Harriet Tubman, known as "the Moses of her people," is the most well-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, which she founded after a harrowing escape from slavery. The success of the Underground Railroad was dependent on a vast network of about 3,200 conductors, who helped approximately 100,000 slaves find their way to freedom.Continue Reading
One of the other most well-known conductors was Frederick Douglass, a famed anti-slavery activist who escaped slavery himself when he was a teenager. He worked as a conductor on one of the final stops on the Underground Railroad.
Another conductor, Thomas Garrett, worked closely with Harriet Tubman and the other conductors. A Quaker from Delaware, Garrett opened his home to slaves once they had been led out of Maryland. He then encouraged many of the escapees to continue on to Philadelphia where the abolitionist movement was strong.
Samuel Burress, a free black man born in Delaware, worked as a conductor despite the heightened risk for free black men to work the Underground Railroad. He was caught smuggling slaves from Maryland and sentenced to be sold for servitude for seven years. An abolitionist named William Still bought him at auction and took him back north, saving him from slavery.Learn more about US History