Underground Railroad (Boyer, 2001)

Paul Boyer and Sterling Stuckey, The American Nation: Civil War to Present (Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2001), 25.
Slaves constantly protested their bondage, both through group and individual actions. Several small uprisings took place in the early 1800s. Then, in 1831 Nat Turner organized a violent revolt in Virginia. Turner and his followers killed some 60 whites before being captured. These uprisings led southern states to pass stricter slave codes that further limited slaves’ activities.

Other methods of protest included disrupting the plantation routine through such tactics as faking illness or working slowly. Some slaves ran away and tried to gain their freedom in the North. Assistance came from the Underground Railroad, a network of white and African American people who helped escaped slaves reach the North. Escaped slave Harriet Tubman was the most famous and successful “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. She made at least 19 trips and escorted more than 300 slaves to freedom. “There was one of two things I had a right to,” she stated. “Liberty or death: if I could not have one, I would have the other; for no man would take me alive.”
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