Pathways to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad
Pathways to Freedom: For Parents
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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Tips for using the Pathways to Freedom Website

Many people and places throughout Maryland played fascinating and critical roles in the story of slavery, abolitionism, and the Underground Railroad. Maryland's location as a border state, and as the birthplace of two of the most important figures of the movement, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, and its unique geography, offer unparalleled opportunities to connect to history.

This part of the site is strictly for families. It contains tips and activities that can be the start of authentic learning adventures in history. We encourage you to take the entire family on this thought-provoking journey through history, either online or through related activities and visits.

If you are a parent who is home schooling, you should also take a look at our Teacher Tips.

While this site offers a wide range of activities, please be aware of what your child can appreciate and handle. For example, the "Eyewitness to History" section contains moving first-person narratives from people who escaped from slavery. While an eighth grader might be able to appreciate these, the material is probably too graphic for most younger children.

Similarly, the interactive journey, "Following the Footsteps", presents a realistic picture of the difficult decisions and frightening events that a run-away slave might encounter. To make the most of this site, you should preview the content and visit the site with your child.

There are ways to share this material with a younger child. You might want to take a small portion of the site, preferably a section with pictures, and use it to jump-start a storybook or an activity. For example, the "Secrets, Signs and Symbols" section contains lots of information about the ways in which quilts were used to send secret messages. You could use that section as a starting point for making a quilt of your own (out of fabric or paper). Ask you child to invent the code.

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