‘The Only Free Road:’ Black Heroes Who Freed Slaves Through The Underground Railroad

“The only free road, the Underground Railroad, is owned and managed by the Vigilant Committee. They have tunneled under the whole breadth of the land.” — Henry David Thoreau

February is called “Black History Month,” but in typical leftist fashion Democrats often celebrate corrupt individuals like Marxist Malcolm X and Barack Obama rather than black American heroes like Booker T. Washington and Medgar Evers.

The Underground Railroad operated approximately from the late 1700s through the 1850s, up till Abraham Lincoln issued the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War. During that time, tens of thousands of slaves escaped from slave states to free states through the aid of heroic Americans who risked imprisonment and even death to bring enslaved men and women to freedom. Today I am going to highlight just a few of those brave “conductors” and “station masters” on the anti-slavery network called the Underground Railroad.

There are, of course, many white heroes of the Underground Railroad who ensured the slaves could reach freedom. In this article, I am going to focus in more detail on a few black heroes of the Underground Railroad, however.

Elijah Anderson

Ohio river town Madison, Indiana, became an important crossing point for fugitive slaves because of blacksmith Elijah Anderson and other middle-class black citizens of Madison. Anderson, called “General Superintendent” of the Underground Railroad, was black but light-skinned enough that he could fool people into thinking he was actually a white slave owner, which proved very useful when penetrating into slave-owning areas. He took numerous trips in Kentucky, eventually had to flee anti-black violence in Madison, and saved 800 more slaves before he was caught and imprisoned. He was sadly found dead in his jail cell in suspicious circumstances on the very day in 1861 when he was supposed to be released, losing his life in the cause of freedom.

William Still

Wilmington was the last Underground Railroad station in the slave state of Delaware.  From there, fugitive slaves went to William Still’s Philadelphia office.  Still was a free-born black man, the youngest of 18 children, and the chairman of the Vigilance Committee of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.  This society distributed food and clothing to escapees, raised funds, helped coordinate slave escapes, and “served as a one-stop social services shop for hundreds of fugitive slaves each year.” Still is called the “Forgotten Father of the Underground Railroad”. And Still aided free blacks through other work, too—helping them succeed economically (he saw business as a way for black Americans to conquer the odds), advocating for equal civil rights, including the right to vote, and fighting segregation.

Harriet Tubman

The Smithsonian said Tubman’s “almost superhuman physical courage enabl[ed] her to travel into the lion’s den to rescue friends and family, all the time facing re-enslavement or worse, and winning her the admiration and fascination of generations since.” 

She was impressive not only because of the number of people she brought to freedom and safety, but because all the odds seemed against her escaping identification.  She was chased by slave catchers herself when she became a fugitive slave, she soon became famous and had a distinctive scar on her forehead.

She also was illiterate, meaning she had to memorize all intelligence given to her, being unable to read it or write it down.  Yet she was never caught.  Since Tubman was a woman of deep faith, it has often been said that God miraculously guarded her so that she could be like “Moses” leading her people to freedom. She even became the first woman to help lead troops into battle.

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Posted by CatSalgado32

Catherine Salgado is a columnist for The Rogue Review, a Writer for MRC Free Speech America, and writes her own Substack, Pro Deo et Libertate. She received the Andrew Breitbart MVP award for August 2021 from The Rogue Review for her journalism.

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