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Table of Contents
The “Underground Railroad” was the code name for a secret organization who helped slaves escape from the bondage of slavery in the southern slave states to freedom in the free states: Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
See the fact file below for more interesting facts on the Underground Railroad or alternatively, you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- The emergence of the Underground Railroad took place in 1831 during the presidency of Andrew Jackson.
- Andrew Jackson was the 7th American President and served in office from March 4, 1829 to March 4, 1837.
- During his presidency, there were harsh penalties for fugitive slaves and their helpers.
- Slaves had been trying to escape from slavery for many years but the “Underground Railroad” only started as an organization in 1831.
- The movement was run by a variety of people which included white abolitionists, free blacks, freed slaves and fugitive slaves.
- The majority of slaves were not happy with their lives in slavery and the way they were treated by their high handed white masters.
- Some slaves faked sickness, engaged in self-mutilation or destroyed property to protest against slavery.
- Some slaves even managed to escape from captivity.
- The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 made the state to which the fugitive slave belonged responsible for hunting and recovering said slave.
- This was, however, ignored by the government and citizens of free states where the anti-slavery sentiments were very strong.
- To avoid being captured by slave catchers, even in free states, many slaves chose to seek refuge in Canada where slavery was illegal.
- The Underground Railroad was a network of routes and safe houses that were used by slaves to escape slave states.
- Various railway terms and phrases were used by the supporters of this movement in order to inconspicuously describe components of the system.
- People who led the slaves along the route were called “conductors”.
- Hideouts and homes where slaves hid along the way were called “stations” or “depots”.
- Even people who helped by giving money and food were called “stockholders”.
- A single conductor was responsible for transporting passengers from one station to the other after which the passengers were handed over to the next conductor.
- To safeguard the secrecy of routes, all conductors knew only about their area of concern.
- Fugitives and their conductors travelled only at night and often walked a distance of 30 miles per night to reach a station where they could safely rest and hide during the daylight hours.
- The most common route for people to escape was into the northern United States or Canada however some slaves in the deep south escaped to Mexico or Florida.
- Long and arduous escape routes that stretched hundreds of miles across difficult terrain were established.
- Swamps and bayous were favored as escape routes as few people inhabited such areas. Occasionally, transportation such as horses, wagons or boats were provided.
- An estimated 100,000 slaves used the Underground Railroad to escape from slavery.
- Among the most prominent and active leaders of the movement was Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave.
- She helped many fellow slaves escape from slavery and made 13 trips to the south to help free more than 70 slaves.
- Other notable railroad workers were abolitionists John Brown, Levi Coffin and Frederick Douglass.
The Underground Railroad Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use Underground Railroad worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about The “Underground Railroad” which was the code name for a secret organization who helped slaves escape from the bondage of slavery in the southern slave states to freedom in the free states: Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- The Underground Railroad Facts
- Slave Law
- Railroad Terms
- Describe it!
- Famous People
- Word Jumble
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Link will appear as The Underground Railroad Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 4, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.