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 legislations to assist them achieve freedom.

More than the other student, Eric Foner has stimulated our figuring out of America's historical past. Now, making extraordinary use of striking facts, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once more reconfigures the nationwide saga of yank 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 might be present in the streets of latest York good after abolition, touring with vendors doing enterprise with the city's significant banks, retailers, and brands. manhattan used to be additionally domestic to the North’s greatest loose black neighborhood, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves looking shelter. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed the town, seizing unfastened blacks, frequently little ones, and sending them south to slavery.

To shield fugitives and struggle kidnappings, the city's unfastened blacks labored with white abolitionists to prepare the hot York Vigilance Committee in 1835. within the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated during 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 manhattan urban, grew to become often called the underground railroad. compelled to function in secrecy via adverse legislation, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad brokers helped greater than 3,000 fugitive slaves achieve freedom among 1830 and 1860. in the past, their tales have remained mostly unknown, their value little understood.

Building on clean evidence―including a close list of slave escapes secretly saved 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 old stage―and significant―the controversy over fugitive slaves infected the sectional concern of the 1850s. it will definitely took a civil warfare to wreck American slavery, yet right here finally is the tale of the brave attempt to struggle slavery through "practical abolition," individual through individual, kinfolk via family.

24 pages of illustrations

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