Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad
Eyewitness to History
about the underground railroad
following the footsteps
eyewitness to history
figure it out
mapping it out
secrets: language, signs and symbols
create a quilt block
living history
underground railroad library
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James Pennington
Harriet Tubman
Frederick Douglass
Caroline Hammond
Josiah Henson
Charles Ball
Teacher Tips

Steal away...

Harriet Tubman Deciding to try to escape slavery was very complicated. Living as a slave was extremely hard. But escaping meant leaving family behind.
It also might lead to eventual capture, punishment, and sometimes, even death.

The resources here will help you see how people made this complicated decision. They include:
  • autobiographies, or life stories written by the people who lived them.
  • biographies, or life stories written by others.
  • interviews with former slaves, conducted in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)
Frederick Douglass and John Pennington Historians call these resources primary source documents or primary sources. They all provide clues to the past. By piecing them together, historians can form a more complete and accurate picture of past events.

As you read, you will notice questions and facts labeled in the left column. These labels will help guide your reading and identify the type of information presented:

    Right ThereRight There — The answer is stated in the text

    Think and SearchThink and Search — Combine information highlighted with other things you've read and thought

    On Your OwnOn Your Own — Bring your own perspective to the ideas presented in the text

    Bonus FactBonus Fact — Extra information related to the text

    DefinitionDefinition — These clues help you unlock the meaning of certain words in the text

For all the documents, keep this focus question in mind: "What were some of the factors people had to consider as they thought about escaping from slavery?" It is a complex question, and, as you will find, there are many answers.

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