Black History Month: The Underground Railroad

Black History Month: The Underground Railroad – Information about the underground railroad and archived sources in recognition of Black History Month.

February is Black History Month, and since I’ve been researching the Underground Railroad for my book over this last week or so, it seemed appropriate to share some of this information with you today.

You may already know (I didn’t!) that the reason this secret network of individuals, safe houses, secret routes, and transportation acquired the name “Underground Railroad” is because they used railroad terminology to communicate, in a sort of code.

For example:

  • Safe houses were “stations.”
  • Safe house owners who hid slaves in their homes were called “station masters.”
  • Fugitive slaves were known as “passengers” or “cargo.”

A candle in a window, or a quilt hung in a certain location, were sometimes used to identify safe houses.

Many escaped slaves escaped to the free states and then went on to Canada and their descendents still live here today. This map shows the various routes taken by the underground railroad to reach Canada.


For more information on the Underground Railroad:

Photo credits: Routes of the Underground Railroad, 1830-1865 and The Underground Railroad by Charles T. Webber, 1893 via Wikimedia Commons