Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad|Paperback (2022)

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"Loved this and I'm not a big history buff. This was an eye-opener. This will make you have an even deeper respect for those who went through slavery and all they endured." — Pollard House
During the 1850s and 1860s more than 100,000 people escaped slavery in the American South by following the Underground Railroad, a complex network of secret routes and safe houses. This inexpensive compilation of firsthand accounts offers authentic insights into the Civil War era and African-American history with compelling narratives by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and lesser-known refugees.
Thirty selections include the story of Eliza Harris, "The Slave Woman Who Crossed the Ohio River on the Drifting Ice with Her Child in Her Arms," whose experience inspired a memorable scene in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Other accounts include that of Henry "Box" Brown, who hid in a crate mailed to Philadelphia abolitionists; Theophilus Collins's escape after "A Desperate, Bloody Struggle — Gun, Knife and Fire Shovel, Used by Infuriated Master"; excerpts from Harriet Jacobs's 1861 narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; and the remarkable flight of William and Ellen Craft, "Female Slave in Male Attire, Fleeing as a Planter, with Her Husband as Her Body Servant."

Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad|Paperback (1)

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Product Details

Publisher:Dover Publications
Publication date:09/17/2014
Series:Dover Thrift Editions: Black History
Sales rank:744,641
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

An English professor at the City University of New York's Kingsborough College, Bob Blaisdell is the editor of numerous Dover Thrift Editions, including New York: The Big Apple Quote Book and Great Speeches by Mark Twain. Christine Rudisel is Assistant Professor of English at the City University of New York's Kingsborough College.

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Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad

By Christine Rudisel, Bob Blaisdell

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-79670-3



Arrived by Adams' Express

[William Still]

Henry Box Brown escaped from his owner by having Samuel A. Smith ship him to a member of Philadelphia's Vigilance Committee in a box that was nailed shut and secured with hickory hoops. Brown arrived safely, but Smith was arrested and imprisoned when he attempted to help two other slaves escape in the same manner.

(Video) 5. Telling a Free Story: Fugitive Slaves and the Underground Railroad in Myth and Reality

Although the name of Henry Box Brown has been echoed over the land for a number of years, and the simple facts connected with his marvelous escape from slavery in a box published widely through the medium of anti-slavery papers, nevertheless it is not unreasonable to suppose that very little is generally known in relation to this case.

Briefly, the facts are these, which doubtless have never before been fully published—

Brown was a man of invention as well as a hero. In point of interest, however, his case is no more remarkable than many others. Indeed, neither before nor after escaping did he suffer one-half what many others have experienced. He was decidedly an unhappy piece of property in the city of Richmond, Va. In the condition of a slave he felt that it would be impossible for him to remain. Full well did he know, however, that it was no holiday task to escape the vigilance of Virginia slave-hunters, or the wrath of an enraged master for committing the unpardonable sin of attempting to escape to a land of liberty. So Brown counted well the cost before venturing upon this hazardous undertaking. Ordinary modes of travel he concluded might prove disastrous to his hopes; he, therefore, hit upon a new invention altogether, which was to have himself boxed up and forwarded to Philadelphia direct by express. The size of the box and how it was to be made to fit him most comfortably, was of his own ordering. Two feet eight inches deep, two feet wide, and three feet long were the exact dimensions of the box, lined with baize. His resources with regard to food and water consisted of the following: One bladder of water and a few small biscuits. His mechanical implement to meet the death-struggle for fresh air, all told, was one large gimlet. Satisfied that it would be far better to peril his life for freedom in this way than to remain under the galling yoke of Slavery, he entered his box, which was safely nailed up and hooped with five hickory hoops, and was then addressed by his next friend, James A. Smith, a shoe dealer, to Wm. H. Johnson, Arch street, Philadelphia, marked, "This side up with care." In this condition he was sent to Adams' Express office in a dray, and thence by overland express to Philadelphia. It was twenty-six hours from the time he left Richmond until his arrival in the City of Brotherly Love. The notice, "This side up, &c.," did not avail with the different expressmen, who hesitated not to handle the box in the usual rough manner common to this class of men. For a while they actually had the box upside down, and had him on his head for miles. A few days before he was expected, certain intimation was conveyed to a member of the Vigilance Committee that a box might be expected by the three o'clock morning train from the South, which might contain a man. One of the most serious walks he ever took and they had not been a few to meet and accompany passengers, he took at half past two o'clock that morning to the depot. Not once, but for more than a score of times, he fancied the slave would be dead. He anxiously looked while the freight was being unloaded from the cars, to see if he could recognize a box that might contain a man; one alone had that appearance, and he confessed it really seemed as if there was the scent of death about it. But on inquiry, he soon learned that it was not the one he was looking after, and he was free to say he experienced a marked sense of relief. That same afternoon, however, he received from Richmond a telegram, which read thus, "Your case of goods is shipped and will arrive to-morrow morning."

At this exciting juncture of affairs, Mr. McKim, who had been engineering this important undertaking, deemed it expedient to change the programme slightly in one particular at least to insure greater safety. Instead of having a member of the Committee go again to the depot for the box, which might excite suspicion, it was decided that it would be safest to have the express bring it direct to the Anti-Slavery Office.

But all apprehension of danger did not now disappear, for there was no room to suppose that Adams' Express office had any sympathy with the abolitionist or the fugitive, consequently for Mr. McKim to appear personally at the express office to give directions with reference to the coming of a box from Richmond which would be directed to Arch street, and yet not intended for that street, but for the Anti-Slavery office at 107 North Fifth street, it needed of course no great discernment to foresee that a step of this kind was wholly impracticable and that a more indirect and covert method would have to be adopted. In this dreadful crisis Mr. McKim, with his usual good judgment and remarkably quick, strategical mind, especially in matters pertaining to the U. G. R. R., hit upon the following plan, namely, to go to his friend, E. M. Davis, who was then extensively engaged in mercantile business, and relate the circumstances. Having daily intercourse with said Adams' Express office, and being well acquainted with the firm and some of the drivers, Mr. Davis could, as Mr. McKim thought, talk about "boxes, freight, etc.," from any part of the country without risk. Mr. Davis heard Mr. McKim's plan and instantly approved of it, and was heartily at his service.

"Dan, an Irishman, one of Adams' Express drivers, is just the fellow to go to the depot after the box," said Davis. "He drinks a little too much whiskey sometimes, but he will do anything I ask him to do, promptly and obligingly. I'll trust Dan, for I believe he is the very man." The difficulty which Mr. McKim had been so anxious to overcome was thus pretty well settled. It was agreed that Dan should go after the box next morning before daylight and bring it to the Anti-Slavery office direct, and to make it all the more agreeable for Dan to get up out of his warm bed and go on this errand before day, it was decided that he should have a five dollar gold piece for himself. Thus these preliminaries having been satisfactorily arranged, it only remained for Mr. Davis to see Dan and give him instructions accordingly, etc.

Next morning, according to arrangement, the box was at the Anti-Slavery office in due time. The witnesses present to behold the resurrection were J. M. McKim, Professor C. D. Cleveland, Lewis Thompson, and the writer.

Mr. McKim was deeply interested; but having been long identified with the Anti-Slavery cause as one of its oldest and ablest advocates in the darkest days of slavery and mobs, and always found by the side of the fugitive to counsel and succor, he was on this occasion perfectly composed.

Professor Cleveland, however, was greatly moved. His zeal and earnestness in the cause of freedom, especially in rendering aid to passengers, knew no limit. Ordinarily he could not too often visit these travelers, shake them too warmly by the hand, or impart to them too freely of his substance to aid them on their journey. But now his emotion was overpowering.

Mr. Thompson, of the firm of Merrihew & Thompson—about the only printers in the city who for many years dared to print such incendiary documents as antislavery papers and pamphlets—one of the truest friends of the slave, was composed and prepared to witness the scene.

All was quiet. The door had been safely locked. The proceedings commenced. Mr. McKim rapped quietly on the lid of the box and called out, "All right!" Instantly came the answer from within. "All right, sir!"

The witnesses will never forget that moment. Saw and hatchet quickly had the five hickory hoops cut and the lid off, and the marvellous resurrection of Brown ensued. Rising up in his box, he reached out his hand, saying, "How do you do, gentlemen?" The little assemblage hardly knew what to think or do at the moment. He was about as wet as if he had come up out of the Delaware. Very soon he remarked that, before leaving Richmond he had selected for his arrival-hymn (if he lived) the Psalm beginning with these words: "I waited patiently for the Lord, and He heard my prayer." And most touchingly did he sing the psalm, much to his own relief, as well as to the delight of his small audience.

He was then christened Henry Box Brown, and soon afterwards was sent to the hospitable residence of James Mott and E. M. Davis, on Ninth street, where, it is needless to say, he met a most cordial reception from Mrs. Lucretia Mott and her household. Clothing and creature comforts were furnished in abundance, and delight and joy filled all hearts in that stronghold of philanthropy.

As he had been so long doubled up in the box he needed to promenade considerably in the fresh air, so James Mott put one of his broad-brim hats on his head and tendered him the hospitalities of his yard as well as his house, and while Brown promenaded the yard flushed with victory, great was the joy of his friends.

After his visit at Mr. Mott's, he spent two days with the writer, and then took his departure for Boston, evidently feeling quite conscious of the wonderful feat he had performed, and at the same time it may be safely said that those who witnessed this strange resurrection were not only elated at his success, but were made to sympathize more deeply than ever before with the slave. Also the noble-hearted Smith who boxed him up was made to rejoice over Brown's victory, and was thereby encouraged to render similar service to two other young bondmen, who appealed to him for deliverance. But, unfortunately, in this attempt the undertaking proved a failure. Two boxes containing the young men alluded to above, after having been duly expressed and some distance on the road, were, through the agency of the telegraph, betrayed, and the heroic young fugitives were captured in their boxes and dragged back to hopeless bondage. Consequently, through this deplorable failure, Samuel A. Smith was arrested, imprisoned, and was called upon to suffer severely, as may be seen from the subjoined correspondence, taken from the New York Tribune soon after his release from the penitentiary.

(Video) Road to Freedom: South Mountain Underground Railroad


[Correspondence of the N.Y. Tribune.]


Samuel A. Smith, who boxed up Henry Box Brown in Richmond, Va., and forwarded him by overland express to Philadelphia, and who was arrested and convicted, eight years ago, for boxing up two other slaves, also directed to Philadelphia, having served out his imprisonment in the Penitentiary, was released on the 18th ultimo, and arrived in this city on the 21st.

Though he lost all his property; though he was refused witnesses on his trial (no officer could be found, who would serve a summons on a witness); though for five long months, in hot weather, he was kept heavily chained in a cell four by eight feet in dimensions; though he received five dreadful stabs, aimed at his heart, by a bribed assassin, nevertheless he still rejoices in the motives which prompted him to "undo the heavy burdens, and let the oppressed go free." Having resided nearly all his life in the South, where he had traveled and seen much of the "peculiar institution," and had witnessed the most horrid enormities inflicted upon the slave, whose cries were ever ringing in his ears, and for whom he had the warmest sympathy, Mr. Smith could not refrain from believing that the black man, as well as the white, had God-given rights. Consequently, he was not accustomed to shed tears when a poor creature escaped from his "kind master;" nor was he willing to turn a deaf ear to his appeals and groans, when he knew he was thirsting for freedom. From 1828 up to the day he was incarcerated, many had sought his aid and counsel, nor had they sought in vain. In various places he operated with success. In Richmond, however, it seemed expedient to invent a new plan for certain emergencies, hence the Box and Express plan was devised, at the instance of a few heroic slaves, who had manifested their willingness to die in a box, on the road to liberty, rather than continue longer under the yoke. But these heroes fell into the power of their enemies. Mr. Smith had not been long in the Penitentiary before he had fully gained the esteem and confidence of the Superintendent and other officers. Finding him to be humane and generous-hearted—showing kindness toward all, especially in buying bread, &c., for the starving prisoners, and by a timely note of warning, which had saved the life of one of the keepers, for whose destruction a bold plot had been arranged—the officers felt disposed to show him such favors as the law would allow. But their good intentions were soon frustrated. The Inquisition (commonly called the Legislature), being in session in Richmond, hearing that the Superintendent had been speaking well of Smith, and circulating a petition for his pardon, indignantly demanded to know if the rumor was well founded. Two weeks were spent by the Inquisition, and many witnesses were placed upon oath, to solemnly testify in the matter. One of the keepers swore that his life had been saved by Smith. Col. Morgan, the Superintendent, frequently testified in writing and verbally to Smith's good deportment; acknowledging that he had circulated petitions, &c.; and took the position, that he sincerely believed, that it would be to the interest of the institution to pardon him; calling the attention of the Inquisition, at the same time, to the fact, that not unfrequently pardons had been granted to criminals, under sentence of death, for the most cold-blooded murder, to say nothing of other gross crimes. The effort for pardon was soon abandoned, for the following reason given by the Governor: "I can't, and I won't pardon him!"


Excerpted from Slave Narratives of the Underground Railroad by Christine Rudisel, Bob Blaisdell. Copyright © 2014 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


Henry Box Brown: Arrived by Adams' Express [William Still],
William Wells Brown: Narrative of William Wells Brown, a Fugitive Slave (excerpts),
James Hambleton Christian: Ex-President Tyler's Household Loses an Aristocratic "Article" [William Still],
Theophilus Collins: Arrival from Delaware, 1858: A Desperate, Bloody Struggle—Gun, Knife and Fire Shovel, Used by an Infuriated Master [William Still],
Seth Concklin: An Abolitionist in the Underground [William Still],
William and Ellen Craft: Female Slave in Male Attire, Fleeing as a Planter, with Her Husband as Her Body Servant [William Still],
Frederick Douglass: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) (Chapter 11),
Abram Galloway and Richard Eden: Blood Flowed Freely: Two Passengers Secreted in a Vessel Loaded with Spirits of Turpentine—Shrouds Prepared to Prevent Being Smoked to Death [William Still],
Margaret Garner: The Slave Mother Who Killed Her Child Rather Than See It Taken Back to Slavery [Levi Coffin],
Charles Gilbert: Fleeing from Davis, a Negro Trader, Secreted Under a Hotel, Up a Tree, Under a Floor, in a Thicket, on a Steamer [William Still],
Arnold Gragston: "How Their Grandpa Brought Emancipation to Loads of Slaves" [Federal Writers' Project American Guide, Pearl Randolph],
Samuel Green, alias Wesley Kinnard: Ten Years in the Penitentiary for Having a Copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin [William Still],
Jamie Griffin, alias Thomas Brown: Slave-Holder in Maryland with Three Colored Wives [William Still],
Harry Grimes: Arrival from North Carolina, 1857—Feet Slit for Running Away, Flogged, Stabbed, Stayed in the Hollow of a Big Poplar Tree, Visited by a Snake, Abode in a Cave [William Still],
James Hamlet and Others: The Slave-Hunting Tragedy in Lancaster County, in September 1851: Treason at Christiana [William Still],
Eliza Harris: The Slave Woman Who Crossed the Ohio River on the Drifting Ice with Her Child in Her Arms [Levi Coffin],
Josiah Henson: The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself (1849) (excerpts),
John Henry Hill: Five Years and One Month Secreted [William Still],
Ann Maria Jackson and Her Seven Children: Arrival from Maryland, 1859 [William Still],
Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) (excerpts),
Jane Johnson: Trial of the Emancipators of Col. J. H. Wheeler's Slaves, Jane Johnson and Her Two Little Boys [William Still],
Lew Jones, Oscar Payne, Mose Wood, Dave Diggs, Jack, Hen, and Bill Dade, and Joe Ball: Arrival from the Old Dominion: Nine Very Fine "Articles" [William Still],
Reverend J. W. Loguen: Letter from His Old Mistress and His Reply [The Liberator],
Matilda Mahoney and Dr. J. W. Pennington's Brother and Sons: Arrivals from Different Places: Captured and Carried Back [William Still],
Margaret: Born on a Slave Ship [Eber M. Pettit],
Mary Frances Melvin, Eliza Henderson, and Nancy Grantham: Arrival from Virginia, 1858 [William Still],
Aunt Hannah Moore: "Seeing a Ray of Hope She Availed Herself of the Opportunity to Secure Her Freedom" [William Still],
Alfred S. Thornton: Arrival from Virginia, 1858 [William Still],
Sojourner Truth: Narrative of Sojourner Truth (1850) (excerpts) [Olive Gilbert],
Harriet Tubman: Harriet Tubman: The Moses of Her People (excerpts) [Sarah Bradford] & "Moses" Arrives with Six Passengers [William Still],
Philip Younger: "Escape from Alabama Is Almost Impossible" [Benjamin Drew],
Appendix: The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850: "An Act Respecting Fugitives from Justice, and Persons Escaping from the Service of Their Masters" [United States Congress],

Customer Reviews


What is the main idea of this slave narrative? ›

Typically, the American slave narrative centres on the narrator's rite of passage from slavery in the South to freedom in the North. Slavery is documented as a condition of extreme deprivation, necessitating increasingly forceful resistance.

What are 5 characteristics of slave narratives? ›

Other distinguishing characteristics of the slave narrative are its simple, forthright style; vivid characters; and striking dramatic incidents, particularly graphic violence and daring escapes, such as that by Henry "Box" Brown, who packed himself into a small crate and was shipped north to waiting abolitionists.

What was the Underground Railroad short summary? ›

The Underground Railroad was a network of people, African American as well as white, offering shelter and aid to escaped enslaved people from the South. It developed as a convergence of several different clandestine efforts.

What is the most famous slave narrative? ›

The best-known and most influential book by a freedom seeker was "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," which was first published in 1845.

Which statement is true of slave narratives? ›

Which statement is true of slave narratives? They depict the thoughts, aspirations, and experiences of enslaved people.

What is the turning point in a slave narrative? ›

Then, the battle that was “the turning-point of (his) slave career” (p 268) happened when he decided to fight back. This was something that was not common at all, especially for a mild mannered slave like Douglass, but he was not going to be violently abused any longer.

Who was the first woman to write a slave narrative? ›

Morgan Freeman, Narrator: In the 1850s, Harriet Jacobs began to pen an autobiography she would call INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL. She would become the first woman to write a slave narrative -- published works written by African Americans who had escaped lives of bondage.

How many slave narratives are there? ›

The slave narrative is a type of literary genre involving the (written) autobiographical accounts of enslaved Africans, particularly in the Americas. Over six thousand such narratives are estimated to exist; about 150 narratives were published as separate books or pamphlets.

Why are there so few first-person slave narratives? ›

why are there so few first-person slave narratives? Protestants in England destroyed most of them, claiming them to be offensive. France's records remain largely intact.

What does the ending of Underground Railroad mean? ›

Ridgeway takes Cora prisoner again. At this point, the novel cuts away to reveal Mabel's fate. Although most of the people Cora has asked about her mother, and even Ridgeway himself, have insisted that Mabel must be living in Canada, a brief chapter at the close of the novel reveals that she never made it to freedom.

What does the Underground Railroad symbolize? ›

The Underground Railroad supposedly symbolised a journey to freedom, from the slave south to the free north.

Does the Underground Railroad still exist? ›

Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum

Ashtabula County had over thirty known Underground Railroad stations, or safehouses, and many more conductors. Nearly two-thirds of those sites still stand today.

What were popular slave names? ›

A number of names such as Henry, Jim, Tom, John, George, Stephen appeared multiple times and seem to be the most common. Women and girls: Priscilla, Julia, Mary, Evaline, Eliza, Ellen Nora, Hannah, Amanda, Ann, Charlotte, Chaney, Kitty, Jane, Lucy, Mary Evans, Emily, Nancy, Betty, Luan, Fanny, Eliza Cole.

What happened to slaves if they were caught reading? ›

In most southern states, anyone caught teaching a slave to read would be fined, imprisoned, or whipped. The slaves themselves often suffered severe punishment for the crime of literacy, from savage beatings to the amputation of fingers and toes.

Who reads slave narratives? ›

Harriet Beecher Stowe was, of course, the best known early reader of these narratives. Her two chief sources were Bishop Meade's Sketches of Old Virginia Family Servants and the narrative of Josiah Henson, the model for Uncle Tom.

Are slave narratives reliable? ›

Until the middle of the twentieth century, slave narratives were not considered proper sources for the study of slavery. Ulrich B. Phillips, the first major historian of slavery to make extensive use of plantation records, deemed them inauthentic and biased.

Who started slavery? ›

Sumer or Sumeria is still thought to be the birthplace of slavery, which grew out of Sumer into Greece and other parts of ancient Mesopotamia. The Ancient East, specifically China and India, didn't adopt the practice of slavery until much later, as late as the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC.

Why did abolitionists end slavery? ›

Most early abolitionists were white, religious Americans, but some of the most prominent leaders of the movement were also Black men and women who had escaped from bondage. The abolitionists saw slavery as an abomination and an affliction on the United States, making it their goal to eradicate slave ownership.

Why are the slaves so fearful of Mr Covey? ›

Why are the slaves so fearful of Mr. Covey? They never know when he will sneak up on them. He likes to slither through the grass and catch them sitting doing nothing.

What prompts Linda escape? ›

What prompts Linda to make the decision to escape? She learns that the Flints are going to take her children in order to control her.

Who was the first runaway slave? ›

1. Henry “Box” Brown.

What year did slavery end? ›

The House Joint Resolution proposing the 13th amendment to the Constitution, January 31, 1865; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789-1999; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives.

What were the punishments for running away the first 4 times? ›

What were the punishments for running away the first 4 times? The punishment for running away were a brand of an "R" on both cheeks, ear severing and horrible physical mutilation. How did some slaves fight back against inhumane treatment, especially during harvest time? They would burn down barns.

How do you read a slave narrative? ›

How to Read a Slave Narrative - YouTube

What are the limitations of the slave narratives? ›

The Limitations of the Slave Narrative Collection: Race and Representativeness. It is probable that the interviewer's race affected an informant's response. As noted earlier, the staffs of the Writers' Projects in the states in which former slaves were interviewed were overwhelmingly white.

Why is it important to read slave narratives? ›

The slave narratives provided the most powerful voices contradicting the slaveholders' favorable claims concerning slavery. By their very existence, the narratives demonstrated that African Americans were people with mastery of language and the ability to write their own history.

Why do we study slave narratives? ›

Slave narratives and their fictional descendants have played a major role in national debates about slavery, freedom, and American identity that have challenged the conscience and the historical consciousness of the United States ever since its founding.

What happened to the babies in Underground Railroad? ›

But then she begins to call the babies her own and Mabel warns Moses and Connelly that Polly is not mentally stable. They ignore Mabel's pleas and warnings and even slap her and then the worst happens. Polly murders the babies and then takes her own life.

Where is Cora at the end of the Underground Railroad? ›

Cora is captured by Ridgeway and Homer. She leads them to the abandoned underground railroad station, where she escapes by throwing both herself and Ridgeway down the stairs leading to the track. She follows the track until it ends in a cave.

What happens to Cora at the end of Underground Railroad? ›

Cora does get a taste of freedom at the end of The Underground Railroad. She manages to find a wagon that is drive by a Black man who is heading west. He offers her a ride, but she's not too certain about him at first. That's not surprising considering how some of the Black people have reacted in the past.

What was the secret code for the Underground Railroad? ›

The code words often used on the Underground Railroad were: “tracks” (routes fixed by abolitionist sympathizers); “stations” or “depots” (hiding places); “conductors” (guides on the Underground Railroad); “agents” (sympathizers who helped the slaves connect to the Railroad); “station masters” (those who hid slaves in ...

What did slaves call their master? ›

Enslaver versus Master, Owner, or Slaveholder

An enslaver exerted power over those they kept in bondage. They referred to themself as a master or owner - hierarchical language which reinforced a sense of natural authority.

How long was Cora in the attic? ›

Douglass made his way north by jumping onto a moving train and posing as a free man, while Jacobs spent nearly seven years hiding in an attic; Cora escapes enslavement on a rail line and spends several months hiding in an abolitionist's attic.

How many slaves got caught in the Underground Railroad? ›

According to some estimates, between 1810 and 1850, the Underground Railroad helped to guide one hundred thousand enslaved people to freedom. As the network grew, the railroad metaphor stuck. “Conductors” guided runaway enslaved people from place to place along the routes.

Who was the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad? ›

Our Headlines and Heroes blog takes a look at Harriet Tubman as the most famous conductor on the Underground Railroad. Tubman and those she helped escape from slavery headed north to freedom, sometimes across the border to Canada.

Who is the leader of the Underground Railroad? ›

HARRIET TUBMAN – The Best-Known Figure in UGR History

She made by some accounts 19 or more rescue trips to the south and helped more than 300 people escape slavery.

What do you call a female slave? ›

handmaiden. (also handmaid), lackey, menial, servant.

What were common female slave names? ›

The most common of 603 names of female Slaves were Bet, Mary, Jane, Hanna, Betty, Sarah, Phillis, Nan, Peg, and Sary. Private names used in the quarters included Abah, Bilah, Comba, Dibb, Juba, Kauchee, Mima, and Sena.

What are black last names? ›

The most common last names were English ones, like Johnson, Williams, Jackson, Brown, Jones, Smith, Richardson, and others. In 2011, Washington was even called the blackest name in the country in several op-eds citing the U.S. Census. Heartbreakingly, some African-Americans still wear their enslaved past in their name.

Did slaves get days off? ›

Slaves were generally allowed a day off on Sunday, and on infrequent holidays such as Christmas or the Fourth of July. During their few hours of free time, most slaves performed their own personal work.

What were the 2 types of slaves? ›

Temple slavery, state slavery, and military slavery were relatively rare and distinct from domestic slavery, but in a very broad outline they can be categorized as the household slaves of a temple or the state. The other major type of slavery was productive slavery.

Was it illegal to teach slaves to read and write? ›

Before the 1830s there were few restrictions on teaching slaves to read and write. After the slave revolt led by Nat Turner in 1831, all slave states except Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee passed laws against teaching slaves to read and write.

What is the most famous slave narrative? ›

The best-known and most influential book by a freedom seeker was "The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave," which was first published in 1845.

What was the first slave narrative? ›

The earliest slave narrative to receive international attention was the two-volume Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789), which traces Equiano's career from West African boyhood, through the dreadful transatlantic Middle Passage, to eventual freedom and economic ...

What is slave narrative in African literature? ›

The slave narrative is a type of literary genre involving the (written) autobiographical accounts of enslaved Africans, particularly in the Americas. Over six thousand such narratives are estimated to exist; about 150 narratives were published as separate books or pamphlets.

What was one horror that Douglass experienced during his childhood? ›

8. What was one horror that Douglass experienced during his childhood? Suggested answer: Answers may vary but should mention an incident from Douglass's time as a slave. Students may mention that Douglass was separated from his family, suffered chronic hunger, or witnessed violence against his family, for example.

What are the characteristics of a slave? ›

Historically, there are many different types of slavery including chattel, bonded, forced labour and sexual slavery. The key characteristics of slavery are ones generally agreed such as the loss of freedom of movement and legal rights.

How do you read a slave narrative? ›

How to Read a Slave Narrative - YouTube

How many slave narratives were written? ›

The roughly sixty-five to seventy slave narratives published in America or England between 1760 and 1860 were windows into the nature of slavery itself; they were first-person witnesses to the will to be known and the will to write among a people so often set apart and defined out of the human family of letters.

Why are there so few first-person slave narratives? ›

why are there so few first-person slave narratives? Protestants in England destroyed most of them, claiming them to be offensive. France's records remain largely intact.

What is Douglass's purpose for writing this narrative? ›

Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography mainly to persuade readers that slavery should be abolished. To achieve his purpose, he describes the physical realities that slaves endure and his responses to his life as a slave.

What is ironic about the slaves when they talk about their masters with other slaves? ›

What's is ironic about the slaves when they talk about their masters with other slaves? they fight about whose master is the kinder even if the master isn't kind at all.

How were slaves punished when they spoke badly of Colonel Lloyd? ›

The slave responds that his owner is Colonel Lloyd, and that he is not treated well. Several weeks later, the slave is chained and sold to a Georgia slave trader for the offense to Lloyd. This is the punishment, Douglass concludes, that awaits slaves who tell the truth.


2. Harriet Tubman: Rescued Over 300 Slaves through Underground Railroad | Biography
(Weird World)
4. The Underground Railroad (Documentary)
5. Heroes of the Underground Railroad | Kentucky Life | KET
(KET - Kentucky Educational Television)
6. How The Underground Railroad Worked
(Second-Hand Topics)

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