Full of true stories more dramatic than any fiction, The Underground Railroad: A Reference Guide offers a fresh, revealing look at the efforts of hundreds of dedicated persons—white and black, men and women, from all walks of life—to help slave fugitives find freedom in the decades leading up to the Civil War.
"I never went off track and I never lost a passenger." So boasted Harriet Tubman when speaking of the nearly 20 times she led Southern slaves to freedom along what came to be known as the Underground Railroad. Hers is just one of the many compelling stories to emerge from what is now regarded as the first sustained act of American civil disobedience.
The Underground Railroad provides the richest portrayal yet of the first large scale act of interracial collaboration in the United States, mapping out the complex network of routes and safe stations that made escape from slavery in the American South possible.
Kerry Walters' stirring account ranges from the earliest acts of slave resistance and the rise of the Abolitionist movement, to the establishment of clandestine "liberty lines" through the eastern and then-western regions of the Union and ultimately to Canada. Separating fact from legend, Walters draws extensively on first-person accounts of those who made the Railroad work, those who tried to stop it, and those who made the treacherous journey to freedom—including Eliza Harris and Josiah Henson, the real-life "Eliza" and "Uncle Tom" from Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
• Original documents, from key legislation like The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 to first-person narratives of escaping slaves
• Biographical sketches of key figures involved in the Underground Railroad, including Levi Coffin, William Lloyd Garrison, Robert Purvis, and Mary Ann Shadd
• Provides the most current, fully researched, yet exciting and accessible account of the Underground Railroad for both students and general readers
Portrays the Underground Railroad as an interracial, predominantly nonviolent campaign of civil disobedience, in which escaping slaves played an active role in their own liberation
• Includes coverage of the roughly half dozen all-black settlements organized in Canada by fugitive slaves, including the one established by Josiah Henson, the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom"