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7 Underground Railroad Facts for Kids

navajocodetalkersadmin on January 14, 2015 - 4:00 pm in Fun Facts for Kids

The Underground Railroad was not a railroad at all. It was a network of safe houses for slaves that were trying to escape to freedom. Since the inception of slavery, slaves had run away. The Underground Railroad increased the chance that running away would be successful.

1. This network of safe houses was deemed the underground railroad in the mid 1800′s because of the new steam railroads that were becoming popular across the US. Initially it was Native American tribes that began helping African Americans find their way to freedom. They were soon joined by German immigrants of the Quaker religion and shortly thereafter as the country was divided over slavery, abolitionist joined the network.

Harriet Tubman

2. No conversation about the Underground Railroad is complete without talking about Harriet Tubman. She utilized the Underground Railroad to secure her own freedom than returned back to southern plantations 19 times to help free 300 more people.

3. Each trip put her very life at risk yet she made the trip and acted as “conductor” on the railroad leading people to their freedom. Southern tier states still had slavery rights while northern tier states offered freedom. It is easy to see why people would risk their lives to get to the north.

The Travel

4. Most all of the travel was done on foot at night. The slaves traveled under the cover of night to avoid being seen. A very well-known path to freedom led through the Appalachian Mountains. The travel was treacherous.

5. As the travelers went from safe house to safe house they had to stay in darkened cellars and out buildings to hide from neighbors and prying eyes that could easily turn them in. The “conductors” along the network were just as much at risk for their lives as were the slaves that they helped. It was a criminal offense to help a slave to escape that could be punishable by death.

6. Many of the slaves traveled to Canada where freedom was a given, some stopped and stayed in the northern tier states where slavery was abolished, some even went to Mexico to find their freedom.

The Network

7. The network was tremendous and jutted out in all directions. There is no hard data on how many slaves found their freedom using the railroad but it is estimated to be in the thousands. The members of the network included people of all religious beliefs, color and social classes.

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