The underground railroad

Essay by dazsik17High School, 10th gradeA+, October 2004

download word file, 6 pages 0.0

The Underground Railroad was made up of a series of safe houses and slave activists that made a great change in the history of slavery. The Underground Railroad was a very dangerous operation. The abolitionists always faced risking arrest and sometimes even faced risking their lives. So they created the Underground Railroad. (Donald, Underground 21) The Underground Railroad started operating as early as the 1500's. This was when the first Africans were brought to Spanish colonies in the New World as slaves. However the peak of the railroad lasted from around 1830 till 1860. The Underground Railroad was neither underground nor a railroad. It was a secret network of safe houses and people who were against slavery. The antislavery activists were blacks, whites, Native Americans, and Quakers. ("Story of the Underground Railroad") They played a very important part in helping slaves escape and become free. Every home that welcomed runaway slaves, every person who offered food or clothing, and every person that helped the slaves in any other way was considered a part of the Underground Railroad.

There were all types of terms and code words used in the Underground Railroad. The term, Underground Railroad, had supposedly originated when a slave, who had fled from his home, disappeared without a trace while being chased by his owner. His owner was left confused and wondered if the slave had "gone off on some underground road." ("Story of the Underground Railroad") Other names and terms also contributed to the name, the Underground Railroad. The homes and businesses where fugitives, or slaves, would rest and eat were called "stations". The stations were run by "stationmasters" and the people who supplied money or goods were "stockholders". The "conductors" were the people who moved and guided fugitives from one station to the next. And the...