Some slaves managed to escape to the North and into Canada to a free life. Others escaped and returned to help others. Those who attempted to escape often did so by using navigation techniques by following the North Star and using landmarks. Spirituals were often used to set up meetings, express a plan of escape, and as a means to communicate between slaves in secret without overseers and slave owners knowing. The Battle Plan for Lesson 3 analyzes the hidden meanings of spirituals.
Some escaped slaves chose to help others. By using the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses, slaves could escape to the North and into Canada to freedom. Abolitionists and escaped slaves helped others reach freedom. Harriet Tubman became one of the most famous conductors of the Underground Railroad.
Interactive Websites and Games
For more information on the Underground Railroad and interactive activities, check out the sites below.
Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad is a great website providing information on the Underground Railroad as well as activities such as your own escape from slavery, mapping out the routes of the Underground Railroad, creating your own quilt block, and decoding secret messages. The General's top picks are "Follow the Footsteps," "Secrets: Signs and Symbols," and "Eyewitnesses to History." Click the link, http://pathways.thinkport.org/flash_home.cfm, to scope out the site.
Scholastic's "The Underground Railroad: Escape to Slavery" is another interactive site for students to have a chance to escape slavery and learn more about the Underground Railroad. Scope out the site, http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/bhistory/underground_railroad/,
and discover the secrets of the Underground Railroad for yourself.
Harriet Tubman Facts
Harriet was born as Araminta Ross. Her nickname was "Minty".
Harriet suffered a head injury when an overseer threw a heavy metal at a runaway slave and instead hit Harriet in the head. Because of her injury, she suffered from sleeping spells. She would suddenly fall asleep, and it was difficult to wake her up. She began to have dreams that she believed were signs from God.
Harriet's faith is why she risked her life to guide other slaves to freedom.
Tubman was considered the "Moses" of her people.
Tubman and her fugitive slaves were never captured, partly because she carried a handgun for protection and as a means to "encourage" the fugitives to never give up.