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You are currently a slave on a plantation in the South. Your body, time, and most of your thoughts belong to a plantation owner that you are making rich.

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Presentation on theme: "You are currently a slave on a plantation in the South. Your body, time, and most of your thoughts belong to a plantation owner that you are making rich."— Presentation transcript:


2 You are currently a slave on a plantation in the South. Your body, time, and most of your thoughts belong to a plantation owner that you are making rich with your labor. You have never experienced freedom, and you never expected to until now. Your thoughts have changed due to the whispers of attempted escapes aided by the Underground Railroad. This dangerous escape means freedom, but it also comes with great challenges… Do you take the risk? Think About: What you would have to leave behind, what you have to risk, what struggles you will face…Is it worth it? Why or why not?

3 After the Mexican-American War has ended and America has achieved “manifest destiny,” something must be done with the newly admitted states. Slave or free? Wilmot Proviso- All newly acquired territories will be free Attack on South! Rejected by the Senate. Compromise of 1850- South threatens secession if something cannot be done Make a compromise: hoped it would settle “all questions in controversy between the free and slave states, growing out of the subject of slavery”

4 NORTH California will be admitted as a free stateBOTH Popular Sovereignty in New Mexico and Utah The right of residents to vote for or against slavery SOUTH Fugitive slave law

5 Plantation owners persuaded Congress to pass this act because of the large numbers of slaves escaping to the North. Any Federal marshal who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave could be fined $1,000. Any person helping a runaway slave by providing shelter, food, etc. was liable to six months in prison and a fine of $1,000. *This act failed to stop the Underground Railroad. *This act failed to stop the Underground Railroad.

6 The fugitive slave law would become an important element for the South. As tensions over slavery grew and abolitionists became stronger, slaves received aid from others to escape the bondage of slavery. Infuriated by the Fugitive Slave Act, some Northerners resisted it by organizing vigilance committees to send endangered African Americans to safety in Canada. Others resorted to violence to rescue fugitive slaves. Southern slave owners are enraged at Northern resistance! Southern slave owners are enraged at Northern resistance!

7 Committees sprang up in the bigger cities in the northern part of the United States. Solicited money, organized and provided food, lodging, and assisted fugitives in finding employment.

8 As time went on, free African Americans and white abolitionists developed a secret network of people who would, at great risk to themselves, aid fugitive slaves in their escape. The Underground Railroad This network became known as The Underground Railroad The UR was not run by any one organization of people – consisted of many individuals, Some whites, but mostly other African Americans. South lost about 100,000 slaves

9 1. Physical Punishment 2. Psychological Abuse 3. Endless Hours of Hard Labor 4. Separation of Families Why Slaves Ran Away

10 Conductor This was the leader who knew the way, i.e. Harriet Tubman Passenger The passenger or passengers were the slaves escaping. Station This would be indicated by a light in the window as symbol of safe home used as a hideaway. Some slaves were hidden in barns or behind secret tunnels in certain stations along their way. The Station Master Were mostly free people of color or wealthy whites. The white benefactors provided food, shelter, or money along the way for the escaping runaways.

11 Money was donated to the cause by vigilance societies, other abolitionists. Paid for: Travel by trains, boats, ships, and wagons. Appearance improvements, new clothes.

12 First: ESCAPE! “Conductor” posing as a slave, entered the plantation. Journey always started at nightfall.

13 This escape to the North meant a fugitive slave would be faced with a life of hardship, with little food, infrequent access to shelter or medical care and the continuous threat of local sheriffs, slave catchers and lynch mobs.

14 MOST runaways returned, could not endure the hardships of fugitive life.

15 Escaped/Freed Slaves were taken to court for breaking the fugitive slave law… Could not testify on their own behalf Were not allowed the right to a jury or a trial. WHEN convicted, sent back to the plantations they tried to escape from. Faced verbal abuse, beatings, sale to another master, separation of families, and even death.

16 Travel between 10 and 20 miles a night. Days used to rest, eat, send messages to next station.

17 Could not read or write Illegal to teach a slave to do so Slave Codes used instead… Slave codes took the form of songs, pictures, phrases instead of writings. secrecy Became essential to teach secrecy – even children were brought up to value a secret.

18 “Quilts” were also a significant code to help point fugitive slaves toward freedom. Images and stitching/knotting told where to go, distance, etc. These would be left along fences, hung out of windows – seemingly to “dry” Common site for plantations Provided messages of where to go and how. Slave quilts contained secret information like map routes and the distances between safe houses. Using the quilts and code words, the slaves could effectively communicate nonverbally with each other and aid each other to escape.

19 In groups of five, you will be analyzing these “quilt codes.” Each group will have 5 different quilts to analyze. 1. When I say “GO!” you will open the folder, take one minute to examine the quilt, then jot down what you think you see and what message that quilt was trying to portray to a runaway slave. 2. Then, when I say “SWITCH” you will close you folder and pass it to the person to your LEFT. 3. You will repeat these steps until you receive your original quilt. Then, you will have approximately 5 minutes to come up with your final idea on a quilt that I will assign you. We will reconvene as a class and see if you got them right!






25 What do all of these quilts have in common? How would you know of these symbols? Would you be able to tell what these quilts are symbols for if you did not already know? WHY WERE THESE “CODES” SO IMPORTANT TO THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD? WHY WERE THESE “CODES” SO IMPORTANT TO THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD?

26 What does this map tell you about the routes that fugitive slaves took?

27 four On your notesheet, please respond to the following question with at least four supporting facts: WHY WAS THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD SUCCESSFUL?

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