Harriet Tubman Underground Railway Byway

It was the manifest courage of a woman that would change the lives of others and ultimately impact a country. Born into slavery on the Eastern shore of Maryland in 1822, Harriet Tubman fled her captors in 1849, traveling under cloak of night to freedom. Instead of remaining in safety, Tubman spent the next decade making treacherous journeys, risking life and limb, to bring her family and friends to freedom. Hiding by day and traveling by night through open fields, rivers, swamps, and woodlands, Tubman stealthily moved from Philadelphia into Maryland 13 times, guiding more than 70 people to freedom without ever being caught. She is now recognized as one of the most prolific and famous conductors of the Underground Railroad, the organized and illegal secret network of people, places, modes of transportation, and methods of disguise, developed largely by the Quakers to assist enslaved African Americans on their flight to freedom. At great risk to everyone’s lives, African Americans were hidden in Quaker homes, barns and buildings, (called stations), handed off between various members of the network, and mile by mile, sent further north at each stop. This system is memorialized on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, the journey that celebrates Tubman’s life and legacy as it traces the routes taken by thousands on a quest to ultimately reach the Canadian border and the assurance of safety. Follow the path the freedom seekers used to escape, and reflect on the lives of ordinary people who did extraordinary things to help their pursuit of freedom. Discover the links to the historic communities along the way that still carry both painful and triumphant memories of the precarious mid-Atlantic passages to emancipation. Yet, this is not just the story of one woman. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway is a record of African Americans’ struggle for human rights and dignity over time. It was the start of today’s Civil Rights movement, and the quest for equality, freedom, and justice for all.

In Pursuit of Freedom

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