Sailing to Freedom: The Maritime Underground Railroad Virtual Program


Background: In December of 1849, 15-year-old Elizabeth Blakeley successfully escaped enslavement in Wilmington, North Carolina by hiding on a ship bound for Boston. By the mid-19th century, her method of escape was so common that southern port authorities took extraordinary measures to try to stop it. Though modern Underground Railroad scholarship focuses almost exclusively on overland routes, new research demonstrates that large numbers of enslaved individuals gained their freedom by sea aboard coastal vessels bound for northern ports. Almost all successful escapes from the Deep South were achieved by sea.

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Starts 6:30 pm Eastern on SEPTEMBER 29th, 2021

In the new book Sailing to Freedom: Maritime Dimensions of the Underground Railroad, ten historians explore the less-understood maritime route of the Underground Railroad, including the impact of African Americans’ paid and unpaid waterfront labor.

Join Dr. Timothy Walker, Dr. Cheryl LaRoche, and Park Ranger Shawn Quigley on Wednesday, September 29th at 6:30 PM for a virtual presentation to learn more about the little-known stories of the Maritime Underground Railroad.

The program is free but registration is required.