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The Underground Railroad: Authentic Narratives and First-Hand Accounts

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  350 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In the winter of 1852, a group of Philadelphia abolitionists dedicated to assisting runaway slaves in their flight to freedom formed a new assistance group to be part of the Underground Railroad—the General Vigilance Committee. William Still, himself a son of slaves, was named its secretary and executive director. Deeply moved by the stories of the fugitive slaves he helpe ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 25th 2007 by Dover Publications (first published June 1872)
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Monique
Feb 10, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: kindle-book
This book is FREE on kindle right now
Susan
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was very glad to make an acquaintance with this huge collection of slave escape narratives, in first-hand accounts. It's not an easy read. It took me a concentrated couple of hours just to figure out how it is organized. And the sheer number of human stories is overwhelming!

William Still was an excellent writer for his time and a very literate writer for any time. That said, his sentence structure is in the formal Victorian style that makes reading George Eliot or Henry James challenging.

Wha
...more
Andrew Anderson
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW!

This begs one simple question; and we were the ones considered savages and in need of saving? Wow! Thanks to those who assisted us in seeking the freedom that God intended for all men, regardless of race. Still applicable today.
Jason
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Profound source material for the operation of the Underground Railroad, especially through Philadelphia. William Still was on the Vigilance Committee in that city and welcomed many of those escaping slavery. From each arrival he took a brief account of their adventures on The Road, as well as their hardship under slavery.

Still's writing makes use of the abolitionist rhetoric of his day with such phrases as "the no-pay system" and "seeker of Freedom". The language can be challenging because it i
...more
Roberta
Feb 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My homeschooled daughter is interested in the Underground Railroad, so we checked this book out of the public library to use for "real life" discussions. The letters and stories are so fascinating, and so sad, at times. What bravery extended for the welfare of another soul!
Royce Ratterman
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read for personal research - found this book's contents helpful and inspiring.
A good book for the researcher and enthusiast.
Melodee
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent history of the Underground Railroad, with details of slaves' escapes.
Peter Michael
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This 1972 book, still in print, contains a large portion of all known first-hand accounts of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and is invaluable in research.
Joanne
Oct 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
First Hand Accounts - excellent reading.
Tom
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First published in 1872, the 2007 edition I read is a selection of first hand interviews Mr. Still conducted with escaped slaves as they arrived in Philadelphia between 1850 and 1860. Many of the stories are augmented by newspaper accounts. There are also trial transcripts and accounts of the heroic actions by members of the Under Ground Rail Road and a copy of the Fugitive Slave Bill of 1850 and the Organization of the Vigilance Committee. One aspect I missed was an overall picture of the struc ...more
Sarah
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(extensive!) Notes written by a member of the Vigilance Committee as he welcomed each runaway slave to Philadelphia and sent them on to Canada. Much more effective than all the fiction I've read about slavery in communicating the absolute inhumanity of this period. But also, heart-warming to read about the people, mostly white, who put themselves in danger to help runaways.' Always look for the people helping '.
Mary
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book. Not an easy read because the subject matter is so difficult. Love a book that makes you think and feel!!
Lynette  Lee (J.Kirby)
This book is a compilation of letters, interviews, and other primary sources of Underground Railroad conductors, abolitionist, and fugitive slaves. Here, American slavery is brought to life. These accounts give testament of how slaves were treated, why they chose to runaway, and how they make there way up North. Furthermore, the conductors tell their stories of how they aided the fugitive slaves, the risk that they took in doing so, and how they fought day and night to rid the nation of oppressi ...more
Sarah Crawford
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is a rather long but still very interesting book. It centers on a Vigilance Committee in Philadelphia and what they did to help slaves escape from the South. (A source I read said about 100,000 slaves eventaully escaped from the South but that's out of around 4 million that were there in the first place.)

The book consists of basic information and very specific information related to specific slaves that escaped and came through the committee's work. Some of the major points in the book incl
...more
Jamie Casey
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After a hurricane shortened our vacation at the beach, we went on a little side trip and experienced first hand the lands and marshes and waters navigated by Freedom Seekers. Although some travelled even further from the South our tour only began in Cambridge, Maryland. What an amazing experience coupled with materials we found at the Cambridge Welcome Center, an audio tour and then to read these real life accounts of so many brave and undaunted souls. How cruel humans can be to their own kind n ...more
Shira
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
p. 182 has picture ((Phil: Porter and Cotes, 1872) edition) of Anne Maria Weems. Her daring escape from slavery disguised as an Abolitionist's driver is heroic, and should be remembered and taught as an example of cooperation to be emulated.

William-James-MEOW Date: 6.8.12,014 H.E.
Sissy Van Dyke
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-books
I'm sorry, Anne Frank, it is impossible to read this book, or your own history, and continue to believe "that people are really good at heart."
Maureen
Feb 29, 2012 rated it liked it
A bit overwhelming at the moment...read only about a half dozen of the stories...what I did read was interesting.
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William Still is youngest child of Levin and Sidney Steel. He lived as a slave with his parents and seventeen brothers and sisters. Levin, Still's father escaped slavery in Maryland for freedom in New Jersey. Still's mother escaped later with the children, changing the family name to Still. She changed her first name to Charity.

When Still was 23, he left the family farm in New Jersey for Philadelp
...more
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