Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad:

Freedom trail with system of paths and spirituals to guide those to the promise land.

The Underground Railroad was a system of secret routes and stops in the United States from the early to late nineteenth century. It was used by enslaved people who escaped to free states and Canada. Churches, schools, and private houses served as stations along the route. Conductors led fugitive slaves to stations and hiding places. Songs and spirituals were passed down to give directions without slave masters catching on to the idea of escaping slaves

Fugitive Slave Poster
Fugitive Slave Poster circa 1852. Courtesy of Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT

Talcott Street Church was a site on the Underground Railroad.  Christopher L. Webber notes in his biography of Pennington: “He could not, however, avoid the constant demands on his time that went with the Talcott Street Church’s reputation as a primary station on the Underground Railroad. The fugitives would always arrive destitute and needed time and care to be prepared for the next stage on the Railroad” (237-8).  Hartford, Windsor, Farmington and Newtown were stations for the state of Connecticut. James Pennington’s homes in Hartford and Newtown were major stations as well. Families would come in the middle of the night to stay before settling somewhere else.

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