Sample Conductor of Freedom Worksheet
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Conductor of Freedom
By Sandra Wilson
1 History is filled with the names of heroes who put their lives on the line for people they don't know. Soldiers are a big portion of this group, as are fire fighters and police officers. Another group of people who fit into this class are those who worked on the Underground Railroad. They helped slaves escape from slavery in the southern States to freedom in the North. A Canadian, Dr. Alexander Milton Ross, was one of the conductors of the Underground Railroad who risked his life to bring freedom to people he didn't even know.
2 It is believed that Quakers began the Underground Railroad movement in 1804. The Quaker beliefs opposed slavery, and so they constructed a complicated network of escape routes that led the slaves to freedom in Canada. Although there was not an actual railroad, underground or above, the Underground Railroad had "passengers" or "cargo" which meant the fugitive slaves; "depots" and "stations" representing transfer points or hiding places; "station-masters" and "conductors" which were the people who helped the slaves and ran the "stations;" "lines" or "tracks" were the routes; "stock holders" were the people who supported the movement with money or supplies; and "terminals" were the final destination points. The use of these terms caused many to believe that there were actual trains moving slaves from the South to Canada. More than three thousand two hundred active workers have been recorded as working in the Underground Railroad, and there is no way to estimate how many were never identified.
3 Conductors on the Underground Railroad would either travel with slaves or would travel to the South and spread the word to slaves about the Railroad and freedom. Some conductors would give them directions, money, the password, and disguises. Some personally led the slaves to freedom.
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