Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

Eric Foner


The dramatic tale of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the legislation to aid them achieve freedom.

More than the other student, Eric Foner has encouraged our realizing of America's heritage. Now, making tremendous use of amazing proof, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once more reconfigures the nationwide saga of yankee slavery and freedom.

A deeply entrenched establishment, slavery lived on legally and commercially even within the northern states that had abolished it after the yankee Revolution. Slaves should be present in the streets of recent York good after abolition, touring with vendors doing enterprise with the city's significant banks, retailers, and brands. big apple was once additionally domestic to the North’s greatest loose black group, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves looking safe haven. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed the town, seizing loose blacks, frequently teenagers, and sending them south to slavery.

To guard fugitives and struggle kidnappings, the city's loose blacks labored with white abolitionists to prepare the hot York Vigilance Committee in 1835. within the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated through the North and started participating to dispatch fugitive slaves from the higher South, Washington, and Baltimore, via Philadelphia and long island, to Albany, Syracuse, and Canada. those networks of antislavery resistance, founded on ny urban, grew to become referred to as the underground railroad. compelled to function in secrecy through antagonistic legislation, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad brokers helped greater than 3,000 fugitive slaves achieve freedom among 1830 and 1860. formerly, their tales have remained mostly unknown, their value little understood.

Building on clean evidence―including an in depth checklist of slave escapes secretly stored by means of Sydney Howard homosexual, one of many key organizers in New York―Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping historical past. the tale is inspiring―full of memorable characters making their first visual appeal at the ancient stage―and significant―the controversy over fugitive slaves infected the sectional trouble of the 1850s. it will definitely took a civil conflict to damage American slavery, yet right here eventually is the tale of the brave attempt to struggle slavery by means of "practical abolition," individual by way of individual, relatives by way of family.

24 pages of illustrations

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