The Path to Freedom

The Path to Freedom

Raja Boudali, Journalist

The Underground Railroad was a passage for slaves to reach freedom. Now don’t be fooled by the name, the Underground Railroad was not underground nor a railroad. I know, it’s surprising.


The Underground Railroad was a metaphor for a network of people and safehouses that helped people escape slavery. The Underground Railroad was founded around 1780 and was used between 1800 and 1865. The “conductors” of the Underground Railroad were free individuals that helped slaves on their way through the Underground Railroad from station to station and to freedom at last. The path to freedom was not an easy one though. The slaves had to get to the railroad first, then, they had help from conductors sometimes. The slave owners would often post a missing notice in the newspaper about a runaway slave. On the route of the railroad, the conductors would lead the group of run-away slaves as they had slave catchers right on their tails. The slaves had to avoid authorities for even weeks before reaching safety. If the slaves did get caught the owner would have to pay a fee to release them from jail and that didn’t make it any easier on the slaves.


The paths of the Underground Railroad went north to the free states and Canada. Free states included Ohio, Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan and ten other states. The Underground Railroad also went south to Mexico and the Caribbean. The railroad even went out to the west. It takes about twenty two days to go from Florida to Maine on foot which might give you an idea on how long and how perilous it would take to escape slavery. Though if you were in Florida, it would probably be easier to go to the Caribbean or Mexico instead. Harriet Tubman was one of the most famous railroad conductors. She had many tricks and strategies for helping slaves escape, such as leaving on Saturdays- two days before slave owners were allowed to post notices in the newspaper. She also bragged about never losing a passenger, rescuing about seventy people.


In a short summary, the Underground Railroad was an incredible creation with many wonderful people helping slaves escape. The railroad has done more good than can be described, and helped countless people have a free life.