Civil War Lecture Series: "Fugitive Slaves and the Use of Steamships and Small Crafts to Escape in the 1850's"

November 21, 2018 - 02:30 pmNovember 21, 2018 - 03:30 pmAugust 13, 2016, 2:30pm - 3:30pm
The Mariners' Museum and Park
100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606
United States 100 Museum Drive Newport News 23606

The Underground Railroad is a well-known topic within American society, but the maritime routes used by fugitive slaves to escape are often overlooked. By re-examining William Still’s The Underground Railroad Records and using relevant archival material relating to the port of Philadelphia, two main uses of waterways becomes apparent; the individual hiding on commercial passenger steamers and captains of small vessels bringing groups of slaves northward. This paper focuses on one steamer, the City of Richmond, as its career parallels the issue of the fugitive slave between the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.