When is a railroad not a railroad?

Originally posted on Bite Size Canada:

Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitioni...

Harriet Tubman, an African American abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The exterior of the Slave Pen, the fo...

The exterior of the Slave Pen, the focal point of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The underground railroad is neither underground, nor an actual railroad. Underground was akin to today’s deals on the side in that much of it was secret. And railroad referred to the code used.

It was actually a network of secret routes and safe houses used by back slaves in the United States to escape and go to free states and Canada. Some led to Mexico and even overseas. The term is also used in reference to abolitionists and allies, both white and black, both free and enslaved, who brought aid to the fugitives.

It consisted of meeting points, secret routes, transportation, safe houses and help provided by abolitionist sympathizers. Individuals were often made…

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