" The underground railroad -- with its mysterious signals, secret depots, abolitionist heroes, and slave-hunting villains -- has become part of American mythology. But legend has distorted much of this history. Larry Gara shows how pre-Civil War partisan propanda, postwar remininscences by fame-hungry abolitionists, and oral tradition helped foster the popular belief that a powerful secret organization spirited floods of slaves away from the South. In contrast to much popular belief, however, the slaves themselves had active roles in their own escape. They carried out their runs, receiving aid only after they had reached territory where they still faced return. The Liberty Line puts slaves in their rightful position: the center of their struggle for freedom.
Subjects: History, Sociology
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