Just follow the link from Quaker Strongrooms below for a good description of the history of silhouette portrait making in Colonial America with particular reference to Quakers. Also has details of how to make your own silhouette portraits!
Just follow the link from Quaker Strongrooms below for a good description of the history of silhouette portrait making in Colonial America with particular reference to Quakers. Also has details of how to make your own silhouette portraits!
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A talk, “John Woolman and the Utility of History” will be given by Geoffrey Plank on Tuesday 30 April 2013, 6-8pm, Quaker Library, Friends House, 173 Euston Rd, London NW1 2BJ
John Woolman has been described as a “Quaker saint,” an isolated mystic, singular even among a singular people. But as historian Geoffrey Plank recounts, this tailor, hog producer, shopkeeper, schoolteacher, and prominent Quaker minister was very much enmeshed in his local community in colonial New Jersey and was alert as well to events throughout the British Empire. Responding to the situation as he saw it, Woolman developed a comprehensive critique of his fellow Quakers and of the imperial economy, became one of his era’s most emphatic opponents of slaveholding, and helped develop a new form of protest by striving never to spend money in ways that might encourage slavery. Drawing on the diaries of contemporaries, personal correspondence, the minutes of Quaker meetings, business and probate records, pamphlets, and other sources, John Woolman’s Path to the Peaceable Kingdom shows that Woolman and his neighbours were far more engaged with the problems of inequality, trade, and warfare than anyone would know just from reading the Quaker’s own writings. Although he is famous as an abolitionist, the end of slavery was only part of Woolman’s project. Refusing to believe that the pursuit of self-interest could safely guide economic life, Woolman aimed for a miraculous global transformation: a universal disavowal of greed.
Geoffrey Plank will discuss the “moral utility” of studying history, with the abolitionist John Woolman (1720-1772) continuously at the centre of the analysis. Plank will look at Woolman from two angles, examining how Woolman thought about history and invoked it in his effort to instigate reform, and also considering how Woolman became history and the uses that have been made of his life story to inspire subsequent generations.
Register for a free place at www.quaker.org.uk/quakerhistory
For all enquiries please contact the Quaker Library firstname.lastname@example.org / or 020 7663 1135
Here’s an extract concerning John Woolman from my recent booklet on William Penn:“John Woolman (1720-1772) was a Quaker campaigner who spoke out against slavery in the Northern States. In his time, the number of slaves in New Jersey was high, as late as 1800 they numbered 12,422. In Perth Amboy, New Jersey, newly imported Africans arrived and a long barracks was built to accommodate them. In 1734, when Woolman was fourteen, an insurrection of slaves took place at Perth Amboy. The slaves, in an alliance with Native Americans and the French, attempted to kill their British owners. Some years later a slave convicted of crime was burned alive at Perth Amboy and a huge number of slaves from all the neighbouring townships were made to witnesses his slow and painful death. It was these and other events, made Woolman speak out. In his Journal he records the process of deciding to actively campaign amongst his fellow Quakers against slavery. “My employer, having a negro woman, sold her, and desired me to write a bill of sale….I felt uneasy at the thoughts of writing an instrument of slavery for one of my fellow-creatures, yet I remembered that it was my master who directed me to do it, and that it was an elderly man, a member of our Society [i.e. a Quaker], who bought her…. Sometime after this a young man of our Society spoke to me to write a conveyance of a slave to him, he having lately taken a negro into his house…. I spoke to him in goodwill; and he told me that keeping slaves was not altogether agreeable to his mind; but that the slave being a gift made to his wife, he had accepted her.” In 1746 Woolman set out on a 1,500 mile round-trip preaching on a number of topics including slavery. He visited fellow Quakers who owned slaves in Pennsylvania and attending Quaker meetings to speak out against human trafficking. In 1761 he wrote: “…. In this visit I was at two Quarterly and three Monthly Meetings, and in the love of truth I felt my way open to labour with some noted Friends who kept negroes.” In 1762 he wrote and had printed, “Considerations on keeping Negroes“. His distributed it to fellow Quakers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere and also, importantly, to slaves themselves: “….members of our religious society in general, among whom are some who keep negroes, and, being inclined to continue them in slavery, are not likely to be satisfied with such books being spread among a people, especially at their own expense, many of whose slaves are taught to read, and such, receiving them as a gift, often conceal them.”
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Last Thursday, as part of the Winter series of lectures organised by the Regional History, I delivered an illustrated talk on “The Quaker, William Penn ~ an alternative view of the founder of Pennsylvania”.
Despite the cold and rain there was a good turnout of 45-50 people (including local Quakers and staff from the American Museum, Claverton Manor, Bath) to hear my talk on role of William Penn and his family in the colonisation of Ireland, Transatlantic Slave Trade and European expansionism in the North Americas.
There was great discussion both during and after the talk about differing (and, I think, changed) perceptions of the historical role of Quakerism.
My thanks to the UWE Regional History Centre and the M-Shed for their help and support.
If you would like me to give a talk to your organisation then just get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to try to oblige.
African-American History Pennsylvania, American Colonial History, Black Majority, Codified Law in US, Delaware, History of USA, Pennsylvania History, Peter H Wood, Quaker History, Slavery, Slavery and Freedom in Delaware, Slavery in Delaware, Slavery in the United States, Stono Rebellion, US Colonial Law, William H Williams, William Penn (1644-1718)
William Penn abandoned English Civil Law when it applied to enslaved Africans. Pennsylvania laws regarding slaves placed an emphasis on maternal (i.e. Black female slave), and not paternal (i.e. potential White colonist) provenance for slave offspring. Thus, Quaker law-makers attempted to establish slavery in perpetuity in the colony. In Pennsylvania this principle was allowed and defended as being the custom over time and also because it was the law in other countries.
In 1786 the State’s Supreme Court reinforced the status quo when it declared that, the principles of maternal provenance for Black and Mulatto children was and always had been the law.
It should also be noted that many of the slaves in Delaware were bought in Maryland or Philadelphia and the political and legal patterns in Pennsylvania exerted influence on Delaware even after that colony had ceased to be subject to Pennsylvanian laws in 1704.
Prior to 1700 slaves on the West Bank shared some of the legal rights as Whites; e.g. ‘Peter’ was a slave indicted by Kent County Grand Jury on suspicion of murdering a White woman and was found not guilty in 1699). Prior to the 18th Century Blacks were not singled out for particularly harsh treatment nor, if the Black person was free, was there a ban on inter-race marriages; e.g. a free Black, John Johnson of Kent County married Elizabeth, who was White.
But, in early C18th Pennsylvanian passed laws (also passed in Delaware) to codify the position of Black slaves:
In 1700, because White owners did not want to prosecute their slaves – and lose their labour, a series of Acts, supported by William Penn, were passed by the Pennsylvania legislature establishing separate ‘negro courts’(1) for ‘serious crimes’ (the term ‘negro’ was often a synonym for ‘slave’). This was a response to the growing Black population in the colony. In 1704, Delaware was granted its own legislation and actually scrapped these courts – only to re-introduce them in 1726.
Blacks faced different punishments:
The above law was repeated, except the punishment for attempted rape was whipping, branding, imprisonment and transportation and these same penalties were imposed for thefts of over £5. Theft valued under £5 meant whipping up to 39 lashes.
A further Law in 1705-06 forbid the mixture of races and inter-race marriage. For violations a White person could be fined £30, or sold as a servant for a period not exceeding 7 years.
A clergyman carrying out the marriage ceremony could be fined £100.
In Delaware ‘serious crimes’ included murder, manslaughter, buggery, robbery, rape and attempted rape. After 1726, slave masters were compensated two-thirds of the value of the slave put to death– this was a copy of the Pennsylvania Law of 1706. This compensation was paid by a court of two Justices of the Peace and six substantial freeholders. The compensation monies actually came from funds derived from a tax on imported slaves ~ what a vicious circle!
Traditionally the movement of slaves rested with their Pennsylvania owners. Because of complaints about Black people’s “tumultuous assemblies” a law was passed in 1705-06 stopping assembly of Blacks. No slave was allowed to go further than 10 miles without a leave of his master. The penalty was 10 lashes on the bare back. There was the same punishment for a slave who left his master’s home after 9pm or was found in a tippling house.
Also, Whites were forbidden to employ such slaves, or harbour, or shelter them (except in unseasonable weather). If they broke this law they faced a fine of 30 shillings for every 24 hours the slave was harboured. Blacks were also not allowed to gather in companies of more than 4 people.
(1) Such special courts for slaves were common in English American colonies including New York.
Admiral Blake, Admiral Sir William Penn (1621-1630), African-American History Pennsylvania, American Colonial History, Barbados, Bristol, Dominican Republic, Duke of York, General Venables, Haiti, Henry Morgan, Hispaniola, History of USA, King Charles II, Kingston, Macroom, Maroons, Oliver Cromwell, Port Royal, Sailing and Fighting Instructions, Slavery, Spanish Town, St Mary Redcliffe, Western Design, William Penn (1644-1718)
Admiral Sir William Penn was the father of the Quaker William Penn. As noted earlier the Admiral is buried in St Mary Redcliffe church, Bristol, England. What many people in Bristol, including many of Jamaican decent, do not know is that he was the Sea General responsible for the attack on the Spanish slave colony of Jamaica and annexing it as an English colony in 1654.At the end of this post there is a pdf download of slides I used during my recent series of talks in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Feel free to use them as an educational resource if you wish.
During 1654 (when England was a Republic under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell) Admiral Penn offered his services and his fleet to the exiled King Charles II. Charles asked him to wait for a more opportune time before changing political sides. But then, in October the same year, Penn had no scruples about being appointed as Cromwell’s Admiral to take the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic and Haiti). This was part of Cromwell’s colonial Western Design. Later that year a Sea-Armament of 30 – 60 ships and 4,000 soldiers set sail from England bound for Hispaniola. Sea General Penn and the land-army General, Venables, had numerous disagreements, (Penn, as we’ve seen, was equivocal in his support for the Cromwellian regime and Venables was an ardent Parliamentarian, this, coupled with their equal yet divided commands, lead to much mutual hostility).
The fleet was reinforced by about 5,000, reluctant recruits from Barbados and the Leeward Islands who were taken on at St. Kitts. The English reinforcements were nominated by colonial Regimental Commanders who took the opportunity of sending people they considered to be undesirable and their number included an indentured labourer and soon-to-be-famous privateer, Henry Morgan.
While in Barbados the resident colonists were unwilling to get involved in the Cromwellian escapade and were reluctant to release their slaves and indentured servants to fight against the Spanish. In fact the Barbadian planters and colonists had been doing a prosperous trade with New England colonies and with the Netherlands, in direct conflict with English foreign policy. They were not about to see themselves as subject to rule from a remote Republican England especially as its population of some 30,000 people included a sizable number of Royalists who had fled there after being so recently defeated. It is also worth noting that just four years earlier, in 1650, Barbados had come out in support of King Charles II and their rebellion had been put down by the use of two men-of-war and 1,000 troops.
On April 14th, 1655, the force landed on Hispaniola and set off on a sixty-mile march during which they were ambushed and later repulsed by the Spanish before being thoroughly defeated and fleeing in panic on April 25th. English soldiers then started dying at an alarming rate; in total 1,000 of the English troops died, either in battle or from disease. After re-assembling, licking their wounds and burying their dead, the English force set off for the Spanish possession of Jamaica, an island that they knew to be poorly defended and seen as a much less important prize. Thirty-eight ships sailed into Port Royal (Kingston) which was quickly captured. Spanish Town was then plundered by English troops. Many of the Spanish on Jamaica escaped, but not before releasing their slaves – who were to become known as the Maroons. Penn and Venables left Jamaica leaving Vice Admiral Goodison and Major General Fortesque in charge of a very dispirited force. Over the next few years troops died of starvation and disease, they refused to grow crops believing they would be sent home if there was no food. The English were attacked by the freed Spanish slaves.The Governors; Fortesque, Sedgwick and Brayne, died, one after the other. English colonists encouraged to go to Jamaica from other islands fared little better than the troops.
When Penn returned to London he was dismissed from his post and punished by spending time in the Tower of London. Cromwell wrote to Admiral Blake:
‘It is too sad a truth, the Expedition to the West Indies has failed! Sea-General Penn and Land-General Venables have themselves come home, one after the other, with the disgraceful news; and are lodged in the Tower [of London], a fortnight ago, for quitting their posts without orders.’
When Penn had returned from the West Indies he brought back a slave named, Sampson. The Admiral had acquired ownership of him in Barbados by trading him for his original, personal servant slave, Anthony. Penn is also known to have owned at least one further slave named, Jack.
When Penn retired to the castle and estates of Macroom he wrote a code of naval tactics which was later incorporated by the Duke of York into his ‘Sailing and Fighting Instructions’; which became the standard text for British naval expansionist tactics for some centuries.
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Captain Giles Penn (c1573 – c1656) and Jeanne (Joan)Gilbert
Captain Giles Penn and Jeanne Gilbert (of Yorkshire) were grandparents of the Quaker, William Penn of Pennsylvania.
Giles and Jeanne lived in the town of Minety which lies between Swindon and Malmesbury in Wiltshire (originally in Gloucestershire), England. The name Minety derives from ‘mint stream’ and the small town was established on an island in a marsh surrounded by the royal woodland of Braydon Forest.
Giles’s father, William Penn of Minety (b. c1548 – d .c1591), was a law clerk at Malmesbury, Wiltshire and chief clerk to Sir Christopher George, barrister and counsellor at law, and thus an important local figure. It is believed that William
Penn of Minety was buried in front of the altar at the Church of Saint Leonard, Minety. A plaque commemorating William Penn of Minety’s life was also erected in the church; though this no longer exists. He married Margaret Rastall in c1570 – Margaret was the daughter of John Rastall, alderman of Gloucester, and Ann George who was Sir Christopher George’s sister. Giles and Margaret had six children: George, Giles, William, Maria, Sara and Susanna.
In 1600 Giles Penn and Jeanne Gilbert were married at St Mary Redcliffe Church, Bristol. Jeanne was later buried in the same church. The Penn family were to develop a long association with this High Anglican church which was, and still is, financed by the merchants of the city.
By 1618, Giles and his younger brother, William (b. c1580 – d. 1676(?)) (1), were merchants based in the important English port of Bristol. Giles was a Burgess or Freeman of the city. The brothers are thought to have become bankrupt and it may have been then that Giles took up ‘merchant adventuring’, including trade with Morocco, in order to free himself from the debts and losses. He started a series of risky seagoing trips, and was involved in the, literally, cut-throat business of trading off the Barbary coast of North Africa with Moorish Merchants.
One of the daughters of Giles and Jeanne Penn (though I do not know which one!) married a man named Markham. They had a child, William Markham who, as first cousin of the Quaker William Penn, became, for many years, Deputy Governor of Pennsylvania and later Governor of Delaware).
1601, son, George Giles was born.
1621, son, William (the future Admiral Sir William Penn and father of the Quaker, William Penn), was born. From the age of 12 William learned the art of seamanship from his father, Giles.
In 1627 Giles was appointed, by Charles I, as Consul to the Barbary region (Sallee) (2). He was authorised to ‘execute that office by himself and his deputies in Morocco and Fez during the king’s pleasure with such allowances as consults in other parts of Turkey have from the merchants, or otherwise as Penn and the merchants shall agree.’ This had significant financial rewards for Giles Penn and enabled him to make business contacts that allowed him to engage in a steady accumulation of wealth and influential court and business networks. Giles was directly involved in consultations and planning arrangements to send an armed English fleet to Sallee. In fact he lobbied hard to lead this English attack (thus being in the front of the queue for any plunder and glory) but this was denied by the English state. (Lucie Street, in her book on Admiral William Penn, An Uncommon Sailor, states that Giles led the English fleet’s attack on Salle – but I’ve seen no direct evidence of this.)
During 1631 Giles obtained Tetuan hawks from Morocco for Charles I and he was given Letters of Protection from the king. Later he was charged with obtaining Barbary horses for the royal household as well as further numbers of hawks.
Giles’s merchantile trade included business in Leghorn, Italy, Cadiz (Spain), Sanqúcar de Barrameda (Spain), Seville (Spain) and with the Marinid sultanate (Morocco), all this trading made Giles a very experienced ship’s master.
Giles’ eldest son was George; who acted as his father’s agent in Catholic Spain.
Giles died around 1656, probably in North Africa.
Giles had a further brother, George (b.1571 – d.1632) who migrated to Massachusetts, North America. Thus the Penn family had established Royal Stuart connections as well as trading links with Africa, Spain and North America.
……..Notes: (1) “This William Penn is said to have been the William Penn who died testate circa
Following my earlier review of, ‘New York and Slavery – time to teach the truth‘. The author, Alan J. Slinger, provides two important lists of ideas for teachers (for all of us?) to bear in mind when dealing with the subjects of Slavery in the Americas and Slavery in New York & the Northern States. Both lists contain important, considered points many of which apply to a study of Pennsylvanian history as much as to that of New York State. By kind permission from the author, I reproduce them below.
Ten Main Ideas About Slavery in the Americas
1. West Africans were experienced agricultural workers whose labour was used to exploit the resources of the American continents. Profits generated by the trans-Atlantic slave trade and trade in slave-produced commodities financed the commercial and industrial revolutions in Europe and the United States. Global inequality today is a direct result of this history.
2. European societies and their American colonies accepted hierarchy, injustice, and exploitation as a normal condition of human life. Colour and religious differences made it easier to enslave Africans. Europeans justified this slavery by denying the humanity of the African. These attitudes were reinforced by nineteenth-century Social Darwinism and are the root of contemporary racist ideas.
3. Africans had slaves and participated in the slave trade. But although slavery existed in many times and cultures throughout human history, slavery in the Americas, including the United States, was a fundamentally different institution. There was no reciprocal obligation by the elite to the enslaved. Enslavement, with denial of humanity, was a permanent hereditary status; there was an impassable racial barrier.
4. Democracy and community among White, male, Christian property holders in the early American republic rested on the exploitation of other groups, especially the exploitation of the African. The founders of the United States were aware of the hypocrisy of owning slaves. Slavery was intentionally not addressed in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
5. Africans in the Americas resisted slavery in many different ways. They built families, communities, and religious institutions that asserted their humanity. In the United States, enslaved Africans developed an emancipatory Christianity based on the story of the Exodus and laced it with African symbols. In Haiti and Brazil, there were successful slave rebellions. Historians W.E.B. DuBois and C.L.R. James believe the rebellion in Haiti was the impetus for the final decisions by Great Britain and the United States to support the suppression of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
6. White and African-American abolitionists struggled for decades against slavery. Most White abolitionists based their beliefs on the Protestant religion. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the “Common Sense” of the antislavery crusade because it presented the humanity of the enslave African. The story of the complicity of some New Yorkers with slavery and resistance of others to oppression is not the story of White villany. Many White New Yorkers took strong political stands against what they perceived as a fundamental moral evil.
7. While Christian religious beliefs were used to challenge slavery, they were also used to justify it. Defenders of slavery, particularly in the South, used biblical citations to defend the “peculiar institution.”
8. Slavery was a national, rather than a southern, institution. There was limited slavery in the North until 1840 and prosperity in the North rested on the slave trade and the processing of slave produced raw materials.
9. The Civil War was not fought by the North to free Africans; it was fought to save the Union. It ended legal bondage, but not the racist ideas that supported the system.
10. With over 200,000 African Americans in the Union army and navy, the American Civil War should be seen as part of an African-American liberation struggle.
Ten Main Ideas About Slavery and the North
1. Slavery, until its abolition in New York State in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, even after it was declared illegal in 1808, the financing of slave plantations in the South and in the Caribbean, the shipping of slave-produced products, and the manufacture of goods using the commodities of slavery, were all integral to the prosperity of New Netherland, the British colony of New York, and the New York State.
2. Many New Yorkers implicated in the slave system were politically influential and economically powerful. They shaped the policies of the state and nation. A number of prominent individuals and founders of the state and national governments were participants in and profited from the salve system.
3. In order to preserve the Union and protect their own profits from products produced by enslaved workers, many New York and national leaders who opposed the expansion of slavery into the West were willing to compromise with Southern slave owners and to support the slave system in the South even after the outbreak of the Civil War.
4. Despite the Declaration of Independence’s promise of human equality, there were ideological inconsistencies in the early nation. Many leading New Yorkers, including some White opponents of slavery, believed in the racial inferiority of African Americans, opposed full political rights for African Americans, and endorsed their re-colonalisation in Africa. Some of the most radical abolitionists in New York who accepted Black equality were unwilling to accept equal rights for women. Significantly, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony were major allies in the struggles for rights for both African Americans and women.
5. The slave system and racism contributed to an endemic of fear of uprisings by New York’s African population during the colonial era. Rumors of potential rebellion led to “witch hunts”. Africans who fought for their freedom in the colonial era were summarily tried, tortured, and executed. Suspects were tortured untill they confessed to “crimes” and implicated others. Minor infractions of the slave code were severely punished. On a number of occasions violent mobs attacked African Americans and White abolitionists.
6. At the same time, New York State offered a safe haven to many Africans who escaped from slavery and a place where free African Americans could organise politically with White allies to end the slave system and achieve full citizenship. New Yorkers, both black and White, were active participants and national leaders in political campaigns to end slavery and to resist the oppression of Black people.
7. African Americans in New York resisted slavery through active and passive means. They resisted slavery through running away, organising their own cultural and religious institutions, building families and communities, openly of surreptitiously disobeying slaveowners, and through open revolt.
8. Resistance to slavery was often violent. Enslaved Africans in New York openly rebelled against slavery during the colonial era. Many supported the British against forces fighting for American independence in an effort to achieve their own emancipation. Leading New York abolitionists, both Black and White, violated the law and physically prevented the recapture of runaway slaves. Some New York abolitionists were supporters of John Brown’s military campaigns against the slave system and were implicated in his armed assault on a federal weapon’s arsenal in 1859.
9. The histories of many parts of New York were influenced by slavery, the slave trade, and the struggles to end them. Because of the pattern of settlement in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, slavery in the New York State was concentrated on Long Island, in New York City and its surroundings, and in the Hudson River Valley up through Albany. In the nineteenth century, the port of New York functioned as a major international centre for the financing of the slave trade and the trade in goods produced by slave labour.
10. New York was a major centre for abolitionist and anti-abolitionist movements and publications. Due to their proximity to Canada, to work opportunities, and to religious and other social movements, regions of New York State and cities located along the route of the Erie Canal played major roles on the underground railroad and in antislavery agitation during the nineteenth century. Toward the middle of the nineteenth century, the availability of land in the North Country made it a safe haven for free Blacks and for escaped slaves who sought a place where they could build families and communities.Alan Singer has a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Rutgers University. In Hofstra University’s School of Education and Allied Human Services, he is a professor of secondary education and the director of social studies education.
I’ve just finished reading Underground Railway in Pennsylvania by William J Switala (pub. Stackpool Boks, 2001).
The Underground Railway was a system devised before the American Civil War as a means of enabling enslaved people to escape the Southern slave States and gain freedom in the North and in British Canada. Opponents of slavery, and this included numerous Black people and Black communities in the North, allowed their homes and places of worship, called stations, to be used as places with food, shelter and money. This Railroad consisted of routes through 14 Northern states.
This book focuses, in some considerable detail, on the Eastern, Central and Western routes travelled through Pennsylvania. It draws on the work of previous studies, fills in gaps of previous publications and includes clear maps of the routes taken. Importantly it challenges, to an extent, the myth that has grown in many minds that the Underground Railway was a white, Quaker operation. While some sections and individuals of the Quaker community did indeed take many risks in harbouring and transporting escaping slaves this was not, by any means, the whole story. For example, many Blacks escaped the South by only connecting with Black individuals, Black communities and Black-lead churches as they followed the North Star.
As well as providing a very useful picture of the Underground Railway in Pennsylvania Switala’s book also describes each recorded station on the way North through the State. In this respect it is a call to local communities to mark and commemorate those people and buildings in their local county. It also forms a very useful resource for teachers who wish their students to access a fuller picture of the Underground Railway.