There is an underground railroad from Mexico to the US where undocumented immigrants escape.
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There is a long tradition of slavery in the United States. Slavery was originally introduced to slaves by white European colonists shortly after their arrival in North America.
Slavery was a sad time in history as it often happened through cruelty and oppression. Slaves were also forced to share an extremely tight space, where all contact between them and the overseer was physical, due to the abusive personalities of their owners.
In his book, “‘ Economic Life in Russia and America,'” George Foster noted that slave owners didn’t have to invest any time or money into their slaves and often lived an upper-class lifestyle. This system incentivized them to keep slaves as long as they made steady revenue. Even though the slave owner never spent a lot of time with the slave, they still had free food and lodging provided by the slaves themselves!
Slaves could be freed, but escape was not an easy task. Slaves, however, had unforgiving and difficult lives. The punishment given to slaves who try to escape is even worse than the punishment they faced while doing their jobs. Slaves who attempted escape were often caught and punished, sometimes even killed by slave catchers and their dogs known as bloodhounds.
The American anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman was a humanitarian and activist. She escaped slavery in 1849 and was the first woman to make a documented solo trip from North Carolina through Maryland and Virginia to Washington, D.C. between 1851 and 1852 as part of the Underground Railroad.
Harriet Tubman is an iconic figure in American history. Part of her fame stems from her success while living as a fugitive throughout the country during slavery. Harriet was not only a conductor on the Underground Railroad; she became known as the “conductor at midnight” because she often helped runaway slaves escape during the wee hours of the night.
Slaves were often organized into groups called “The Underground Railroad” which took them out of the southern states and into more northern states, like Canada and the Northern United States. Without these stations along our route of travel, these people would have been forced to walk for miles with all their valuable belongings on their backs.
As the Underground Railroad was a dangerous and uncertain journey, slaves traveled at night because they couldn’t afford to be seen during the day and needed to remain hidden. While walking, they hoped that someone might come across them without noticing them, or eventually they would be able to escape what was often only a cramped, windowless, mud-floored shack where slaves lived with little more than a week’s worth of rice and corn to eat.
It was common for fugitive slaves to escape to areas where Europeans were absent. Some blacks were able to form communities in different areas called “maroons” during the Revolutionary War, whereas others were able to make agreements with the Indians. Because they slow others down too much, conductors sometimes throw people from their journey.
Harriet Tubman started her journey on the Underground Railroad as a conductor in 1849. It is said that Harriet Tubman was the only conductor who had never run his train off track or lost any passengers. Harriet Tubman died at the age of 95, but she is still considered a hero today.
It is impossible for us to accept the idea that Harriet Tubman was the only Underground Railroad conductor. It is important to recognize that there were many others, as well as Harriet herself, for without their assistance, slavery might still have existed and our country would not be number one in the world. Let us remember this day to thank these brave individuals for standing up!
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