For the past three years or maybe even four I have been working on a project about the Underground Railroad. One particular aspect that seems interesting to me is its connection with the whaling industry at Mystic Seaport, CT.
As a kid when I learned about the Underground Railroad the thought amazed me. I literally pictured it as train tracks or railroad tracks that were under the ground. Kind of like the NYC subway. Not so! It was a network of secret routes and safe houses in the 19th century. The height of the movement was between 1850 and 1860 and by the year 1850 nearly 100,000 slaves escaped via the Railroad. It consisted of meeting points, routes that were kept secretive, and safe house that provided assistance aided by abolitionist. The resting spots where runaways could sleep and eat were given the code names "stations" and "depots." Travel could be by boat or train but mostly was done by foot.
Slaves would run north along certain routes that were meant to confuse slave catchers. Most escapes were by small groups and individuals. The journey was particularly dangerous and difficult for women and small children however many still participated, such as Harriet Tubman.
I'm afraid of many of things! Being confined is one especially on airplanes. I enjoy my freedom so the thought of being owned I can not fathom! Sometimes I do wonder what I would have done if I had been a slave. If I would try to escape or just ride it out. Considering I'm a fighter and sometimes accused of being stubborn ( haha!) there are times I would think I would just try to escape. Of course its easy for me to say that since I am not faced with that situation. It would be a difficult decision. But the chance for freedom that would be a big incentive.
Below are a few drawings and paintings I did of a family escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad.