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Finding Freedom—Heroes of the Underground Railroad

Author: Lynn Gourinski Fahr


Overbrook High School

Year: 2016

Seminar: Biography as History, or, Perhaps, History as Biography

Grade Level: 10

Keywords: Harriet Tubman, James Still, Thomas Garrett, Underground Railroad

School Subject(s): Social Studies

Freeing slaves was a paramount part of our nation’s history leading up to the Civil War.  This unit is to help students and teachers understand that Harriet Tubman was not the only conductor of the Underground Railroad. Many others risked their lives, offered their homes, documented Underground Railroad travels in order to reunite families of slaves once members moved into freedom. Some such heroes of the Underground Railroad were several Quakers, James Still and Thomas Garrett. The heroes were not only African American—but were united in their belief that slavery was wrong morally and socially.

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Full Unit Text

African-American history is such a rich element to include in all high school educations. An important part of the sophomore history curriculum in the city of Philadelphia, PA it is a required for students to take and pass. The richness and pride students can achieve from this exposure to the people and stories of a course dedicated solely to African-American history is boundless. The idea that many people contributed to the African-American experience is invaluable to the greater understanding of this country and its peoples. This is the case for looking more closely at the Underground Railroad and the expanded view that it merits as a teaching tool. Many of us are taught in elementary school about Harriet Tubman and of the challenges she found along the way, leading escaping slaves to freedom. That story of the Underground Railroad was just about Harriet Tubman, but also about William Still, the Philadelphia Quaker community and local abolitionists who risked their lives for the freedom of slaves. In a school system as diverse as Philadelphia, the story of the Underground Railroad is critical to student understanding of the horrific culture of slavery.

The Underground Railroad was not actually under the ground or an actual railroad; it was a system similar to the regular railroad with a schedule, stops and a final destination. Slaves wishing to be free needed to make the initial escape on their own; it wasn’t till then that the “railroad” appeared and the rendezvous with the Conductors leading them to the many “stations” happened as they made the journey to freedom in the northern U.S. or further into Canada. With slaves breaking free from the plantation, the country was faced with the moral dilemma of helping escaping slaves weighed against the legal reality of laws such as the Fugitive Slave Act. Should people report that slaves had rested in their barns or fields? Should local law enforcement put much energy into escaped slaves who passed through towns or just stayed the night? Many people learned to look away when slaves were in the midst because they did not believe in slavery as an institution. Railroad terminology was utilized to convey information to Conductors who then lead slaves to “stations” where they could rest, moving northward to Canada or staying (if it was a safe area of the north) and be free. Most “conductors” were members of the free black community (including ex-slaves like Harriet Tubman), northern abolitionists, philanthropists, and church leaders like Quaker Thomas Garrett. (Foner and Garrity, 1991). George Washington made mention of the actions of the “conductors” by the Quakers, but the Conductor title became more popular in the 1830’s as Northern abolitionists became more vocal. (Foner and Garrity, 1991)

It is important to note that the groundwork was laid much earlier in the 1800’s to end slavery with the culmination being the American Civil War (1861-1865) and the Emancipation Proclamation on 1 January 1863. The topic of traveling to freedom creates a very interesting topic for students. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, to share details of a slave sale with one slave finding freedom traveling the Underground Railroad toward Cincinnati, Ohio; while the other, experiencing the horrors of slavery, a life of unimaginable suffering, culminated in death. It was once noted that Abraham Lincoln once met Stowe and had commentary how poignant her novel was in effecting Civil war sentiments.    ( This naturally lends itself to a cross-curricular learning experience for students. Students can trace possible routes, as the exact routes were never documented or repeated for fear of being caught, taken by slaves and specifically focusing onto Cincinnati and the adventures that ensued in Stowe’s book as an English literature option.

Uncle Tom, a middle aged married slave, and Harry, the son of Eliza, the slave attendant to the Master’s wife, are to be sold to settle debts. Rather than let her son be sold, Eliza escapes later meeting up with her husband, George, who also escaped, in Cincinnati, Ohio. The tale shares with the reader the separation of these slaves with Uncle Tom ending up, being sold deeper down south toward New Orleans, with his ultimate demise refusing to whip other slaves as punishment.  Henry with his mother Eliza who, escape to find the Underground Railroad and travel up through Ohio, meeting up with Eliza’s husband in Cincinnati, on their way to Canada, feeling they are not truly safe in America. The themes and topics of this novel made it the second highest selling book in the 19th century next to the Bible. The novel stands to have a “reputation of having popularized many stereotypes people still carry today”. (

As the conditions for slaves in most cases was less than ideal, reasons to escape were varied. The reasons for slaves wanting to escape were obvious. Some of the basic reasons were:

  • Slaves had no legal status as humans, considered 3/5 of a human by the Constitution
  • Slaves were considered to be the property of their owners and as such could be bought and sold at slave auctions
  • Slaves could not legally marry – instead slaves undertook a public mock marriage ceremony called “Jumping the Broom”
  • Slaves had no legal rights over their children or partners who could also be bought and sold at will
  • Slaves had no freedom of religion, or any other enumerated freedom in the Constitution and Bill of Rights
  • Slaves were not educated, only very few were able to read or write (usually house slaves)
  • Slaves worked from sunrise to sunset – their children started work at the age of six years’ old
  • Owners had the right to punish slaves as they saw fit including whipping, deprivation and mutilation. (

The myths surround slavery, slave escape and the Underground Railroad have been glamourized. Movies like Roots, the book originally written by Alex Haley, help Hollywood keep images in our minds that may be far from our minds in accurate depiction of this time. The reality was much different than portrayed.

This is a great example to really question, who helped slaves escape, and what was the Underground Railroad. Yes, many abolitionists were sympathetic whites but many were also freed blacks, risking their lives to free family and friends still in bondage. There were “southern” stops in Delaware, a part the eastern line of the Underground railroad found in Maryland, Virginia, as far down as Kentucky. Many of the escaped slaves from the Deep South did not come north but rather south toward Florida or the islands, to live in remote African American communities created to keep them safe.

There were as many routes to the Underground Railroad as “stars in the sky”. Routes needed to constantly be changing to prevent slave catchers from  returning slaves in the attempt to escape. Most people in the north did not support freed slaves among them and the state of Ohio actually passed a law in 1860’s that did not allow freed slaves to stay; they needed to keep moving on through to Canada.

Many students will recognize the name Harriet Tubman. Who was she and what, exactly did she accomplish?  Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in 1825 as Araminta Ross in Dorchester County Maryland. She was referred to as “Minty” to her parents. “Minty” was one of nine children born to Harriet Green. Her father was “freed” at age 45 per a stipulation in his slaveholder’s will. “Minty” and the children remained slaves, with the option to be sold and separated from their father, mother, or siblings.

“Minty” was frail and weak as a child; at age 5 her first assignment was as an n overnight babysitter of an infant. She was to remain awake all night and tend to the infants most minor issues as to not bother the Master’s wife. At age 7, “Minty” was to wade in cold water up to her waist to clear muskrat traps. This resulted in the measles. At age 8, she ran away and lived in a pigpen, fending off pigs for her sustenance.  “Minty” preferred fields to domestic work. (

Another key player in the freedom and recording of freed slaves was William Still, who escaped with his parents to live as a free black man in New Jersey.  Still’s parents, a free black father and slave mother named Charity, in their haste to leave toward freedom in New Jersey, left two sons, Peter and Eli, behind, escaping with four other sons, William among them. The sons left behind were later sold farther down south to a plantation owner in Alabama, as punishment for the family’s escape.

William Still was married in 1847 to Letitia George, moved to Philadelphia and started working as a for the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society in the Philadelphia office in 1850 making $3.75 weekly as a janitor and mail clerk. The great debates of the society was how to stop the spread of slavery; how to prevent a new fugitive slave law from being enacted. Peter Freeman (a commonly used name by recently free slaves) a recently freed slave who wanted to share his incredible tale to freedom, approached Still while he was clerking in Philadelphia.  As Still half-heartedly listened, he began to realize that Peter Freeman was actually Peter Still, one of the boys left years before by William’s parents hasty escape to freedom.

Peter Freeman told the tale of befriending two Jewish merchants who eventually bought Peter from his Master’s plantation. He then worked off his debt with the merchants who helped him come north to complete his contract for freedom. This meeting spurred Still to become more active in the Underground Railroad and its mission. The random meeting of his own brother also helped Still understand how important it was to track freed slaves to further hasten the process of uniting families. While the secrecy was vital for everyone’s safety, but no more vital than the location and the reuniting of family after the horrors of slavery.  William Still had felt that possible punishment prevented him from tracking slaves from the Underground Railroad, but after this meeting of his lost brother, he felt collecting information would help some slavery families with “bleeding and severed hearts” find each other again. (

William Still lead the charge in organizing conductors to travel down south to states like Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, DC to retrieve slaves and bring them to freedom. It is thought that in the 1850’s under Still, city abolitionists brought more than 100 slaves through the Underground Railroad. Many of these slaves were males with only the rudimentary skills needed by plantation owners, few had specialized skills such as woodworking or blacksmithing, convertible outside the bounds of the slave economy. These men had the training and needed education that allowed more freedom of movement upon landing on free soil. (

The reason Pennsylvania was chosen by so many slaves looking to be free was reflected in the politics of the day. Pennsylvania and Philadelphia more specifically, contained the largest northern freed African-American population at about 56,000 just before the Civil War. Pennsylvania had a reputation for being anti-slavery in a majority of the city, though there were citizens of Philadelphia who did not appreciate the growing black community, working against Still and other conductors’ freedom efforts. Pennsylvania was the first state to adopt and implement a gradual emancipation laws and Pennsylvania was the first northern state to protect blacks with personal liberty laws, which were written to deter slave catchers of runaways from kidnapping, freed blacks. The strongest years for the Underground Railroad to Pennsylvania were from the 1830’s to the Civil War. (

When the Civil War began, Still gathered all the records he had been keeping, bringing them to a local cemetery for safekeeping. He quit his job as a clerk at the Anti-Slavery Society and became a businessman. As a wealthy businessman, Still supplied materials to a local Civil War encampment, made up of African-American soldiers segregated by US Army edict. After the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery,  Still published a book detailing his first hand account of the workings of the Underground Railroad. It is notably recognized as the most the most complete and accurate account of the Underground Railroad and its workings. (

But there were more heroes in the Underground Railroad. A large group of people conflicted by slavery were the Quakers.  Quakers were known to quietly serve jail time for causes they felt strongly about going back to the 17th Century in England. Quakers, as a religious entity, believe in peace in the human condition, and that human slavery was not only wrong as an institution of the human condition but incompatible with moral and natural law as espoused by Quaker belief. Beginning in the 1770’s, Yearly Quaker Meetings in North America were united that the enslaved had a “natural and just right to liberty” and no Quaker should, or could, claim one as property. The Society had gone as far as to, in 1787, questioned the United States Constitution in avoiding using the word “slave” in the proclamation, while requiring that “fugitives from labor” (slaves) escaping and cross state lines, must be returned to their owners. (Densmore, 2010).

For years, Quakers knew that harboring a fugitive was not only illegal but subversive and treasonous. The crisis between the beliefs of Quaker doctrine and the reality of the society they were surrounded by. Many Quakers believed that the Underground Railroad was to offer safety to all people. While many Quakers were not active participants in the Underground Railroad, none were eager to hand over escaped participants of the Underground Railroad and their Quaker participants.

A well-known Quaker, Thomas Garrett was affected by the institution of slavery and the much reviled slave catchers, early on in his childhood. He was born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia on August 21, 1789. His family was known for hiding slaves on their travels through Delaware County. In one instance, slave catchers nabbed a freed black family servant, attempting to force him back to the bonds of slavery. The experience was profound for Garrett, creating the impetus that would lead him to devote his life to the abolition of slavery and its effect on humanity and Quaker belief.

Garrett moved to Delaware after the death of his first wife, Margaret Sharpless, in 1828, after the birth of their fifth child, while being married only 15 years; large families being common in the Quaker community. In 1830, Garrett married Rachel Mendenhall, a daughter of a fellow Quaker abolitionist from Chester County, Pennsylvania. They had one child together named Eli. Garrett and Mendenhall stayed married for 38 years.

While in Delaware, Garrett maintained an inconsistent hardware business. The business was just a cover for his first passion, freeing slaves. But Garrett’s life held life changing events too. In 1848, Garrett and fellow abolitionist, John Hunt were caught aiding slaves with the escape of the Hawkins Family from Maryland. Both men were found guilty and ordered to pay $5,400 which just about bankrupted Thomas Garrett.

Known as “Delaware’s greatest humanitarian”, Garrett helped more than 2700 slaves in his 40-year career as a station master in Wilmington, Delaware. He along with William Still in Philadelphia comprised the Eastern Line of the Underground Railroad, connecting to Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky. Both men documented struggles, countless agents and conductors of this line. Noted correspondence between Still and Garrett remains as proof of the efforts these men poured out toward freeing slaves from their plight. (

Thomas Garrett died on January 25, 1871 at age 92. After the Civil War, he continued to work with freed slaves and their families. In 1870, he was carried on the shoulders of blacks as the right to vote for all those not enumerated by the Constitution was now guaranteed by the establishment of the 15th Amendment, as well as the 13th and 14th Amendments for those having suffered slavery (commonly referred to as the “Slavery Amendments” of the Bill of Rights). The greatest homage the African-Americans could make to his life, was when those he had tirelessly fought, began to refer to him as “Our Moses”; great and lofty praise from an historically religious African-American community.


This unit can be utilized in all grades with amendments being made for age appropriate materials taught.  Ideally, the biggest impact of this unit will be taught along with a social studies unit in the required African American course for sophomore students, expected by the School District of Philadelphia in all tenth grades. Classes will meet daily, Monday through Friday for approximately 55 minutes. The course is a full year in duration.

SWBAT (Students Will Be Able To) identify facts and myths involved in the freeing of slaves IOT (In Order To) determine probable reasons for risking their own lives.

SWBAT identify states pre Civil War IOT identify capitals, populations, and terrain experienced by “conductors” and escaped slaves in any state they traveled through.

SWBAT identify “conductors” who traveled up to Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and back to Pennsylvania IOT share their impact of traveling with slaves and the dangers large and small.


Students will enlist a variety of strategies to learn about Harriet Tubman and her fellow “conductors”.  Using several strategies will encourage students to grasp the serious nature of what the Underground Railroad and its conductors stood for.

Think/Pair/Share:  Students will be asked a question concerning the travel to freedom from the plantations. Each student will silently think of a possible answer for the question, considering all the information they know or imagine about the situation. They will then be given a specific, short amount of time to share with a partner next to them, in a 4” voice their thoughts. The other partner will share their thoughts as well. The pair will fuse the ideas together into a well thought out meaning answer to share with the class.

Journals: Students will be given scenarios of slaves waiting at stations to board the Underground Railroad. They will be asked to take on the persona of boarding the Underground Railroad with the trusted Conductor. What will they see, hear, feel, taste, or see will be chronicled? What route on a map will be followed? Where do they end up? What other people helped in the process of escaping?

Arts/Media—Students will be asked to share information with others that may not be familiar with the extensive plight of escaped slaves using the Underground Railroad. Students can make a game, sharing the extensive geography and routes of the Underground Railroad. Players will answer questions to determine what route to freedom they may take. Students might make a video detailing a situation or possible scenario an escaped slave might have encountered while trying to access freedom.

Geography—Students will learn to identify the names and locations of states as well as the capitals using maps of the era. Routes changed constantly and there is no record of actual routes, however students will identify routes possible routes that might have been used with the Underground Railroad for many slaves who escaped into freedom. This skill can be used in conjunction the journal writing for a more accurate feel to the writing. Lessons can be coordinated with Geography lessons.

KWL—What do students know about the Underground Railroad? What do they want to learn? These facts are placed on a sheet of paper and shared with partners or in groups. After lesson on Underground Railroad is taught, teacher hands back sheets for students to indicate what they learned.

A “parking lot” using post-its will provide guidance for questions unanswered in class discussions. Students may volunteer to share their research knowledge of a selected post-it for extra credit. Each answer must be 5 minutes in length and verbally shared with class on wrap-up portion of lesson

Guided Notes—The teacher shares information on printed handout. Important information is purposely left out and students must follow along in the lesson to fill in the missing materials. Students will need to refer to maps of the country from that time. They will be asked to label states and capitals.  Students will be asked to find out answers in a think-pair-share grouping with classmates. There is places for children to jot down questions that come to mind on the topic and ask during the wrap-up portion of class.

Classroom Activities

Activities can be scattered among the lessons as learning unfolds. Ideally this is a 3 to 5-day lesson but the material can be amended for a shorter duration or a longer time if activities stretch over a few days.  Each lesson is developed to for use in a 45- minute class. This is at the high school (grade 10) level to be used in conjunction with the African American history class required for graduation.

Day 1

Materials needed:


Markers in several colors




Notebook. Loose-leaf paper


Folder for materials

Objective: SWBAT (Students Will Be Able To) identify fact and myths of the Underground Railroad IOT (In Order To) determine actual reality of facts in freeing slaves by the Underground Railroad.

Do Now: KWL—What do students KNOW about the Underground Railroad? What do they WANT to know?  What have you heard about the Underground Railroad?

After 5 minutes where students write in full sentences at least 5 facts/ideas they know—students will turn to the partner on their left to share out thoughts. Each student gets 3 minutes to share.

Direct Instruction: Teacher will review student thoughts from “Do Now” on newsprint. As ideas are scattered, teacher takes an informal tally of “Who thinks this? Who thinks that?”

Teacher asks all students to stand up and explains that a statement will be read about the Underground Railroad. If the student believes the statement true, they remain standing. If the student believes the statement false, the student sits down.  Teacher reads about 8-10 statements concurrently, pausing briefly for all students to get to the standing phase again.

At the end, students sit own and teacher addresses each statement in the order in which they were read. Teacher then asks for a show of hands for fact or myth. Students then copy down statement and then teacher discusses with class reasons for reality of statement. Students can ask questions and clarify ideas at this time.

Individual instruction: Students then will pick 5 of the shared statements and expand their thoughts on them as myths people believe or how they understand the facts as stated.  Student hands in for class work credit.

Exit ticket: Students will be asked to explain how/if their thoughts on slavery have been changed of influenced by learning more on subject. Students need to respond in 5-7 sentences.

Homework: Students will find 3 new facts about slavery/Underground Railroad/people involved in the Underground railroad not discussed in class.

Day 2

Materials needed:

Markers in several colors



Prepared guided notes sheet

Summary biographies of James Still, Thomas Garrett, Quaker Meeting

Index cards


Notebook. Loose-leaf paper


Folder for materials

Objective: SWBAT identify “Conductors” of the Underground Railroad IOT understand their passion and rationale to participate in the Underground railroad.

Do Now: What experiences have you had that called to question a strongly held belief? Explain a time when your beliefs on a subject did not fit your predicament.

Teacher gives 5-7 minutes then asks children to line up by birthdate, month then date. Students may not talk. Once the students are lined up, they are to take to person behind them as a partner. Each partner has 1 minute to share said experience and questioned belief.

Direct Instruction: Teacher asks students to share their own work. Groups are children born January through April, May through August, and September through December. Students are given an article based on a different “conductor” of the Underground Railroad. The group reads and outlines important facts others in class should know about individual. What event or belief caused this person to participate in the Underground Railroad? Facts found on the conductors are put onto Newsprint and posted in classroom.

As the group presents to the class, teacher guides with thoughtful questions. Who else might be involved? Teacher draws a parallel between heroes of today and those of conductors of Underground Railroad. Why did some people risk their lives to save slaves while others hunted for escaped slaves?

Independent Instruction: Students are given prepared guided notes and copies of each article. Students are to read each article quietly and outline information they feel is pertinent on the article. Students are asked to fill in the guided notes using information presented in class and on newsprint or information found in the articles teacher has provided. Student hands in guided notes completed and outlines of articles for grade.

Exit Ticket:  List three (3) reasons for a slave to run for freedom. List three (3) reasons for a slave to maintain the life of slavery.

Homework: Using the internet, find 10 links Philadelphia, PA has to the Underground Railroad.

Day 3

Materials needed:

Markers in several colors



Prepared guided notes sheet


Notebook. Loose-leaf paper


Folder for materials

Objective: SWBAT identify facts in Harriet Tubman’s life IOT explain her choice to participate became the face of the Underground Railroad.

Do Now: In 5-7 sentences, identify an experience that made you grow up/mature faster than you thought you might at that age.

After 5 minutes, share with a person to the right of your seat. Discuss with your partner at what age you thought your maturity on that issue was going to occur, if allowed to happen naturally.

Direct instruction:  Teacher collects do now works and asks for volunteers to share their experience and how they have grown from that experience. The teacher asks three questions per volunteer. Time limit is about 5-7 minutes.

Teacher will hand out guided notes and begin to ask guiding questions about the life of Harriet Tubman with the group. Some material will fit into blanks seamlessly and other material may be implied. The teacher’s job is to stimulate thinking, not fill in the blanks for the students. The teacher can modify this activity by supplying a “word bank” for the worksheet.  As the conversation unfolds about the life of Harriet Tubman, the teacher writes notes on newsprint for display during unit.

Independent Instruction: Students are asked to write a journal entry of a page in length. They must imagine that they are an escaped slave traveling to the nearest “station” for a “conductor” to lead them North. What do they see, hear, feel, taste, and hear during the wait and the taste? What thoughts flood their minds?

Exit ticket: Explain three facts they found interesting about Harriet Tubman. Students will share the facts and in 5-7 sentences, expound on one fact they found really fascinating.

Homework: Finish journal entry. Extra credit will be awarded for creativity to make journal entry look authentic to period.

Day 4

Materials needed:

Markers in several colors


Wall map of country in the pre-Civil War era



Notebook. Loose-leaf paper


Folder for materials

Smaller map of country pre-Civil War

Objective: SWBAT identify states and capitals pre Civil War IOT identify future Union territory and southern Confederate territory.

Do Now: What is your favorite landmark in Philadelphia? What symbol represents the United States of America? Explain your choices.

After 5 minutes of working individually, students will share thoughts with behind them. Each student compares and contrasts the pair of ideas.

Direct Instruction: Teacher will hand out student maps of states. Together, teacher and class will identify states and each state capital. Once correct identification is made of states by students, teacher will discuss the topographical terrain of each area at this time. Class will discuss landmarks, watersheds, mountains, etc. of the states pre Civil war.

Teacher will explain that travels of the Underground Railroad were hard to document because routes needed to be changed up to avoid being caught and returned. Obviously slavecatchers were savvy enough to know the easiest routes were the ones slaves would take.  Class discussion possible tracking routes is done. What terrain would be easiest to navigate at night? Where might the Underground Railroad want to avoid? Why?

Emphasis must be made to class that routes were not documented. Often escaping from the plantation was easier than the travel to freedom because law officers, slavecatchers, community members, and plantation owners were all looking for the escaped slaves. A bounty was on each and every head that attempted to travel toward freedom. Students can only SPECULATE were slave route might have traveled.

Individual Instruction: Students will be given a blank state sheet. They must use their “do now” to document/map where they would go to reach freedom. Students must include 3 landmarks along the way from any states to share their travels.

Exit Ticket: What dangers would you find on your individual trip? Indicate at least 5 animals and/or plants special to your area of escape.

Homework: What “conductor” did you feel most connected to? List 3 facts that made you feel in step with that “Conductors” efforts.

Day 5

Materials needed:

Markers in several colors


Wall map of country in the pre-Civil War era


Old magazines


Computers with internet access and power point

Colored paper


Notebook. Loose-leaf paper


Folder for materials

Objective: SWBAT identify the dangers of “conductors” and the Underground Railroad IOT portray a visual culmination of lessons.

Do Now: What was most interesting to in learning about the Underground Railroad? How might these interesting events be made into a visual learning tool for others to learn from?

Direct Instruction: Students will be asked to use a visual presentation of learned material on Underground Railroad. Students may perform a rap, skit, power-point, collage, travel agent, etc. Each student will be expected to present their perspective of Underground Railroad in a 5-7minute presentation. The students may work with one-two other people. Date due will be 3 days from assignment.

Independent Instruction: Students will brainstorm ideas and quietly begin to work on project as teacher conferences with student/student groups about ideas.

Exit Ticket: What questions do students still have on the Underground Railroad?  Indicate 3 items discussed that you liked or still have questions about.

Homework: Students are to work on visual Underground Railroad project.

Annotated Bibliography (June 10, 2016)—Good resource for younger children.

The site asks interesting yet basic questions as a child might ask about the Underground Railroad and then provides easy to understand answers. (July 31,2016)—

Shares a direct Philadelphia safe house. Belmont mansion is part of the Fairmount Park System in the city. Field trips are available that allow students to follow the life of Corneila Wells, a slave who worked in the house. A closer look at the Underground Railroad system in also available. (June 10, 2016)—

Great site that highlights much of the impact the Underground Railroad had on Pennsylvania. The site shares maps and answers basic questions needed for more understanding of the conductors and stations of the Underground Railroad. (July 31, 2016)—

Site is associated with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH. Looks at routes of slaves and covers lesser known conductors. Specific area for educators included. (June 22, 2016)—

Site with child friendly topics and maps on the Underground Railroad. Material can be adapted up or down to learning level. —

Excellent site to explore many aspects and sides of the Quaker’s involvement with the Underground Railroad. Offers many more resources that can be applied to different levels of learning.

Reading List for Students

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. (Originally published in 1852).  Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Dover Publishing (2005)

Teacher’s Resources

Densmore, Christopher.  “Quakers and the Underground Railroad: Myths and Realities”. (June 6, 2016).

Foner, E. (1991). Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad. W.W. Norton & Co.

Gara, Larry. The Liberty Line: The Legend of the Underground Railroad. Lexington: Univ. of Kentucky Press, 1961 (June 10, 2016) (July 30, 2016)

www. (June 10, 2016)


State of PA Standards—Common Core

1.2 Reading Informational Text Students read, understands, and respond to informational text—with an emphasis on comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and making connections among ideas and between texts with focus on textual evidence.

CC.1.2.9–10.G Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account. L.N.2.2.3

CC.1.2.9–10.I Analyze seminal U.S. documents of historical and literary significance, including how they address related themes and concepts

CC.1.2.9–10.L Read and comprehend literary nonfiction and informational text on grade level, reading independently and proficient

1.3 Reading Literature Students read and responds to works of literature—with an emphasis on comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and making connections among ideas and between texts with a focus on textual evidence.

CC.1.3.9–10. K Read and comprehend literary fiction on grade level, reading independently and proficiently.

1.4 Writing Students write for different purposes and audiences. Students write clear and focused text to convey a well-defined perspective and appropriate content

CC.1.4.9–10.A Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey information accurately.

CC.1.4.9–10.C Develop and analyze the topic with relevant, well-chosen, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic; include graphics and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

CC.1.4.9–10. D Organize ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text; include formatting when useful to aiding comprehension; provide a concluding statement or section.

CC.1.4.9–10. F demonstrate a grade-appropriate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar, usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

CC.1.4.9–10.H Write with a sharp, distinct focus identifying topic, task, and audience.

CC.1.4.9–10. J Create organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence; use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims; provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

CC.1.4.9–10.N Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple points of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters.

CC.1.4.9–10.O Use narrative techniques such as dialogue, description, reflection, multiple plotlines, and pacing to develop experiences, events, and/or characters; use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, settings, and/or characters.

CC.1.4.9–10.S Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research, applying grade-level reading standards for literature and literary nonfiction.

CC.1.4.9–10.T Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.

CC.1.4.9–10.U Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.

CC.1.4.9–10.W Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.