Essay on The Most Secret Community

Submitted By swizlerswzler
Words: 839
Pages: 4

Jesse Rilea
Mr. Litle
ENG 102
5 March 2015
The Most Secret Community The unknown first fugitive, the softly stepping men and women who dared the dangers of swamps and mountains and of cold and rain, the outstretched hands of friends, the disguises, the courage, the gunshots along the border, and a long invisible “train” which chugging so silently while billowing invisible smoke- all these proved irresistible. It was they who really broke the chains of slavery and the Underground Railroad. The name is believed to have come from a furious slaveholder whose slave disappeared after crossing a river. The slave's name was Tice Davids, who eventually became a conductor on the railroad. The slaveholder said that Tice must have gone on an Underground Railroad. Obtaining an understanding of the Underground Railroad is often key to feeling pride in our country and its stride at overcoming ethnic discrimination. Slavery had lain like a terrible sore on our country for two hundred years. Many were ashamed of this while those who weren't basked in its luxuries. Slave smuggling had became so profitable that the master of a slave ship could permit nine slaves out of ten to die from neglect and still lose no money. The Black Africans who were enslaved fought against it from the start. Men like Thomas Jefferson, who prepared the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, tried to have slavery outlawed. To abolish slavery meant to abolish profits which were astronomical, profits which were shared North and South. But to not abolish slavery struck at some of the deepest principles of Americans. At this time, until the crash of the Civil War, no issue was as important as slavery. It divided homes, it spoke for the conscience, it made political parties, it challenged religion, and it turned men into brutes and into heroes. It created the Underground Railroad. Undoubtedly the goal of the organization was to transport as many enslaved African Americans to the northern states and Canada as possible. Means of accomplishing this goal included a system of personnel who coded their text and language to disguise their operations. The operators called themselves conductors, stationmasters, brakemen, and firemen. These were people who met fugitive slaves (passengers) and guided them along their way, giving them directions, leading them on foot or by horse, or smuggling them in carts and carriages. Conductors and stationmasters were often free blacks, or poor farmers, but they could also be wealthy, well-known citizens. They called their homes “depots” and “stations”. Stations were places where runaways could stop and rest, getting a meal and a night’s sleep, and perhaps fresh clothing or other help. It might be a barn, church, farmhouse, or a secret room in a town home. Anyone that was instrumental to the Underground Railroad's accomplishments kept their involvement in the community a secret, as they were often harmed when discovered. When traveling the Underground Railroad everything was done as secretly and confusing as possible. Pathways might zigzag and cut through steams and even double back on themselves. Routes were often changed at the last moment, just in case word got out. There were even “wild-goose chase” routes, where a person would tell the slave catcher that the fugitive went one way, when in actuality they had…