Emily Howland

Pioneer in Education for African Americans and Children Emily Howland and the Civil War Abolitionist, educator, philanthropist and suffragist from the village of Sherwood in Cayuga County, New York, Emily Howland was an avid supporter of education for women and African American children. She founded and financially supported fifty schools for emancipated blacks and taught in several of them. She donated the land and financial backing to build a school for black children in her hometown, which later became Emily Howland School. Early Years Emily Howland was born in 1827 on a farm near Sherwood, New York to Quakers and wealthy landowners Slocum and Hannah Howland. Slocum Howland was an anti-slavery advocate, banker, entrepreneur, and a leader in his community….

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Underground Railroad in New Jersey

Saving Slaves from Bondage in the South Tens of thousands of fugitives from the slave states of Maryland, Virginia, and North and South Carolina found refuge in New Jersey. Most of them arrived here by crossing the Delaware River under the cover of darkness. Slaves and the courageous people who aided them on their journey risked their lives for freedom. Quaker Abigail Goodwin was one of the figures whose work was instrumental in the success of the Underground Railroad in New Jersey. Image: Stations on the NJ UGRR Backstory New Jersey’s path to abolition for all of its citizens was a rocky one. In 1804 New Jersey passed its first abolition law, An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery….

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Underground Railroad in Rhode Island

Runaways Escaped to Freedom in Rhode Island Image: Elizabeth Buffum Chace House A station on the Underground Railroad Valley Falls, Rhode Island The Underground Railroad (UGRR) was a secret system of helping fugitive slaves escape to free states or Canada by hiding them in a succession of private homes by day and moving them farther north by night. In the 1830s, the small state of Rhode Island became increasingly involved in radical abolitionism. They were inspired by William Lloyd Garrison’s newspaper, the Liberator, and his call for immediate emancipation. During this period, twenty-five anti-slavery societies were formed in the state.

Maritime Underground Railroad

Slaves Escaped the South on Northern Vessels The Maritime Underground Railroad was a network of people who helped slaves travel by vessel from the southern United States to freedom in the North and Canada. Slaves escaped aboard the thousands of Southern ships that did business in the North and sailed regularly up and down the Atlantic coast. A clandestine society of slaves directed fugitives to the ships and black crewmen secreted them on board. Image: Underground Railroad Routes on Land and Sea Credit: National Geographic

Underground Railroad on Long Island

Quakers Ran the Underground Railroad In the seventeenth century, to the Englishmen who first settled Long Island, slavery was an accepted way of providing the labor force needed for agriculture and a comfortable life. After the arrival of the Quakers in the eighteenth century, attitudes were changed and the Underground Railroad began guiding slaves to freedom. Image: Map of Long Island towns on the Underground Railroad Long Island Stretching east-northeast from New York Harbor into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island comprises four counties: Kings County (Brooklyn) and Queens County (Queens) in the west, then Nassau County and Suffolk County to the east. The Island is 118 miles long from east to west and about 20 miles at its widest point,…

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Josephine Sophia White Griffing

Activist in the Abolitionist and Women’s Rights Movements Image: Family of Slaves Washington, DC, 1861 Josephine Sophia White Griffing was a social reform activist who campaigned for the abolition of slavery and women’s rights. In 1864, she moved to our nation’s capital to help the newly freed slaves who were streaming into the capital by the thousands. Griffing worked primarily as an agent for the Freedmen’s Bureau in Washington, DC. Early Years Josephine White was born December 18, 1814 in Hebron, Connecticut into a prominent New England family. Her father Joseph White Jr. served as a representative in the state legislature; her mother was sister of portrait artist Samuel Lovett Waldo. Little is known of Josephine’s childhood, and there are…

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Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin

Journalist and Founder of African American Women’s Clubs Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin was an African American leader, a publisher, journalist and editor of Women’s Era, the first newspaper published by and for African American women. She was an abolitionist and suffragist, and she is perhaps best remembered for her role in establishing clubs for African American women. Early Years Josephine St. Pierre was born August 31, 1842 in Boston, Massachusetts to John St. Pierre, a French and African man from Martinique, and Elizabeth Matilda Menhenick, a white woman from Cornwall, England. Her father was a very successful tailor in Boston and her family was a part of Boston society. Josephine received her education at public schools in Charlestown and Salem,…

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Underground Railroad in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Conductors Led Slaves to Freedom Abolition of slavery was the great moral issue of the nineteenth century, especially after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which allowed owners to capture their slaves in free northern states and return them to the South. The Underground Railroad (UGRR) was a loose grouping of people who risked home and safety to help runaways escape bondage. The penalties for their actions were severe. If caught, a stationmaster on the UGRR could be jailed and fined $20,000, a huge sum at that time. The Constitution of the United States had a fugitive slave clause that Congress implemented with the first Fugitive Slave Law in 1793, placing a fine on anyone rescuing,…

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Betsy Mix Cowles

Abolitionist and Educator from Ohio Betsey Mix Cowles was an educator, and an early leader in the abolitionist and women’s rights movement in the pre-Civil War era, advocating women’s access to education, equal rights, and independence. She dedicated her life to fighting slavery and improving the status of women. Her circle of friends included like-minded individuals like Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Abby Kelley. Early Years Betsy Mix Cowles was born February 9, 1810 in Bristol, Connecticut, the eighth child of Giles Hooker Cowles and Sally White Cowles. In 1811, the Cowles family settled in the town of Austinburg in Ashtabula, the most northeastern county in Ohio, where her father was a minister and where Betsy began her teaching…

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Underground Railroad in New York

UGRR Routes and Stations in New York State Cyrus Gates Farmstead The Cyrus Gates Farmstead stands in the town of Maine in Broome County, New York. Construction of the house began in 1848; the Greek Revival style was considered extravagant for a farmhouse. Image: Cyrus Gates House Maine, New York Important stop along the UGRR Also at the farmstead are two barns, a tenant farmer’s house, several outbuildings, a blacksmith’s shop, a four seat outhouse. Cyrus Gates was a cartographer and mapmaker for the State of New York. Cyrus and Arabella Gates were outspoken abolitionists. From 1848 until slavery officially ended in 1865, the Gates Farmstead was a station on the UGRR. While it was illegal to serve as stationmaster…

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