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Underground Railroad

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  1. Underground Railroad

  2. Vocabulary • Abolition: the movement to end slavery • Abolitionist: a person who believed and worked for the abolishment (end) of slavery

  3. The Underground Railroad • Above-ground series of escape routes for slaves traveling North • Consisted of “stations” or safe houses owned by abolitionists • “Conductors” were people who led the runaways to freedom (like guides)

  4. Henry “Box” Brown • Packed himself in a box and shipped himself to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  5. Harriet Jacobs • Hid in a crawl space in her grandmother’s attic for seven years • Finally escaped to Philadelphia by boat in 1842 • Wrote a novel Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, which was one of the first autobiographical accounts of the struggle for freedom and the sexual abuse endured by many female slaves

  6. Frederick Douglass • Escaped slave, social reformer, orator, writer,and statesman • Leader of the abolitionist movement • Known for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing • Acted as a living counter-example to slaveholders’ arguments that slaves did not have the intellectual capacity to function as free American citizens

  7. Would you take the risk? • If slaves were caught, they were sold or beaten with a whip; sometimes they were lynched (hung)

  8. Harriet Tubman

  9. Harriet Tubman • Born a slave in Maryland • Escaped using the Underground Railroad • She made 19 journeys from the South to the North as a Conductor on the Underground Railroad

  10. Harriet Tubman • Southern plantation owners offered $40,000 for her capture • She was never caught.

  11. Spirituals • Many spirituals referred directly to the Underground Railroad • Singing as an expression of values • Singing as a source of inspiration or motivation • Singing as an expression of protest • Singing as a communication tool

  12. Chorus:
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home! • I looked over Jordan and what did I see,
Comin' for to carry me home!
A band of angels comin' after me,
Comin' for to carry me home! • Chorus: • If you get there before I do,
Comin' for to carry me home,
Jess tell my friends that I'm acomin' too,
Comin' for to carry me home. • Chorus: • I'm sometimes up and sometimes down,
Comin' for to carry me home,
But still my soul feels heavenly bound
Comin' for to carry me home!

  13. Quilts • During the time of the Underground Railroad fugitive slaves would use quilts as a means of communication. • Quilts were used by conductors to help fugitive slaves flee the South and arrive safely in the North.