Beginning in the 1830s, individuals sympathetic to the plight of runaway slaves formally organized what became known as the Underground Railroad. The moral conflict created by the institution of slavery compelled many brave people, including Harriet Tubman, to compromise their own safety in order to help runaways network their way to safety. An estimated 100,000 slaves reached free states in the North or in Canada. Tensions, however, between North and South grew to such heights that the Civil War began in 1861. Centuries before the Underground Railroad, slavery became embedded in the New World during European colonization. Along with the forced enslavement of the Natives, the continent of Africa was also tapped as a slave source. It was very dangerous to attempt escaping from slavery, and a more organized method was needed.
One attempt to emancipating slaves was when a sea captain named Jonathan Walker compromised his own safety to help seven slaves reach the British West Indies in 1844. He got caught and was put in jail for a year. The Underground Railroad was first introduced in 1831 when a slave escaped to Ohio and his owner blamed an “underground railroad” for helping slaves escape. A Washington newspaper stated that a fugitive revealed his plan of escaping the South, following an “underground railroad” to Boston. When Harriet Tubman arrived in the North, she had pity on the slaves in the South who were getting punished, so she went back to the south to help slaves get to the North, including her family. Levi Coffin was later on known as the “President of the Underground Railroad”, because he helped thousands of slaves to freedom.Harriet Tubman sang songs that contained secret messages that referred to escape routes for the slaves, such as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. People like Levi Coffin and his wife, came onboard with the movement.
White slave owners eventually found out that people like Harriet Tubman were helping slaves escape. To prevent any slave from thinking or following through any ways of escaping, the masters neglected from teaching them how to read or write.The Underground Railroad had a big impact on the next couple of years. John Parker was a black man in Ohio.
He was a foundry owner who helped fugitives cross the Ohio River. He was likewise known to make his way into Kentucky and enter territories to help slaves escape. As time passed after the operation of the Underground Railroad, slaves found hope in escaping slavery.The operations of the Underground Railroad finally came to an end on 1963, during the Civil War. In fact, its effort moved above ground as a part of the Union effort against the Confederate States of America. The 14th and 15th amendments granted the Africans rights and outlawed discrimination.
Harriet Tubman played a very significant role in leading the slaves to freedom. During 10 years, she made 19 journeys to the South and guided over 300 slaves to independence. Many believe slavery is gone today.
The Underground Railroad is not just about how it helped the Africans escape the South. It is about humans considering one another in spite of our own risks. Harriet Tubman did not have great education, but she had the will and determination to rescue many people. This changed the slaves’ life, and made her a world-wide hero.