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Word Count: 927
The Voyage to the Free Land In Americas 19th century many slaves escaped North by way of the dangerous Underground Railroad to attain freedom It was the most effective protest against slavery resulting in many free lives The term Underground Railroad does not mean underground tunnels but rather secret routes escaped slaves followed usually leading them north to Canada the free land Thousands of slaves escaped yearly through treacherous conditions to attain their freedom Not only did the slaves have to be determined and secretive they had to be strong as well To defy the Fugitive Slave Act many abolitionists risked their lives to covertly help hide the runaways protecting them from bounty hunters The Underground Railroad was the road the freedom for the blacks no matter how far they needed to travel they were determined to reach independence Most slaves were owned by plantation owners who used them for field and housework There were many principal objectives for running away long exhausting hours malnutrition beatings and fear of being parted from loved ones Most escapees were men whose ages ranged from 16 to 35 years Many masters offered little or no pay forcing slaves to live in unhealthy living conditions As a result many were determined to run away but mainly because coloreds hungered for liberation The Underground Railroad spanned thousands of miles from Kentucky and Virginia across Ohio and Indiana In the Northerly direction it extended from Maryland across Pennsylvania into New York through New England As a guide thousands of slaves followed the North Star on clear nights leading them to their next stop or station Station houses were not merely places for a nights tarrying but homes where the ill and fatigued might remain and be cared for until strong enough for the onward journey James qtd MacDougall 5 On clouded evenings tree moss which grew on the north side of tree trunks then served as a guide
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