James L. Roark et al., The American Promise: A History of the United States, vol. 1, 2nd edition (Boston: Bedford / St. Martin's, 2002).
Outside the public spotlight, free African Americans in the North and West contributed to the antislavery cause by quietly aiding fugitive slaves. Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery in Maryland in 1849 and repeatedly risked her freedom and her life to return to the South and escort slaves to freedom. Few matched Tubman's heroic courage, but when the opportunity arose, free blacks in the North provided fugitive slaves with food, a safe place to rest, and a helping hand. This ‘underground railroad' ran mainly through black neighborhoods, black churches, and black homes, an outgrowth of the antislavery sentiment and opposition to white supremacy that unified virtually all African Americans in the North. While a few fortunate southern slaves rode the Underground Railroad to freedom in the North, millions of other Americans uprooted their families and headed west.