Places of the Underground Railroad

Myth or Reality

Places of the Underground Railroad

by Tom Calarco*

*Tom produced this book with the help of five collaborators: Cynthia Vogel, Kathryn Grover, Rae Hallstrom, Sharron Pope, and Melissa Waddy-Thibodeaux

Retail: $85.00  Hardcover  ISBN: 978-0-313-38146-1

419 pages with 35 photos and illustrations, and six custom designed maps that include railroad and canal thoroughfares that have been documented as being used

Places of the Underground Railroad: A Geographical Guide presents a geographic overview of the Underground Railroad. Entries were chosen in part to reflect representation from all regions of the United States and Canada. Efforts, when applicable, were made to link the locations and show that a network existed, though often decentralized and variable over time and place. It is not meant to be comprehensive. Any such survey would require numerous volumes, but care has been taken not to exclude any of the most significant locations.

This book supplies researchers, students, and academics with a broad picture of the Underground Railroad, using up-to-date information. It covers the beginnings of organized aid to fugitive slaves during the period following the American Revolution up to the Civil War, and does this through the stories of various locations, primarily north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It also delineates the routes fugitive slaves may have taken, with three entries that identify the rivers, canals, seaports, and railroads that were sometimes used, as well as showing in the entries the relationships that were developed among conductors in various locations—features that make this a truly unique reference work on the Underground Railroad. 

In addition to the listing of the entries in the front of the book, there are listings by geography and category. The latter includes entries in the book that fit the following: Border Towns, which were important places on crossing points between the North and the South, or the United States and Canada; Renditions, which includes places where fugitive slaves were apprehended and returned to slavery; Rescues, which lists places where notable rescues of fugitive slaves from slavecatchers or law enforcement authorities were made; Schools for Blacks, which lists places with early schools for blacks and fugitive slaves; Terminals, which were gateways to Canada; and Vigilance Committees, which lists places with notable, organized Underground Railroad committees.

 “In dealing with history rather than legend,” Larry Gara wrote in Liberty Line, “each local story should be investigated, the basis for the tradition examined, and the sources evaluated.”1 The objective of this book has been to do just, and to encourage the continued investigation of the Underground Railroad and the unraveling of its mysteries. We have only begun to bring to light the many neglected stories that are among our nation’s most dramatic moments.



Mid-Atlantic Section of Underground Railroad



can be purchased at

ABC-CLIO or calling 800-368-6868