The Underground Railroad in Cincinnati

The history of the Underground Railroad is rich with stories of people who helped blacks escape slavery in the south to freedom in the northern states, Florida, Mexico, and most often, Canada.

Because the possibility of discovery and the penalties for helping fugitive slaves were so great, much of the activity of the Underground Railroad is unknown. Many of the stories we have today are available only through the oral history of a family or location. Many of these stories have been written down, collected and published. However, first-person, written accounts are rare.

What is known is that fugitive slaves were helped along their journey by courageous people - men and women, black and white, free and fugitive - in a loosely connected network of safe houses known as the "Underground Railroad." Others voiced their opinions and beliefs by publishing newspapers, speaking at assemblies or in churches, or giving money to the cause.

Discover the secrets of the Underground Railroad.

Some vocabulary words you'll need to know:
  • Abolitionist: Some who felt slavery was wrong and worked to end, or abolish, it
  • Fugitive: an escaping slave
  • Network: a system of connected lines, tracks or people
  • Underground: secret

Here's a worksheet you can use to gather your information:

Use the links on the left to find information about the Underground Railroad.

Enjoy your journey!