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The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

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The Underground Railroad

55 pages
15 minutes
Sep 27, 1999


By ones, twos, and threes, in the years before the Civil War thousands of enslaved people slipped through the night on their way to freedom, riding the Underground Railroad. Hidden and hunted, the escape of southern slaves to the North remains a compelling event in American history. Within the pages of this book are documented, in prose and elegantly articulate photographs, examples of "stations" on the Railroad, along with images of the routes, lives, and hardships of both the "passengers" and "conductors."
Sep 27, 1999

À propos de l'auteur

Raymond Bial is an acclaimed photoessayist for children. Four of his books were chosen as Notable Books in the Field of Social Studies by the NCSS. He lives in Urbana, Illinois, with his wife and children.

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Aperçu du livre

The Underground Railroad - Raymond Bial


Title Page





The Underground Railroad

Chronology of the Antislavery Movement in America

Further Reading


About the Author

Copyright © 1995 by Raymond Bial

All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to trade.permissions@hmhco.com or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.


The Library of Congress has cataloged the print edition as follows:

Bial, Raymond.

The underground railroad / Raymond Bial.

p. cm.

1. Underground railroad—Juvenile literature. 2. Fugitive slaves—United States—History—19th century—Juvenile literature.

I. Title.

E450.B53 1995 94-19614

973.7'115—dc20 CIP


ISBN 978-0-395-69937-9 hardcover

ISBN 978-0-395-97915-0 paperback

eISBN 978-0-547-52982-0


This book is respectfully dedicated to the workers on the Underground Railroad who daily risked their lives to help others and to those who continue to carry forward the flickering light of liberty.


Because the Underground Railroad had to operate in deep secrecy, many basic facts about its history are unknown. No one knows exactly how many men and women were involved in the railroad or how many fugitives were assisted by those committed to the cause.

Certainly, tens of thousands of slaves, aided by more than 3,200 railroad workers, escaped to the northern states and Canada, and today scores of little towns from Maine to Iowa have their secrets about the railroad. It’s usually a story talked about at the café or a footnote in a local history book about a runaway who was hidden in an old barn at the edge of town; the child who slipped under a bed when the slave catcher knocked on the door; the husband and wife who held their breath in the attic while the sheriff searched for them downstairs; or the house up the street with a tunnel through which fugitives were smuggled out late at night. Passed down through the generations, the stories are as varied as the people who worked with the Underground Railroad in those years before the Civil War when slavery was not only tolerated but upheld by law.

It was important to me to visit these places, not just to make photographs but to stand on the very ground of the slave cabins where men, women, and children were held in bondage, to gaze on the courthouse yard where human beings

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