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The Underground Railroad: A Reference Guide
     

The Underground Railroad: A Reference Guide

by Kerry Walters
 

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Full of true stories more dramatic than any fiction, The Underground Railroad: A Reference Guide offers a fresh, revealing look at the efforts of hundreds of dedicated persons—white and black, men and women, from all walks of life—to help slave fugitives find freedom in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

• Original documents, from

Overview

Full of true stories more dramatic than any fiction, The Underground Railroad: A Reference Guide offers a fresh, revealing look at the efforts of hundreds of dedicated persons—white and black, men and women, from all walks of life—to help slave fugitives find freedom in the decades leading up to the Civil War.

• Original documents, from key legislation like The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 to first-person narratives of escaping slaves

• Biographical sketches of key figures involved in the Underground Railroad, including Levi Coffin, William Lloyd Garrison, Robert Purvis, and Mary Ann Shadd

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As an explanatory text that describes the Underground Railroad, Walters does an excellent job, creating a flowing and well-written narrative. In reference aspects, it provides a basis for study." - ARBA

"This is a moving and, at times, wrenching account of the trials and tribulations of slaves escaping along the Underground Railroad. . . . This book tells the history of this organization in a highly readable style by weaving personal narratives, contemporary newspapr articles, and various laws enacted to keep people in bondage before the civil war. . . . This book would enhance any American History collection." - Library Media Connection

"Owing to the decades' worth of material analyzed here, this historical reference work will make a suitable guide and starting point for students and general readers alike. Secondary and other general collections should consider it for purchase." - Library Journal

"This book, part of the Guides to Historic Events in America series, brings into perspective what the Underground Railroad did and how it operated. . . . Recommended for school and public libraries." - Booklist

Library Journal
Walters (philosophy, Gettysburg Coll.; The Sane Society: Benjamin Franklin and His Gods) introduces the men and women who used peaceful means to combat slavery in America, acknowledging that "the literature on the Underground Railroad is vast.... [T]his volume aims to do little more than offer readers an introduction to the movement." He describes the "railroad," a system of escape routes for slaves fleeing from the South into the northern United States and Canada as "civil disobedience...against the abomination of slavery." The title opens with a chronology spanning 1619, when the first slaves were brought to America at Jamestown, VA, to the end of the railroad in 1870. The introduction discusses legal issues such as those relating to the U.S. Constitution, the Fugitive Slave Acts, and related laws. The remaining five chapters, each of which offers a source list, discuss many of the reasons for and means and personalities of the movement. The biographies section contains brief profiles of, for example, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Henry Bibb, and Daniel Drayton. The annotated bibliography has numerous print and nonprint sources listed. VERDICT Owing to the decades' worth of material analyzed here, this historical reference work will make a suitable guide and starting point for students and general readers alike. Secondary and other general collections should consider it for purchase.—David Alperstein, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—A conversational tone makes this an engaging cover-to-cover read as well as a solid work for reference; it features gripping stories of fugitives and abolitionists within a factual overview. The time line ranges from 1619, when the first slaves arrived in Jamestown aboard a Dutch ship, to 1870, when the 15th amendment granted voting privileges to black men and the Underground Railroad was officially shut down. Beginning with a broad survey of slave resistance and revolt, Walters explains how abolitionists, clergy, and others felt that the "higher law" of justice, right, and freedom superseded unjust legislation, and this noble cause fueled support across a broad population. The Underground Railroad is described, not as a highly structured organization but as a functional system of coordinated efforts to move fugitives from one location to another. Primary-source excerpts inform readers that slaves became "packages," volunteers were "agents," and safe houses were referred to as "depots." Specific incidents, such as William "Jerry" Henry's capture in Syracuse, NY, where a mob of blacks and whites tore down the jailhouse door to free him, are fascinating and illustrate failed attempts to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law. Extensive notes, a chronology, an annotated bibliography, and primary-source material balance the narrative, and a general index points students to key people and events. A handful of captioned black-and-white maps and illustrations appears strategically throughout. The primary sources are the perfect length for supporting the use of informational text in Common Core Standards for both ELA and social studies.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia Jr. Sr. High School, NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781598846478
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/31/2012
Series:
Guides to Historic Events in America Series
Pages:
223
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Kerry Walters is the William Bittinger Professor of Philosophy and professor of peace and justice studies at Gettysburg College, PA. Walters is the author or editor of over 20 books, including Benjamin Franklin and His Gods, Revolutionary Deists: Early America's Rational Infidels, and a critical edition of Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason.

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