Underground Railroad

 

For black slaves in America, the road to freedom was a long and difficult one.  The Underground Railroad was, of course, not a railroad at all.  It was simply a network of Americans, both black and white, dedicated to destroying the institution of slavery by helping individual slaves escape to freedom.  The story of the Underground Railroad is filled with danger and drama, tragedy and triumph, evil slave hunters and unsung heroes. 

We feel this is a topic that should be taught for children to understand what happened to these brave men and women during the time of the Civil War.  The Underground Railroad was a significant part of history.  We want children to learn what happened back then to prevent this hatred from reoccurring again.  Of course, it is hard to teach exactly what the Underground Railroad signified to young children, but we can teach them about what it means to take leadership and become a hero such as Harriet Tubman, William Wells Brown, Thomas Garrett, Susan B. Anthony, Levi Coffin, and Fredrick Douglass, just to name a few.

We feel there are many important reasons why teachers should teach about this topic in their classrooms.  The primary importance of the Underground Railroad was that it gave ample evidence of African American Capabilities and gave expression to African American philosophy.  Perhaps the most important factor or aspect to keep in mind concerning the Underground Railroad is that its importance is not measured by the number of attempted or successful escapes from American slavery, but by the manner in which it consistently exposed the grim realities of slavery and, more important; refuted the claim that African Americans could not act or organize on their own.

The second importance of the Underground Railroad was that is provided an opportunity for sympathetic white Americans to play a role in resisting slavery.  It also brought together, however uneasily at times, men and women of both races to begin to set aside assumptions about the other race and to work together on issues of mutual concern.  At the most dramatic level, the Underground Railroad provided stories of guided escapes from the South, rescues of arrested fugitives in the North, complex communication systems, and individual acts of bravery and suffering.

Lessons

Heroes - Harriett Tubman

Quilts and the Underground Railroad

Fugitive Slave Law

Mapping the Routes

History of Slavery

Importance and Purpose of the Underground Railroad

Handouts

To Be A Slave

Drama

Math

Science

Reading

Social Science

Writing

Music

Annotated Bibliography

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