THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD
What Was the Underground Railroad?
The Underground Railroad was a loose network of northerners in favor of antislavery. They were mostly Black individuals, who illegally helped freedom seekers reach safety in Free States, Canada, parts of Florida, Cuba, the Caribbean, Mexico, and out west, during the period before the Civil War.
Underground : Under the cover of secrecy
Helpers : Conductors
Safe Houses: Stations
SCULPTURES OF FREEDOM
Gateway to Freedom International Memorial
This sculpture of freedom seekers gazing across to Canada was sculpted by Ed Dwight. Dedicated in 2001, this sculpture pays tribute to all who helped freedom seekers. Sculpted by the same artist, gazing across the Detroit River back at the memorial is the Tower of Freedom Memorial in Windsor, Ontario. The Tower of Freedom Memorial embodies the feeling of relief and overwhelming joy of the moment freedom seekers finally became truly free.
Fugitive Slave Acts
1793 & 1850
In 1850, because of the new Fugitive Slave law, everything changed. If a freedom seeker escaped to a free state, the law required that that person must be sent back to its owner. Anyone aiding an escaped slave would be punished by law. Thus, the Underground Railroad was needed more than ever. Under this law a slave could not testify on their own behalf, nor were they allowed a trial by jury. Slaves were seen as property owned by their masters and were treated as such. Unfortunately many freedom seekers and free Blacks were kidnapped and returned to plantations for reward by Bounty Hunters. The Fugitive Slave Act was eventually repealed by Congress in 1864.