The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a secret network of homes, roads, and businesses set up to help enslaved African Americans escape to freedom. Several memorials and museums remind us today of the Underground Railroad and the courage of all who participated in it.
- The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2004. Cincinnati was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Thousands of people crossed the Ohio River to freedom and many stayed in Cincinnati for a few days or even a few months before going further north.
- The museum features interactive exhibits, a library, a theater, and other displays all designed to encourage Americans to think about what freedom means, both in the past and today.
- In the center of the museum is a 21 x 30 foot, two-story log building—a “slave pen,” as it was called. This prison was owned by Captain John Anderson, a Revolutionary War veteran and a slave trader. He used it to hold people until he took them to auction to be sold. Men were chained to a wall in the upstairs room, while women were kept on the first floor.
- The first names of some of the people who were held in the jail are written on a wooden post.
- After Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery, she repeatedly made journeys to rescue other slaves and became one of the most well-known “underground railway conductors.” She risked her life to save more than 70 people. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Park in Maryland honors her legacy and offers interactive exhibits about Tubman’s life.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had an active slave trade for many years, but it was also a city in which many people opposed slavery. The National Park Service has established a tour with numerous churches and homes that played a role in the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia.
- Abolitionist: someone opposed to slavery
- Conductor: train leader
Questions and Answers
Question: Are there other memorials for the Underground Railroad?
Answer: Yes. The National Park Service has identified and preserved more than 600 sites connected to the Underground Railroad. Some locations include New York, Detroit, and Massachusetts.
Discover more locations for the Underground Railroad.