“Between 1840 and 1860, before the American Civil War, enslaved Africans followed the North Star on the Underground Railroad to find freedom in Canada. It was not an actual railroad but a secret network of routes and safe houses that helped people escape slavery and reach free states or Canada.”
Harriet Tubman (photo H. B. Lindsley), c. 1870. A worker on the Underground Railroad, Tubman made 13 trips to the South, helping to free over 70 people. She led people to the northern free states and Canada. This helped Harriet Tubman gain the name “Moses of Her People”.
A doll sits at the front of a tunnel beneath Windsor’s Sandwich Baptist Church, which hid freed slaves from US bounty hunters. (Nicole Keck/Vacay.ca)
There are many tragic yet heartfelt periods in the history of mankind! One of these terribly sad times was during the period of Slavery in the United States.
Many escaped with the help from various backgrounds. These backgrounds included, white abolitionists, free-born blacks, Church clergy, and former slaves.
One estimate suggests that by the year 1850; 100,000 slaves had escaped via the ‘railroad’!
This Underground Railroad was neither a railroad nor underground, but was an escape network. This name came about because underground meant secretive and the word railroad was used because they used railway code.
The escaping slaves referred to Canada as “The Promised Land”!
Artifacts including adult and children’s shackles at the Buxton National Historic Site and Museum. (Nicole Keck/Vacay.ca)
They would stop at the so-called “stations” or “depots” during the day and rest. The stations were often located in barns, under church floors, or in hiding places in caves and hollowed-out riverbanks.
In my area of Southern Ontario, Canada are many National Historic Sites and artifacts to see. What a sad time in our history, but we must not forget the many heroes who risked their lives to save others.
Photos courtesy of: http://vacay.ca/2012/02/underground-railroad-sites