to escape but only told her sister because her husband could not have kept her escape a secret. Harriet took a ninety-mile trip to the mason- Dixon line with the help from the Underground Railroad and the conductors. ” (Sahlman. ) Tubman had a very successful and safe trip she settled in Philadelphia. A year later Tubman went back to rescues her sister’s family and her husband but it turned out that her husband had moved on and gotten married.

In 1857, Tubman settled with her parents in Auburn, New York. When she helped out with the Underground Railroad she was nicknamed “ the Moses of her time. ” Tubman made nineteen trips on the underground saving about three hundred slaves all by her self. When she was a “conductor” she had very good tactics of helping get slave to the place they wanted to be an example was, if one of the slaves backed out or wanted to turn back she would point a gun at them and tell them to come or they would get killed by a slave hunter if they did not go with or by their master who was probably looking for them.

She had helped more people like her sisters and brothers but not all of them and she freed her parents to. During the civil war Harriet Tubman also helped out by being a nurse for the wounded soldiers in the civil war and for the runaway slaves in the Underground Railroad. In 1870, Tubman remarried to Nelson Davis, who she had first met at an army base in North Carolina. They were both happy and married until Davis’ death; they had been married for eighteen years. In 1896 Tubman purchased a piece of land that she used to build a home for sick and needy blacks.

In 1913, on March 10, Harriet died from pneumonia at the age of ninety-two. She was not afraid to fight for the rights and wellbeing of African Americans. In 1897, her bravery inspired Queen Victoria to award her a silver medal (Sahlman). She was, still is, and will always be a famous conductor of the Underground Railroad. She will also always be known for the nickname that people called her, which was, “ The Moses of her People. ” Sojourner Truth was a famous “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. Truth was born with the name, Isabella Baumfree.

Sojourner Truth was also born as a black slave in 1797 in Dutch settlement in New York. While Truth was traveling through out New England and the Midwest she became mostly known for her deep voice, inspiring fate, and quick wit. Truth had almost all of her fame from a famous speech she wrote called “Ain’t I a Woman? ” in 1851 at a woman’s retreat. (Emily E. ). Truth was freed from being a slave in 1827 under a state law providing a gradual abolition. She had to runaway because her master did not want to follow the law. Truth had to go to court to get one of her children out of slavery.

Truth’s tactics were very helpful and effective to the Underground Railroad. Truth was one of thirteen children born to Elizabeth, truths mother, and James Baumfree. They both were slaves on the Hardenbergh plantation. Truth spoke only Dutch because of where she was born, until she was sold from her family at the age of nine. The cruel treatment that she got from her master helped her to learn English fast, but she had a Dutch accent for the rest of her life. She was first sold when she was nine years old because her master, Charles Hardenberg, died in the year 1808.

She was sold to John Neely along with her and her heard of sheep for about one hundred dollars. Neely’s family had only spoken English, which was a problem because Sojourner only spoke dutch so she had gotten beaten for the miscommunication. She later confessed that Neely had whipped her with “ a bundle of rods, prepared in the embers, and bound together with cords” (History). After Truth was freed from being a slave she went to court to get one of her children back from slavery. Truth had five kids and only the one that she could get out of slavery was the only one with a good education.

Truth did not even know how to write or read herself (Truth). Everyone who helped in the Underground Railroad risked their lives because if they were caught freeing slaves they could have been killed or taken back into slavery because in most southern states it was against the law to free slaves. In Boston, Harriet Tubman once risked her life when one of her friends, a runaway slave was about to get hunted by a slave hunter. She attacked the slave hunter before he could get to her friend. (Hudson) She could have been killed for interfering with the capturing of a slave.

It is estimated that 70,000 slaves were escaped and journeyed safely northwards to Canada and therefore freedom. These slaves were included in the Underground Railroad (Ilana). The Underground Railroad is significant because it helped slaves in the American South get out of slavery. Slavery is now considered a violation of human rights. The Underground Railroad was conducted by people that were free and had experienced slavery and these conductors risked their lives daily because if they got caught they would be dead. The slaves knew it was their time to escape when they heard the songs.

Since the Underground Railroad was not an actual railroad nor was it underground the passengers had to be very sneaky and quiet. Harriet Tubman is one of the most known conductors of the Underground Railroad; Sojourner Truth was also known as a famous conductor. Harriet Tubman was a dedicated to the Underground Railroad she was also dedicated to the rights of African Americans. Sojourner Truth was a dedicated preacher that helped with the Underground Railroad and really badly wanted African Americans to have the same rights as Americans.