From the beginnings of slavery until the Civil War, countless numbers of African Americans attempted to make or succeeded in making their way to freedom. It was during the nineteenth century, however, that the migration of runaways within the United States and to Canada and Mexico became widespread. It is estimated that at least 50,000 men, women and children ran away each year and among them a few thousand made it to freedom.
A few fugitives became prominent abolitionists who wrote autobiographies, thus contributing to a unique American literary genre, the Slave Narrative. At enormous risk, many others helped their families and friends and even strangers, secure their own freedom.
Many Reasons to Leave
The great majority of the runaways absconded for a few days or weeks only to be captured, or to return on their own. Some ran away to reunite with family members who had been sold away or to sustain familial or romantic liaisons.
But for others, the goal was to secure permanent freedom and leave behind the horrors of a system that brutalized and exploited them. Many planned their escapes for weeks, even months, waiting for the right moment. Their quest for freedom often meant leaving loved ones behind in slavery, and the pain and anguish of such separations remained strong. Fear and anxiety about being caught and returned to bondage were a constant reminder that at no time did runaways have any right to freedom. Local and federal laws, indeed the Constitution itself, protected the rights of slaveholders to retrieve their "property."
Successful fugitives were extremely self-confident and self-reliant individuals, resourceful, willful, focused, and purposeful. Their owners often described them as "artful," "cunning," "wily," "bold," and "intelligent." They took enormous risks and faced extraordinary hardships. They knew they would meet harsh punishments if caught. Many had seen firsthand the brutality experienced by those who had failed. Severe whippings of three hundred lashes - followed by rubs of salt, vinegar and hot pepper - were common and left many permanently injured.
Some, like Jade, who stole money to pay for his passage North, never recovered. A man who witnessed his punishment stated, "They took him and whupped him for near fifteen minutes. We could hear him holler ‘way up at the big house. Jade, he never got over that whupping. He died three days later."
Notwithstanding the dangers and threats, men, women and children, alone, in small family units, or in groups, dared to embark on a road to freedom that could take up to a year to travel.
The Peaks of Migration
Even though escape from bondage was a permanent feature of slave societies, at certain times the migration of runaways rose precipitously. During the colonial period, the number of fugitives remained small and those who succeeded usually posed as free people in towns and cities. But during and after the American Revolution, the flow of runaways increased as the war disrupted the plantation system in the South and ushered in the gradual abolition of slavery in the North. During the war, thousands fled to the British lines. For instance, in 1775, Lord Dunmore, royal governor of Virginia, offered enslaved men their freedom if they bore arms for the British. Between five hundred and six hundred men immediately responded to Dunmore's "proclamation." Too often, however, the British promise of freedom was an empty one. At the end of the war, they sent a number of Black Loyalists to the West Indies in chains.
The disruption caused by the war between the United States and Great Britain in 1812 -1815 also sparked a migration of runaways. To break the will of the South, British commanders occupied New Orleans with black troops. Admiral Alexander Cochrane even recruited runaways to fight against the Americans in Louisiana. In South Carolina and Georgia, black Sea Islanders left their plantations when British troops appeared. Roswell King, overseer on Pierce Butler's plantation on St. Simons Island, witnessed such an exodus among his boss' s five hundred slaves. "I can never git over the Baseness of your ungrateful Negroes," he wrote Butler, telling him that 138 people had escaped.
Lastly, after the closing of the transatlantic slave trade in 1808 and the great expansion of the domestic slave trade from the Upper South to the lower Mississippi River Valley, the migration increasingly turned to the northern states and Canada. In the decades leading up to the Civil War, it symbolized the oppressive nature of bondage in the Southern states and revealed the inequalities faced by African Americans elsewhere in the United States.
Profile of the Fugitives
A profile of fugitives both within the South and in the North and Canada reveals that the great majority were young men in their teens and twenties. They ran away in greater numbers because they had not yet married or, if they had, had not yet begun a family. They were also more able to defy authorities or their overseers and owners if necessary. Once away from the plantation or farm, they could better defend themselves and were willing to resist capture.
Women were less likely to be fugitives because they had often begun to raise families by their late teens and early twenties. With youngsters to care for, it was difficult to contemplate either leaving them behind or taking them along in an escape attempt. Nevertheless, many women embarked on the migration to freedom.
Among the most notable was North Carolina native Linda Brent - later known as Harriet Jacobs - who escaped in 1835 and hid in an attic for nearly seven years before running to the north. She later became a reformer, abolitionist, and educator and wrote her autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself , in 1861. When she escaped, a wanted poster was displayed for miles around.
Sometimes entire families made it to freedom, like Harriet Shepard and her five children, who, along with five other men and women, fled in an owner's carriage. In a few instances, extended families of ten or more made it across the Ohio River.
Besides tremendous courage, runaways displayed a great deal of ingenuity and organizational skills. They had to discretely gather food for the trip and, if possible, changes of clothes. Most runaway advertisements described the clothing people were wearing when they left, and as a consequence, many runaways modified their appearance, and even disguised their gender. Those light-skinned enough to pass for white had to behave and talk like white people. All had to provide believable explanations when asked questions, and they became masters at deceit and secrecy.
Henry "Box" Brown of Virginia made one of the most unusual escapes from slavery. After his owner sold his wife and children to a North Carolina planter, Brown resolved to flee from bondage. With the help of a friend, he folded his five-foot-eight-inch, two hundred pound body into a specially constructed wooden box, two-feet-eight-inches deep and two feet wide. His friend took the trunk-like box to the Adams Express Company in Richmond and sent it off to a Philadelphia abolitionist. Twenty-seven hours and 350 miles later, Brown arrived at his destination.
Most runaways chose one of the five major destinations that evolved during the period from the American Revolution to the Civil War: towns and cities in the South, remote areas near the plantations, the West, the North, and Canada. A few fled to Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean.
Escape to Cities and Towns
Perhaps a majority of successful runaways escaped to towns and cities. Even in colonial days these urban areas offered them unique opportunities for autonomy and anonymity. The hiring of enslaved men and women by townspeople, as well as self-hire was common, and by the early 1800s, most Southern cities had hundreds and sometimes thousands of hired bondspeople, making it possible for escapees to blend in.
Resourceful fugitives who made it to urban centers could find ways to conceal their identities, create new ones, perhaps find shelter with relatives -enslaved and free- and possibly lose themselves in growing free black populations. Many who succeeded in hiding their true identities were literate, possessed marketable skills, and could easily pass as free. They knew what whites wanted to hear and could produce a plausible explanation of their backgrounds. Males found work as laborers, carpenters, masons, bricklayers, mechanics, shoemakers, and tradesmen; women were employed as house servants, cooks, maids, and laundresses.
Although escapees still faced the constant danger of being stopped and questioned by the authorities or suspicious citizens, control was less intensive than in the countryside, where black strangers were scrutinized and often arrested. As Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Louisville, Nashville, Mobile, New Orleans, and St. Louis grew, it became increasingly difficult for authorities to keep track of the expanding African-American populations.
Residential patterns in these cities impeded the ability of the authorities to check the identities of African-Americans. They lived in alleys behind their owners' town houses, in rundown houses along the rivers and in residential areas and suburbs where they worked as house servants.
There was little racial separation: regular slaves, hired slaves, free persons of color, and runaways lived in close proximity to white artisans and mechanics as well as members of the planter aristocracy. Although detailed statistics do not exist, local police records suggest that there was a continual flow of fugitives into urban areas.
In these cities where runaways might have relatives and friends, there were also free blacks willing to assist and religious institutions that would take them in. In the Upper South cities, many legally free people, who had recently emerged from bondage, sympathized with the fugitives' plight and provided aid and comfort. A free mulatto in Camden, Delaware, Samuel D. Burris, was described as "notorious" for providing protection to fugitives. Despite a previous conviction, an observer reported, "Burris still persists in the nefarious practice of enticing Servants and Slaves away from their Masters."
The second migratory path followed by the runaways contrasted sharply with the urban migration. It led into the most remote, isolated backcountry, dense forests, bayous, swamps, or Indian territories. There, the fugitives formed maroon communities - organized enclaves of runaways-that developed in the earliest days and continued through abolition. As early as 1690, farmers in Harlem, New York, were complaining about the inhabitants of a maroon colony who were attacking the settlers.
The first known free black community in North America was a settlement of fugitive Africans called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose. Located near St. Augustine in Spanish Florida, it operated from 1739 to 1763.
Some runaways established camps in Elliott's Cut, between the Ashepoo and Pon Pon rivers in South Carolina; and in the Indian nations of Alabama and Mississippi. In the eighteenth century, others had taken refuge in Spanish Florida with the Seminole Indians. Black and native Seminoles joined forces against the U.S. army during two wars in 1812 and 1835. In 1822, the sub-agent for the Florida Indians wrote:
It will be difficult (says he) to form a prudent determination with respect to the ‘maroon negroes' (Exiles), who live among the Indians . . . . They fear being again made slaves, under the American Government, and will omit nothing to increase or keep alive mistrust among the Indians, whom they in fact govern. If it should become necessary to use force with them, it is to be feared that the Indians will take their part. It will, however, be necessary to remove from the Floridas this group of freebooters, among whom runaway Negroes will always find a refuge. It will, perhaps, be possible to have them received at St. Domingo, or to furnish them means of withdrawing from the United States!
During the 1790s, runaways in Virginia and the Carolinas hid in woods and swamps during the day, and emerged at night to commit "various depredations" on farms and plantations. By the nineteenth century, several thousands lived in the Great Dismal Swamp on the border between Virginia and North Carolina. Slaveholders often ran advertisements mentioning that the fugitives were heading there:
Bonaparte ran away last Christmas without cause or provocation. He is about six feet high and rather slim yet very strong, twenty-eight years old, not of very dark complexion, full eyes, large mouth, fine set of teeth, speaks fluently. I have received information that he is lurking about the Dismal Swamp. ( Southern Argus, April 16, 1852.)
Maroons have been described as "some of the most hate-filled and angry slaves." Before fleeing, they had often committed acts of violence against their owners, overseers or other whites. Many vowed never to return to bondage. Joe, who murdered a slave owner in South Carolina, fled deep into the woods. He recruited others to join him and became the leader of a band of fugitives. He was then given the nickname Forest, as he had made the deep woods his refuge. A group of slave owners petitioned the State Senate in 1824, saying in part:
[Joe] was so cunning and artful as to elude pursuit and so daring and bold ... as to put every thing at defiance.... Embolden [sic] by his successes and his seeming good fortune he plunged deeper and deeper into Crime until neither fear nor danger could deter him first from threatening and then from executing a train of mischief we believe without parallel in this Country.
Forest remained at large and was caught only when a former companion betrayed him and revealed his location. The maroon leader was shot in the forest where he had successfully lived free for more than two years.
The maroons or "outlyers," as contemporaries called them, maintained their cohesion for years, sometimes for more than a generation. They made forays into populated farming sections for food, clothing, livestock, and trading items. Sometimes they bartered with free blacks, plantation slaves, and nonslaveholding whites, and in a few instances white outlaws joined them, although this was rare.
It is estimated that at least fifty maroon communities were active in the South between 1672 and 1864.
Going South and West
For some fugitives, the path to freedom went south and west. Men and women in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana could escape north into Indian Territory, west toward the frontier, or south to Mexico. Of the three destinations, Mexico proved the most attractive. "Sometimes, someone would come 'long and try to get us to run up North and be free," declared San Antonio former slave Felix Haywood. "We used to laugh at that. There was no reason to run up North. All we had to do was to walk... south, and we'd be free as soon as we crossed the Rio Grande."
Haywood's views were confirmed by the San Antonio Ledger , a pro-slavery newspaper that noted in 1852 that Mexico had "long been regarded by the Texas slave as his El Dorado for accumulation, his utopia for political rights, and his Paradise for happiness." By the eve of the Civil War nearly ten thousand runaways lived south of the Rio Grande.
Missouri enslaved men and women sought freedom in another western sanctuary, Kansas. Between 1861 and 1865, twelve thousand fugitives crossed the Kansas-Missouri border to freedom. Some fled to Kansas Territory, seeking Lawrence, a major stop on the western Underground Railroad . Opportunities for flight increased dramatically after the Civil War began. When Kansas Senator James H. Lane led Union forces into southwest Missouri in August 1861, runaways began to enter his military camp. Without authorization from Washington, Lane signed up the men as soldiers and sent the women and children to safety in Kansas. His impetuous act created the first African-American troops in the Union Army during the Civil War and encouraged other Missouri refugees from Arkansas and Indian Territory to make their way to Kansas and freedom.
Henry Clay Bruce, the brother of future Mississippi Senator Blanche K. Bruce, was one of those refugees. Years later he recalled in his autobiography how he and his fiancée escaped from Missouri to Kansas in 1863. Bruce strapped around his waist "a pair of Colt's revolvers and plenty of ammunition" for the run to the western border. "We avoided the main road and made the entire trip...without meeting anyone.... We crossed the Missouri River on a ferry to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. I then felt myself a free man."
During the nineteenth century, the northern exodus of runaways increased as slavery was abolished in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, the New England states, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Those who succeeded in making it to freedom usually came from the Upper South states of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri.
The routes they took after crossing into free territory varied. One corridor led to Philadelphia, through eastern Pennsylvania, and on to New York and Boston. Some came into western Pennsylvania and moved north before entering western New York. Others crossed the Ohio River at Louisville or Cincinnati and journeyed overland to Cleveland, getting assistance along the way in Oberlin, Xenia, and other towns. More than a few found refuge in all-black communities in Ohio's Brown and Mercer counties. Fugitives also went to Quaker areas like Richmond, Indiana, and to larger cities such as Indianapolis and Chicago.
In rarer instances, the fugitives made it to the North from the Deep South states. They sometimes trekked more than a thousand miles, over hills, rivers, and mountains. They would sleep during the day, hiding out in dense woods, curled up in barns, outbuildings, or slave cabins. They traveled primarily at night to avoid the patrols. The North Star was their navigational guide.
In 1837, Charles Ball escaped from a South Carolina farm and headed north:
From dark until ten or eleven o'clock at night, the patrol are watchful, and always traversing the country in quest of negroes, but towards midnight, these gentlemen grow cold, or sleepy, or weary, and generally betake themselves to some house, where they can procure a comfortable fire.
Sometimes, escapees from the Deep South stowed away on Mississippi steamboats and Atlantic coast vessels. Others posed as free people and boarded trains.
William and Ellen Craft combined many of these techniques and ingeniously escaped from Georgia to Boston in 1848. Ellen, the daughter of her owner and very light-skinned, posed as her husband's deaf and ailing master -her arm in a sling to cover her inability to write and her head wrapped in a bandage to camouflage her lack of a beard. Despite a near discovery in Baltimore, they reached their destination. Later, when two slave catchers appeared in Boston, they fled to Nova Scotia and eventually emigrated to England where they lived for seventeen years. Ellen stated at the time, "I would much rather starve in England, a free woman, than be a slave for the best man that ever breathed upon the American Continent."
The runaways quickly found out that the North was not the "Promised Land"; rather there they met with discrimination and poverty, and found their dreams and hopes shattered. In southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, white residents held strong sympathies for the slaveholding South. They did little to assist runaways and had few qualms about turning them over to owners or "slave catchers" who came to claim them. African Americans' social networks in the North were often family and community-oriented. Many runaways settled in black neighborhoods in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Newark, and Boston.
In the nineteenth century, runaways could find help from the loosely organized anti-slavery advocates who became known as "conductors" on the Underground Railroad. The most outstanding of the conductors was Harriet Tubman. She escaped slavery herself and led her family and hundreds of others to freedom during the course of nineteen trips into the South. The network was especially active in the western territories after the War of 1812. By 1830, it had spread through fourteen northern states. The network derived its name from the remark of a Kentucky slaveholder who had vainly pursued a fugitive into Ohio. He remarked that the man "must have gone off an underground railroad."
Although much of what we know about those who aided fugitives comes from post-Civil War recollections of former abolitionists who wished to demonstrate their hatred of slavery, some whites and free blacks, including William Still, who later wrote a book on the subject, did assist a number of runaways.
Quite a few fugitives in the North became active in the abolition movement. The most famous, Frederick Douglass - one of the country's greatest orators - is regarded by many as the century's leading abolitionist spokesman. Douglass' s writings and speeches gave an authentic voice to the abolitionist crusade.
Josiah Henson, Anthony Burns, Samuel Ringgold Ward, William Wells Brown, Henry "Box" Brown, and others wrote about their experiences and became highly sought-after speakers on the anti-slavery lecture circuit. Their moving stories about their lives in bondage had a profound effect in converting northerners to the abolitionist cause. As historian Larry Gara wrote, "The eyewitness accounts of these former slaves had more impact in the anti-slavery cause than hundreds of theoretical speeches and pamphlets."
Canada, the Promised Land
The stage was set for the African-American migration into Canada in 1772, when England declared that any slave reaching Canadian soil was automatically free. Following the War of 1812, sizable numbers of runaways started to settle in Canada. People began to call it the "Promised Land," a term that came into wider usage after slavery was banned in 1834 throughout the British colonies. Over the next thirty years, between one and two thousand African Americans entered Canada each year.
The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 -which gave a slave owner or his appointed agent the authority to retrieve a fugitive even in the North with the assistance of local authorities-- caused many escapees living in the northern states to cross into Canada. According to the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, within a year of the bill's passage, some five thousand people had emigrated. Among them were free men and women whose very liberty was threatened by kidnappers, who increasingly abducted and sold them South; and others who felt they were not completely free.
Advocates of immigration to Canada included Abraham Shadd, a free black shoemaker who aided fugitives in Delaware and Pennsylvania during the 1830s and 1840s before settling in Toronto in 1851. His daughter, Mary Ann Shadd, opened a school for fugitive children and edited the Provincial Freeman. She was the first black woman in North America to found and edit a weekly newspaper.
Most runaways settled in what are now the Ontario Province cities of Toronto, Chatham, London, and Windsor; in rural areas along lakes Erie and Ontario; and in the all-black communities of Dawn, Wilberforce, Dresden, and Buxton .
In 1837, Joseph Taper and his family fled from Frederick County, Virginia, "in consequence of bad usage." While staying in Pennsylvania, he read a runaway notice in a newspaper calling for his apprehension. Later, in Pittsburgh, he learned of the presence of a slave catcher. Taper took his family to St. Catharines, Ontario, where he rented a farm and settled in raising crops and livestock. In 1840, he wrote to a friend back in Virginia:
Since I have been in the Queen's dominions I have been well contented, Yes well contented for Sure, man is as God intended he should be. That is, all are born free & equal. This is a wholesome law, not like the Southern laws which puts man made in the image of God on level with brutes ... I have enjoyed more pleasure with one month here than in all my life in the land of bondage.
Teenager Henry K. Thomas fled in 1836 from Nashville, Tennessee. His mother planned his escape after she found out he was slated to be sold. Thomas made his way across middle Tennessee into Kentucky. He was captured and jailed in Louisville, just short of reaching the Ohio River. That night, although shackled, he broke out of jail, stole a small boat, and navigated over the waterfalls to the Ohio shore, where a man removed his chains. By 1850, Thomas was living in Buffalo, New York, as a property-owning free man. Learning of the Fugitive Slave Act, he took his family across the border, settling in the town of Buxton where he purchased a farm. By the eve of the Civil War, perhaps thirty thousand fugitives lived in Canada.
The Civil War
The dynamics of runaway journeys changed dramatically during the Civil War. Beginning in June 1861, enslaved people near Fortress Monroe, Virginia, began to trickle into Union lines and offer their services to the federal authorities. General Benjamin Butler called them "contraband." In the following months, the trickle turned into a torrent as thousands of runaways made their way to Army lines. Some Union generals refused to accept them, returning them to their owners, but Congress prohibited this early in 1862. By the time Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, tens of thousands of men, women, and children had made it out of bondage.
Those who escaped found their new situation to be nearly as desperate as the circumstances they had left behind. Union soldiers beat, robbed, and raped them, and they were forced to live in contraband camps without proper sanitation, shelter, or supplies. Although the army was ordered to provide clothing, rations, and medical care, and freedmen's aid societies sought to aid Southern African Americans, most runaways suffered greatly from exposure and harsh conditions.
One of the most important changes that occurred during this period was the enlistment of black soldiers in the Union Army. Prior to 1862, they were excluded from the army, although some served as spies, scouts, cooks, teamsters, officers' servants, and laborers. In May 1862, the federal government began to recruit African Americans. A majority of the approximately 186,000 black men who served during the war were from the Southern states, including 93,000 from the seceded states and 40,000 from the border slave states. Many among them were runaways. Despite being paid less than their white counterparts, they participated in several battles, acquitting themselves with courage and dignity.
Few escapees during the war sought retribution against their former owners. Seeking a new life in freedom, they rarely found it necessary to attack the slaveholders as federal troops moved into their sections. Group violence most often occurred in Louisiana, where owners had a long history of oppressive treatment and punishment. When they attempted to move them to remote backcountry areas, some of the enslaved assaulted overseers before fleeing.
By the end of the war, a large but undetermined number of the nearly four million enslaved men, women, and children had become runaways. As in the prewar period, few among them left the region of their birth. Most found a life in freedom fraught with suffering, pain, hunger, disease, and fear. The war, however, ended forever the phenomenon of runaways.
The Consequences of the Migration
The number of fugitives who made it to safety can only be estimated. In 1850 and 1860, United States census takers asked each slave owner in the South how many of his or her slaves had run away during the previous year and remained at large. They reported 1,011 in 1850 and 803 in 1860. But many owners did not wish to admit that their "property" had become successful fugitives, and so the census reports were almost surely far below the actual numbers. The records of northern anti-slavery societies as well as newspaper notices of runaways in the Southern states suggest that probably several thousand people made it to freedom each year during the antebellum era. While this figure is low compared with the total number--3.2 million in 1850 and 4 million in 1860--over time it amounted to a significant migration.
The journey of runaways to towns and cities in the South gave momentum to African-American urbanization during the antebellum period, a phenomenon that accelerated after the Civil War.
The migration of the maroons to remote areas caused great fear among slave owners and represented a continuing problem in maintaining control over their human property. Indeed, existence of these outlying groups served as a counterpoint to the proslavery ideology that promoted the institution as benign and paternalistic.
The western movement of runaways led white Kansans to recognize the permanence of African-American settlement in their state in 1862. Lawrence abolitionist Richard Cordley acknowledged their presence when he declared, "The Negroes are not coming. They are here. They will stay here. They are to be our neighbors, whatever we may think about it, whatever we may do about it." Supported by the mostly white Kansas Emancipation League, the refugees founded Freedman's Church in Lawrence on September 28, 1862, creating the first of the many African-American community institutions that existed throughout Kansas by the end of the Civil War.
In the North and Canada, runaways became symbols of the evils of slavery. Their increasing presence - as important and often charismatic figures in the abolition movement - played a major role in energizing the struggle against slavery. The fugitives would come to symbolize the inherent contradiction in the national creed: America as a land of liberty and equality, and America as a land of slavery and oppression.
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Runaway Slave Advertisements from 18th-century Virginia Newspapers.
Compiled by Professor Thomas Costa, Professor of History, University of Virginia's College at Wise.
Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938
Contains more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. These narratives were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and assembled and microfilmed in 1941 as the seventeen-volume Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Keywords such as fugitive or run away yield dozens of personal accounts.
Butler Island 1839
Description of Pierce Butler's St. Simon Island Plantation, where a mass exodus took place when runaways were invited to join British troops in the war of 1812.
This site explores how Canada became the home of the first settlements of free blacks outside Africa. It includes a portal of links to information about Lord Dunmore's Proclamation, the Ethiopian Regiment, the Black Pioneers, personal accounts including narratives, documents such as Certificates of Freedom, and letters.
This article provides a chart of black settlements in Spanish Florida from 1690-1850's. It outlines the events taking place such as the establishment of various settlements for fugitives, including Fort Mose (Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose), and the inhabitants' battles with the U.S. Army and proponents of slavery.
Ontario Heritage Foundation Report
On the commemoration and historical background of Mary Ann Shadd
The Underground Railroad
The National Geographic Underground Railroad website allows users to assume the role of a runaway, meet with Harriet Tubman, and travel several hundred miles to freedom. The journey is presented in an interactive game.
The William Still Underground Railroad Foundation
Focuses on protecting and insuring the accurate depiction of the historical events pertaining to the UGRR and Anti-Slavery Society. The Foundation educates the American citizens generally, and youth particularly, about the life of William Still, maintain an accurate archive to preserve the legacy of William Still, and use him as a role model for youth development. The site also has a resource guide with various links.
Slavery and Freedom in Lancaster County
This site is a digital exhibition highlighting towns in Pennsylvania (Lancaster, Columbia, Christiana, and Solanco; and Canada (Buxton) integral to the Underground Railroad movement. Photos, maps and minimal text make up this site.