Seminole territory, Florida

Underground Railroad in Florida

Early Underground Railroad Sites The Underground Railroad did not only travel North, away from the plantations of the South to freedom. For almost two centuries before the Civil War, runaway slaves in the colonies of Georgia and Carolina fled south into Florida. From a militia post where freed slaves helped defend St. Augustine against the advancing British to South Florida, some runaways left American soil for freedom on Caribbean islands.

Underground Railroad in Massachusetts

Jackson Homestead The Jackson homestead is a Federalist-style house at 527 Washington Street in Newton, Massachusetts was built in 1809. William Jackson was an abolitionist who allowed runaway slaves to take shelter there. Image: The Jackson family in 1846

Underground Railroad in Maryland

Underground Railroad in a Border State Along with the earliest legal references to slavery in Maryland in the 17th century, there were attempts to control runaway slaves through legislation. Acts of self-emancipation made slaves “fugitives” according to the laws of the time. The abolitionist movement that began in the 1830s and its Underground Railroad focused the nation’s attention on slavery to a much greater degree than earlier attempts to end the institution. Image: Kunta Kinte – Alex Haley Memorial Annapolis, Maryland Ed Dwight, sculptor The inscription reads: To commemorate the arrival in this harbor of Kunta Kinte, immortalized by Alex Haley in Roots, and all others who came to these shores in bondage and who by their toil, character and…

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Harriet Forten Purvis

Abolitionist and Suffragist Harriet Forten Purvis was an African-American abolitionist and suffragist who helped establish the first women’s abolitionist group for blacks and whites, the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. She fought against segregation and for the right for blacks to vote after the Civil War. Early Years Harriet Davy Forten was born in 1810 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of wealthy African-American inventor and businessman James Forten and educator and abolitionist Charlotte Vandine Forten. Hers was the most well-known black family in the city, who, according to William Lloyd Garrison, “have few superiors in refinement, in moral worth, in all that makes the human character worthy of admiration and praise.”

Elizabeth Buffum Chace

Abolitionist, Suffragist and Philanthropist Elizabeth Buffum Chace was a tireless life-long activist in the Anti-Slavery, Women’s Rights, and Prison Reform movements of the mid-to-late 19th century. Following in the footsteps of her father, the first president of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, Chace helped found the Fall River Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1835. Early Years She was born Elizabeth Buffum in Smithfield, Rhode Island on December 9, 1806 to Arnold Buffum and Rebecca Gould Buffum, whose families were among the oldest in New England. Elizabeth grew up in a household of anti-slavery Quakers and she spent a year studying at the Friends’ Boarding School in Providence in 1822.

Underground Railroad in New York City

Slaves Seeking a Place to Live Free Image: Plymouth Church Brooklyn, New York Thousands of people escaped bondage on the path from slavery to freedom called the Underground Railroad (UGRR) that ran through New York City. Sometimes the ships in the harbor carried slaves who slipped ashore and filtered into the population of the largest city in the country. Several Brooklyn churches participated in the UGRR; Plymouth Church was called its Grand Central Depot. Plymouth Church The Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims was founded in 1847, and its first pastor was Congregationalist minister Henry Ward Beecher, brother of the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe. The Reverend Charles Ray, an African-American living in Manhattan and the founding editor…

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Ann Carroll Fitzhugh Smith

Abolitionist and Women’s Rights Activist Ann Carroll Fitzhugh Smith and her husband Gerrit Smith were wealthy activists and philanthropists who committed themselves to the movement to end slavery in 1835. They were prominent members of antislavery societies in New York State and on a national level. Image: Gerrit and Ann Fitzhugh Smith Mansion This house was a refuge for the many escaped slaves who received food and comfort on their journey to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Early Years Ann Carroll Fitzhugh was born January 11, 1805. Her father William Fitzhugh, a colonel in the Continental Army, built a home near Chewsville, Maryland which he called The Hive because of the many activities carried on by his twelve children and…

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Underground Railroad at The Wayside

Safe House for Authors and Fugitive Slaves The Wayside, a residence in Concord, Massachusetts, served as a safe house for fugitive slaves seeking freedom on the Underground Railroad in the mid-nineteenth century. It was also home to three American literary figures: Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Sidney. Image: The Wayside Underground Railroad at The Wayside The Wayside is located on the same road upon which the British advanced and retreated on April 19, 1775 when the colonists began fighting for their liberty from Britain. One of the early occupants, Samuel Whitney, was a muster master for the Concord Minutemen. Whitney had fought bravely for American independence, but he also owned slaves, who yearned for liberty as much as…

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Edmonson Sisters

Slave Girls Searching for Freedom In the seventeenth century, all slave states passed laws declaring that the children of an enslaved mother inherited her legal status. Mary and Emily Edmonson were two of fourteen children who survived to adulthood, all of whom were born into slavery in Maryland. In the late 1840s they became icons in the abolitionist movement. Image: Mary Edmonson (standing) and Emily Edmonson (seated), shortly after they were freed Credit: Early Years The Edmonson sisters were the daughters of Paul and Amelia Edmonson, a free black man and an enslaved woman. They were described as “two respectable young women of light complexion.” At the ages of 15 and 13, Mary (1832–1853) and Emily (1835–1895) were hired…

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Underground Railroad in Washington DC

Slaves Find Freedom in the Nation’s Capital The Underground Railroad refers to the effort of enslaved African Americans to gain their freedom. Wherever slavery existed, there were efforts to escape. In the 1840s, a group of people came together to support the Underground Railroad in the District of Columbia. Despite the illegality of their actions, and with little regard for their own personal safety, people of all races, classes and genders participated in this widespread form of civil disobedience. Image: Ann Marie Weems Dressed as a male carriage driver, she successfully fled slavery in Rockville, Maryland via Washington DC in 1855. People of both races and various class backgrounds assisted in her escape, demonstrating the diversity of the underground railroad…

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