How Did Slaves Travel Along the Underground Railroad?


Quick Answer

Slaves travelled along the Underground Railroad by employing certain tricks that involved forging travel papers that indicated that they were free or hiding in shipping cargo boxes. In other instances, slaves borrowed the documents of freed black friends to facilitate their movement along the Underground Railroad.

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Full Answer

Frederick Douglas, one of the black slaves who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad, rode a train from Baltimore to New York. Douglas used travel documents that he borrowed from a free black sailor in Baltimore. Upon arrival in New York, he mailed the documents back to his friend. The fear of having slaves forge travel documents to use in traveling along the Underground Railroad was one of the reasons some slave owners were against the education of slaves.

Abolitionists and other free black people smuggled slaves from the South using freight containers. They packed boxes with slaves and transported them along the Underground Railroad to the north where they attained freedom. For example, a slave woman traveled along the Underground Railroad in the winter of 1857 from Baltimore to Philadelphia in a box inside a container. The journey was so perilous that the recipient of the box, Mrs. Myers, was convinced that the young woman was already dead. Mrs. Myers was originally from Baltimore and facilitated the escape of many slaves from the South through the Underground Railroad.

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