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The Underground Railroad

Home of Rev. John Rankin and his wife, Jean Rankin, there home was a Underground Railroad station during 1828-1863.  He felt early on that slavery was an abomination in the eyes of god. (c. Lawrence E. Walker Foundation)

The Underground Railroad, a proud moment in the struggle for human rights, was created by enslaves Africans who passionately desired freedom and risked their lives to attain it.  Along the way, enslaved Africans were aided by freed blacks who knew slavery would never end without a fight.  Joining forces this heroic effort to help the fugitives were many people black and white, ordinary and extraordinary, who lived in fear of being punished for being their actions, but acted on their convictions. These brave people guided runaways through an information system of system of secret trails and hiding places to locations or safe haven for enslaved Africans.


Harriet Tubman at the age of 106 years   (born 1820-died 1913) c. National Archives

Born a slave in Maryland, conductor of the Underground Railroad.  Went to work as a union scout and spy, slipped behind rebel lines to gather news from slaves about confederate plans.  Led rebel scouts on reconnaissance mission, served to nurse the wounded at Fort Monroe.  Spoke out on womens rights, received medal from Queen Victoria of England, and received many honors and awards, spent last years in poverty.  She began receiving $20.00 a month pension 30 years after the Civil War was over. John Tubman, her first husband, died 2 years after the war; in 1869 she married Nelson Davis. Harried Tubman used the money from her pension to found a place for the aged and needy.  She died in Albany, New York.

Written by: New Jersey State Library

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