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The same judge now found different legal grounds on which to release Kirk, who this time rolled off triumphantly in a carriage and soon reached the safety of Boston. Sydney Howard Gay, the editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard , descended from Puritan luminaries and had married a rich and radical Quaker heiress. While Gay published abolitionist manifestos and raised money, Napoleon prowled the New York docks in search of black stowaways and crisscrossed the Mason-Dixon Line guiding escapees to freedom.

Apparently none mentioned Drapetomania, Dr. U ltimately, Foner demonstrates that the term Underground Railroad has been a limiting, if not misleading, metaphor. Certainly a nationwide network existed, its operations often covered in secrecy. Yet its tracks ran not just through twisting tunnels but also on sunlit straightaways.

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Its routes and timetables constantly shifted. The Underground Railroad did, in a sense, have conductors and stationmasters, but the vast majority of its personnel helped in ways too various for such neat comparisons. Nearly as diverse were its passengers and their stories.

One light-skinned man decamped to Savannah, put himself up in a first-class hotel, strolled about town in a fine new suit of clothes, and insouciantly bought a steamship ticket to New York. A Virginia woman and her young daughter, meanwhile, spent five months crouching in a tiny hiding place beneath a house near Norfolk before being smuggled to freedom.

Even on the brink of the Civil War, the number of such fugitives remained relatively small. Just days after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in April , escapees were reported to be streaming northward at an unprecedented rate. To reinforce this provision, several Northern states passed statutes prohibiting state officials or jails from being used in the recovery of fugitives.

The fugitive debate intensified with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of , part of the Compromise of that greatly expanded the power of Southerners to reclaim fugitives. White witnesses or an affidavit from a slave state was all that was required to prove ownership: the slave catcher needed only to state that the accused was a slave unless there was documentation to the contrary. Another element of the law that particularly angered Northerners was the fact that it required federal marshals to apprehend fugitives and permitted them to deputize private citizens to aid in the effort.

The great irony of the Fugitive Slave Law of was that the Southerners demanded federal power to support the return of fugitives, while the Northern states argued for state sovereignty to resist those efforts.

Harriet Tubman Story

President Franklin Pierce — used the federal army and navy to enforce the law. For instance, one of the more famous examples of a fugitive return was that of Anthony Burns in In Boston, where rowdy crowds lined the streets, the US infantry was needed to march Burns to a waiting ship to return him to slavery in Virginia.

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The federal government spent thousands of dollars to return this one fugitive. Northern states reacted to the Burns case by passing new personal liberty laws. The abolitionist movement expanded, and the activities of the Underground Railroad accelerated. Free blacks and escaped slaves, assisted by white abolitionists, continued to take a leading role in the Underground Railroad.

William Still, — Still kept most of his letters and notes from his work on the UGRR not only to document the work of the UGRR but also to help fugitives find their families as he had done when his own brother came through the Underground Railroad network to Philadelphia.

It is from this source that these letters are taken. Thomas Garrett, — What happened to the UGRR? The outbreak of the Civil War allowed friendly US soldiers to take part in assisting fugitives. While Lincoln originally ordered the military to return fugitives to their masters, this was generally ignored, and by late Lincoln stated that any fugitive who reached the Union lines was free. In this lesson you will analyze five letters written from Thomas Garrett to William Still.

As you analyze the letters pay attention to the dangers and uncertainties of the Underground Railroad.

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Harriet Tubman was one of the best known guides on the Underground Railroad. According to this letter, what were her travel plans the previous fall? They were fugitive slaves escaping to freedom. Tubman and Garrett worked closely together. What can you infer about her travels from the fact that he has not heard from her in several months? She may have taken an alternative route returning from Canada. If she had been captured, he probably would have heard about it. From this letter, how do you know that Tubman already has a well-known reputation as a successful guide on the Underground Railroad?

If he has no information, why does he mention the man? Based upon this letter, what can you infer is one challenge faced by those traveling via the Underground Railroad network? Because routes varied by circumstances, the whereabouts or safety of fugitives might not be known by those trying to help them.

Communications could be difficult. This letter was sent seven years after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of The last I heard of her, she was in the State of New York, on her way to Canada with some friends, last fall. Has thee seen, or heard anything of her lately? It would be a sorrowful fact, if such a hero as she, should be lost from the Underground Rail Road. I have just received a letter from Ireland, making inquiry respecting her.

If thee gets this in time, and knows anything respecting her, please drop me a line by mail to-morrow, and I will get it next morning if not sooner, and oblige thy friend. How old is Thomas Garrett when he writes this letter? What does this tell you about the ages of members of the Underground Railroad?

Garrett was 69 years old. It reminds the reader that supporters of the Underground Railroad were of all ages, not just younger persons. Describe the fugitives Garrett speaks of in this letter. Are they traveling together? Cite evidence from the text. The fugitives are a man and wife, and they are not traveling together to this point. The man has been waiting for his wife for a week, but she is expected to arrive soon.

Why have these two fugitives been separated up to this point? By what method of transportation are these fugitives to leave Garrett? Who will accompany them from this point? Who was Jesse Perry? What did he do? Note: Jesse Perry was a free black who worked with slave catchers to catch fugitives, probably for money. The fugitives were returned to bondage, and Hazlett was sentenced to 44 years in prison. He was pardoned in when Maryland ended slavery by state Constitutional Convention. What had Perry attempted to do two weeks prior to this letter?

Perry had attempted to arrange to pilot seven fugitives two weeks prior to this letter, and he wanted Garrett to send for the fugitives.

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From the Jesse Perry episode what may you infer about the security dangers on the Underground Railroad? There was a possibility of betrayal at many turns. Who were John and Elsey Bradley? They were two freeborn blacks who were kidnapped and sold to two traders and then at public auction. Note: As did several Northern states, Delaware had laws prohibiting kidnapping of blacks in order to return them to slavery.

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