Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad
About the Underground Railroad
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Did slaves live in all parts of Maryland?

Slaves lived in every county of Maryland. Counties with large farms or plantations had the greatest number of slaves. These were: Anne Arundel, Charles, and Prince George's Counties.

In the city of Baltimore, slavery was disappearing before the Civil War. Baltimore had the largest free black population of any city in the country. By 1860, four years before slavery ended in Maryland, 212,418 free blacks lived in Baltimore and only 2,218 slaves.

Free blacks built churches and schools. Some owned businesses and worked in the skilled trades. Many were poor because they earned low wages. Although they were free, they did not have all the rights that white people did. For example, free blacks could not vote or hold public office. Public schools did not admit black students.

Find historic data for Maryland and its counties in Figure It Out, our interactive timeline.

Why did slaves run away?

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