Feet Throbbing, Heart Pounding
How it works
Feet throbbing, heart pounding, and blindly trying to find the way. Scared to death, hoping and praying that their owner does not find them. Slaves endure many obstacles to try and escape, even though numerous of them fail. Thanks to the Underground Railroad thousands of slaves were able to escape. The Underground Railroad was made up of escape routes and places for runaway slaves to find assistance in their path to freedom. The Underground Railroad had a different terminology of words, safehouses, and helped many fugitives escape.
The Underground Railroad used many ways of communication like leaving the glow of a lantern in the window on the top floor. This was a signal of a safehouse for runaways (Malaspina, Routes to Freedom). “Abolitions used railroad terms to identify people and places that helped the runaways on their harrowing travels” (Malaspina, Routes to Freedom). They had many railroad terms that they used such as stations and conductors. The development of the railways during this era made it so that people could use these terms out in the open without anybody getting suspicious of them.
How it works
Like the language used to help aid slaves to freedom was safehouses, also called stations. There were many stations spread out on the routes that belonged to freed slaves or abolitions. When fugitives got to the safehouse, a conductor would help them with getting to the next location. Conductors had a variety of ways that they would hide the slaves to move them, including secret compartments in wagons (McEntee, Underground Railroad).
Finally, the Underground Railroad was used by many people, now famous for their efforts, to help others escape to be free. Harriet Tubman did not get a choice to be slave she was born into it and eventually escaped. She used the Underground Railroad to help other slaves escape totaling over 70 (Malaspina, Harriet Tubman). “Harriet Tubman was famously known as The Moses of Her People, after the biblical prophet who led the Israelite slaves out of Egypt” (Malaspina, Harriet Tubman). Fredrick Douglass used a disguise and borrowed papers that stated he was free to escape. With the resources of the Underground Railroad he was able to be set free and started advocating for slaves. He was a publisher of The North Star, which was a newspaper against slavery, used as a station (Malaspina, Harriet Tubman).
Furthermore, without the abolitions, and advocates against slavery the Underground Railroad would have never been what it is today. The many ways of communicating, safehouses, and bravery of the people that helped others escape are just a few of the important elements of the Underground Railroad. If it never existed, going where you want, doing what you want, and being what you want today would not be an option to many Americans. Acts of bravery and selflessness should be qualities everyone seeks to have, never knowing if it is going to go down in the books.
- Malaspina, Ann. “Routes to Freedom: Abolition, Escape and Rebellion.” The Underground Railroad, Updated Edition, Facts on File, 2017. African-American History,online.infobase.com/Auth/Index?aid=102588&itemid=WE01&articleld=397340.
- —. “Harriet Tubman.” The Underground Railroad, Updated Edition, Facts on File, 2017. African-American History,online.infobase.com/Auth/Index?aid=102588&itemid=WE01&articleld=397341.
- McEntee, Grace. “Underground Railroad.” Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2017. EBSCOhost, db22.linccweb.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=96397734&site=eds-live.”