‘Underground railroad,’ as defined by Raleigh Register

“Whatever its origin, the phrase soon became ubiquitous…. By 1853, the New York Times could observe that ‘the underground railroad’ had ‘come into very general use to describe the organized arrangements made in various sections of the country, to aid fugitives from slavery.’

“That same year, a North Carolina newspaper [the Raleigh Daily Register] offered its own definition: ‘An association of abolitionists whose first business is to steal, or cause to be stolen, seduced or inveighed…. slaves from southern plantations…. to steal [a slave] from an indulgent and provident master, to carry him to a cold, strange, and uncongenial country, and there leave him… to starve, freeze and die, in glorious freedom.’ ”

— From “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad” by Eric Foner (2015)

 

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