The Underground Railroad was perhaps the best example in U.S. history of blacks and whites working together for the common good. People of the Underground Railroad is the largest in-depth collection of profiles of those individuals involved in the spiriting of black slaves to freedom in the northern states and Canada beginning around 1800 and lasting to the early Civil War years. One hundred entries introduce people who had a significant role in the rescuing, harboring, or conducting of the fugitives—from abolitionists, evangelical ministers, Quakers, philanthropists, lawyers, judges, physicians, journalists, educators, to novelists, feminists, and barbers—as well as notable runaways. The selections are geographically representational of the broad railroad network.
There is renewed interest in the Underground Railroad, exemplified by the new National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and energized scholarly inquiry. People of the Underground Railroad presents authoritative information gathered from the latest research and established sources, many of them from period publications. Designed for student research and general browsing, in-depth essay entries include further reading. Numerous sidebars complement the entries. A timeline, illustrations, and map help put the profiles into context.