The Underground Railroad People and Places of the Journey Nicole Styer 5th Grade History
Slavery in America Slavery in America began when people in Africa were brought, against their will, to America to be workers on large farms, called Plantations. These people were then considered “property” and not people. They were forced to work long days for no pay and were treated as less than human.
Why Escape? Punishment for getting caught trying to escape the plantation was often punishable by DEATH of the slave, so why would anyone risk it?
What is the Underground Railroad? A secret cooperative network that aided fugitive slaves in reaching sanctuary in the free states or in Canada in the years before the abolition of slavery in the United States.
Slave Heroes Abolitionists The Legend Famous Routes How Was it Done? Learn More
HarrietTubman Born into slavery in 1820 in Dorchester County, Maryland, Harriet was a spy, nurse, feminist, and social reformer. Small and frail in appearance, her looks were very much deceiving. She escaped from slavery, and for 16 years guided over 300 slaves to freedom in the North by way of the Underground Railroad. She was known as the Moses of her people. Learn More!
Frederick Douglas Sometimes called “the father of the civil rights movement”, Douglas dedicated his life to achieving justice for all Americans, especially African Americans. He envisioned a country where everyone had equal rights. He was an advisor to President Lincoln and helped to pass the Abolition Act in 1833, that abolished slavery in America. Learn More!
Dred Scott Born into slavery in 1795, Scott made history when he tried to sue for his freedom. The basis of his case was that when his original owner died, he was sold to another owner. He then spent time as a slave in two free states, where he tried to buy his freedom. When he failed, he filed a case that eventually ended up in the Supreme Court. Though he lost his case, it brought the nation’s attention to the injustice of slavery. Learn More!
William Lloyd Garrison Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1805, Garrison was the author, editor and publisher of the Liberator newspaper. From the first issue, published in 1831, to the last, after the Civil War, in 1865, he wrote against slavery and pushed for equal rights of black Americans. "I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. . . . I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD." Learn More!
Harriet Stowe Beecher Born June 14, 1811, she was the seventh child of a protestant preacher. A writer, in 1852, she published her most famous work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book focused on slavery, the antislavery movement and the Underground Railroad; all of which she was familiar with having grown up in Kentucky. The book was very controversial and President Lincoln even once called her “the little lady who made this big war”. Learn More!
Levi Coffin After witnessing the injustice of slavery as a child, Coffin and his wife, Catherine, used their eight room house to house thousands of slaves as they made their way to the north. His house was in Wayne County, Indiana and was along the Underground Rialroad routes leading from Madison and Jeffersonville. "Seldom a week passed without our receiving passengers by this mysterious road. We found it necessary to be always prepared to receive such company and properly care for them.” Learn More!
Follow the Drinking Gourd- Slave Spiritual Verse 1 This verse suggests escaping captivity in the spring season and heading North to freedom. Verse 2 Describes how to follow the route, from Mobile, Alabama north. Verse 3 Describes the route through northeastern Mississippi and into Tennessee Verse 4 Describes the end of the route, in Paducah, Kentucky.
Sing Along With the First Verse...
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” Also known as “the big dipper” or “Ursa Major”, this star constellation helped the slaves find their way to the north by helping them find the North Star. Since the slaves only traveled at night the stars were always visible and by following this star, they did not need a map.
“The Ole Man is A’Waitin, for to Carry You to Freedom” “Ole Man” is a sailor slang term meaning captain, or commanding officer. On the Underground Railroad, a man named, Peg Leg Joe was the most famous of these and he was once a sailor. Peg Leg Joe, or one of the many other “Ole men” would be waiting to carry the slaves across the Ohio River to the North and freedom.
“The river’s bank is a very good road, the dead trees show the way. Left foot, peg foot, goin’ on…” Following a river bank disguised the scent of the slaves so it was untraceable by search dogs. It is also said that Peg Leg Joe used charcoal to mark the trees and other landmarks along the routes with a symbol of a left foot and a circle to signify his peg foot.
“When the Sun Comes Back, And the First Quail Calls…” In the Spring, the days are getting longer and the sun is higher in the sky each day at noon. Also in the Spring, the breeding season of the Quail begins and they call to each other. This part of the song simply tells the runaway slaves when to make their escape, early spring.
“When the Great Big River Meets the Little River…” The (the little) Tennessee River meets the (big) Ohio river in Paducah, Kentucky. This is where the slaves were to meet the “ole man” to take them across the Ohio River.
Most Famous Routes Learn More!
Modes of Travel Since the slaves did most of their travel by walking, to avoid be tracked by dogs, they often walked in a shallow creek or along a river bank, crossing the river at times, to throw off the scent. When the slaves did have means of transportation, they had to stay hidden. Hay wagons, like this one, had a false bottom for the slaves to hide under.
Safe Houses These were houses found along the routes of the underground railroad, owned by people who were willing to help the runaway slaves by housing them for a day or two. In these houses, the fugitives were fed, they could bathe and get rest. Since the slaves traveled under the cover of darkness, they would arrive at the safe house just before dawn and depart at nightfall.
Signs of Safety Safe houses often hung a lantern or a quilt in front of the house to signify to the runaway slaves that it was safe to come to the house. This is how the slaves knew which homeowners were willing to help them.
Living Accommodations Hiding places for runaway slaves were found behind false walls, like this one. Basements, attics and barns were used as living spaces for the fugitives because they could not be seen from the outside.
Try it Out… Click HERE Follow the link above to see what it was like to be a slave and make the difficult decisions of their everyday lives. Will you make it to the North and Freedom? Choose carefully.
Picture Citations http://www.worldmagnified.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/slavery.jpg http://cdn1.newsone.com/files/2009/11/slavery.jpg http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/11484/11484,1246267547,2/stock-vector-vector-clip-art-caricature-illustration-of-beagle-hound-dog-hand-drawn-artwork-in-loose-32842615.jpg http://libsyn.com/images/campbeka/Am_I_Not_a_Man_2.jpg http://www.freewebs.com/birmingham-schools-kick-racism-out/Site%20Pictures/Harriet%20Tubman.jpg http://www.solcomhouse.com/images/douglas.jpg http://www.africawithin.com/bios/dred_scott.jpg http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/images/4wilg37b.jpg http://americancivilwar.com/women/harriet_beecher_stowe.jpg http://students.estrellamountain.edu/drakuna/studentfrontpageprojects/SharonHines/frontpage/frontpage-final2/coffin.jpg http://housedivided.dickinson.edu/ugrr/documents/Lesson_Plan_Ragsdale_files/image001.jpg http://www.bestcostumeplace.com/product_list.php?affiliate_id=12&page=2&category=6066 http://www.blackbusinessbuilders.com/undergroundrailroad.jpg http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/underground-railroad-3.jpg http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/images/at0097a.8s.jpg http://www.parents-choice.org/geography/bigdipper.gif http://www.queencitytours.com/images/Services.qct/Individuals/Greensboro/wagonback_web.jpg
Picture Citations Continued http://my.execpc.com/60/B3/culp/astronomy/fig/BigDipper.gif http://strattonhouse.com/images/underground_railroad_lg.jpg http://www.villagequilters.com/events/cquilt.jpg http://www.antiquetrader.com/upload/contents/290/field_1742/AT%2010-21%20Coffinfalsebottomwagon.JPG http://lh4.ggpht.com/_RYlblO7IFTU/RkOQhPX4DfI/AAAAAAAAAYQ/bIzkpDQ5KHE/Underground+Railroad+Trip+038.jpg http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_2BRfQywIX_w/SpSFSYdufUI/AAAAAAAAAIc/bQakGwhtflI/s320/Creek.jpg http://galen-frysinger.org/us/underground21.jpg http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3272/2736717509_a046cdbe46.jpg http://photos.demandstudios.com/20/166/fotolia_5992650_XS.jpg http://assets.sheetmusicplus.com/product/Look-Inside/covers/19335851.jpg http://assets.sheetmusicplus.com/product/Look-Inside/large/4998134_01.jpg http://www.alabamawildlife.org/uploadedFiles/Quail%20by%20Paul%20T%20Brown%20crop(2)(1).jpg http://www.clker.com/cliparts/5/3/8/e/1194984776763627730left_foot_print_benji_pa_02.svg.hi.png
Video Citations Slavery Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fnu3uyAXZQI&feature=related Underground Railroad Sing-Along: Created by Nicole Styer in Windows Movie Maker