Network to Freedom Virtual Cancellations
Explore the road to freedom with Passport! September is International Underground Railroad History Month, and we’ve partnered with the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program to bring you virtual experiences and special virtual Passport cancellations to help guide your learning journey. As you weave together the history of these special places you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the communities and stories that brought thousands of enslaved people to freedom.
Choose an experience or location to virtually visit, then download your virtual Passport cancellation to track your progress. Find details about saving your virtual cancellations here.
Can’t get enough? Be sure to visit the main Passport Virtual Cancellation Hub for lots more experiences and cancellations!
African-American Quilt Museum (Marla’s Quilts)
The African-American Quilt Museum interprets stories of the Underground Railroad through the fiber art of quilt-making. African-Ameican families participate by memorializing their family’s stories associated with the Underground Railroad using primary research. Each quilt tells an important story.
African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania
African American Historical Society of South Central Pennsylvania has prepared a virtual tour of Network to Freedom resources in the historic City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Enjoy the tour, then come bac k to download virtual canellation!
African Meeting House
Smith Court Stories connects a digitally curated collection of archival documents and archaeological artifacts to lived experiences of African Americans in 19th and 20th century Boston. Smith Court has strong ties to the Underground Railroad as home to 3 Smith Court, an active safe house, and the African Meeting House, a Network to Freedom site, that played a prominent role as a gathering space for Underground Railroad activity.
Angola Maroon Community
For a few decades, from the 1770s to 1821, freedom seekers on the Network to Freedom found a haven by the Manatee Mineral Spring, in Spanish La Florida. Today part of the city of Bradenton, archaeological excavations reveal material evidence of daily life for a community whose descendants found liberty on Andros Island in The Bahamas.
The Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site
The Battle of Island Mound is a Missouri State Historic Site. On October 29, 1862, a small Civil War border battle between Bates County Partisan Guerrillas and the 1st Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry (1st KCVI) occurred. The significance of this battle reverberated to the War Department in Washington City. For the first time in the Civil War, African-American troops engaged the enemy in action and their heroic efforts were declared a victory.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
In the early 1800’s escaped slaves from the Carolina’s, Georgia and North Florida made their way south along the coast to Cape Florida where they sought freedom in the British Bahamas where slavery was outlawed. Many joined with and intermarried Seminole Indians along the way, becoming Black Seminoles. From here they made the treacherous voyage to freedom and safety across the Gulf Stream to Andros Island, travelling with Seminole guides in dugout canoes , and with Bahamian sloop Captains. Their community in Red Bays remained hidden well into the 20th century. Confirmation of these voyages exists in a book written in 1821, and backed up on the Bahamas side by oral histories compiled from descendants of the original freedom seekers. Today the beach where the former slaves left for freedom on Key Biscayne is now part of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, and is open to the public daily.
Black Heritage Trail
The Black Heritage Trail is a tour through the Beacon Hill neighborhood of downtown Boston. This tour explores the rich history of the black community in antebellum Boston with a focus on its leading role in the abolition movement, the struggle for civil rights, and the Underground Railroad. Sites along the trail include the home of Lewis and Harriet Hayden, a well-documented station on the Underground Railroad. Others sites include the homes of John J. Smith, John Coburn, and William Cooper Nell, all of whom were integral to Boston’s Underground Railroad. One of the final stops along the tour is the African Meeting House, a center of the black community’s religious, educational, and political life that also served as an important gathering space for Underground Railroad activity. The Black Heritage Trail is a designated program on the Network to Freedom.
C&O Canal Williamsport
John Curry, an enslaved man from North Carolina, narrates his escape by following the towpath before passing into Pennsylvania. Franklin Blackford recounts in his diary the capture of five slaves along the towpath and collecting the reward. These accounts along with the numerous runaway slave ads mentioning the C&O Canal provides evidence that the canal was used not only as transportation route for fugitives escaping slavery but also as a destination point.
Castillo de San Marcos NM
The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States, and one of only two fortifications in the world made from coquina. Constructed to protect the city of St. Augustine, which was established to defend Spanish shipping lanes in the Atlantic, the Castillo is the cornerstone upon which this colonial Spanish community was able to build and thrive. Enslaved Africans made their way from the English colonies of North America to Spanish Florida, where they could gain freedom through Catholic baptism and by contributing to the community. The first freedom seekers arrived in 1687 and worked to build the Castillo itself. Over the next 100 years, they and their descendants formed militias that were integral in defending the fort and the city from multiple British invasions. Without their efforts, St. Augustine and the Castillo may very well have fallen to the enemy.
Catoctin Furnace Historical Society
As many as 271 enslaved people of African ancestry made up the bulk of Catoctin Furnace’s workers, producing wealth and prosperity for the owners, one of whom became the first governor of Maryland. Researchers have found six advertisements, ranging from 1780 to 1846, for 16 freedom seekers from Catoctin Furnace. A cemetery of African American enslaved workers, excavated in 1979, is providing valuable information about the harsh existence they endured, their ancestral origins, and the family units that helped sustain them.
Constitution Hall – Topeka
Constitution Hall in Topeka is one of the most famous buildings dating from the history of early Kansas. It served as the state capitol building for nine years. Earlier in its history, the basement of the building served as a hiding place for freedom seekers heading up the Lane Trail to Nebraska. The Friends of the Free State Capitol own the facility and are restoring it.
Fanueil Hall at Boston NHP
In May 1854, slave catchers arrested Anthony Burns, a 20-year-old freedom seeker that escaped slavery in Virginia. His arrest sparked major protests, a failed courthouse rescue, a military takeover of downtown Boston and, ultimately, a return to slavery by the federal government. The arrest of Anthony Burns became a flash-point for many Bostonian’s that had remained silent on the issue of slavery and the abolitionist movement. Join us for this film which explores the rendition of Anthony Burns down State Street through the voices of those who witnessed it.
Ferry Hill Plantation
Located along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, this was an Underground Railroad stop built about 1812 by John Blackford. This property included a ferry that crosses the Potomac into what was then Virginia. The ferry was operated by two enslaved men, whom Blackford named “foremen of the ferry”. These two men, Jupe and Ned, ran the ferry with little oversight. They kept the records, purchased supplies and even hired free blacks for seasonal labor. The ferry remained in operation until 1851.
Between August and December 1862, around 2,700 free, enslaved, and self-emancipated men and women constructed Fort Negley, the largest masonry fortification built during the Civil War. Although the Federal Army employed harsh policies and provided horrible living conditions, self-emancipated people recognized opportunities for securing freedom for themselves and their descendants while personally engaging in undermining the rebellion. As the military became more dependent on the critical labor African Americans provided, the focus of the war shifted from preserving the Union to ending slavery. Many laborers employed at Fort Negley joined United States Colored Regiments in 1863.
Fort Pickens, today a part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, served as a destination for freedom seekers during the Civil War. Later garrisoned by African American soldiers in the United States Colored Troops, this enslaved-built masonry fort became a weapon in the fight to save a nation and destroy American slavery. Today Fort Pickens preserves the history and legacies of the African American freedom struggle.
Fort Pulaski National Monument
After the battle of Fort Pulaski, Union soldiers occupied the island and the question arose of what to do with the enslaved men on the island. When Major General David Hunter issued General Orders Number 7 which stated that “All persons of color lately held to involuntary service by enemies of the United States in Fort Pulaski and on Cockspur Island, Georgia, are herby confiscated and declared free…,” the fort became a safe haven for freedom seekers from all around the Georgia coast until the end of the American Civil War.
Fort Scott National Historic Site
The Fort Scott National Historic Site is the only NPS site that was directly involved in the “Bleeding Kansas” era. The division between pro and anti-slavery forces is reflected by the fact that a former officers’ quarters served as the Fort Scott or “Free State” Hotel while directly across the parade ground was the Western or “Pro-Slavery” Hotel, (previously used as an infantry barracks).
Frederick Douglass Birthplace
The long journey of Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey from enslavement to international fame as abolitionist, author, and statesman Frederick Douglass began in Talbot County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Much of the landscape of Douglass’s youth, which he so vividly describes in his writing, remains intact today. See the sites that formed one of the greatest 19th century Americans in four self-guided driving tours. You’ll pass through picturesque towns and historic farms on the way to understanding more about this singularly inspiring figure.
The barn is located at 2819 Stonebarn Terrace in Lawrence, and it played a significant role in the Underground Railroad in pre-Civil War Kansas. It is also one of the nation’s best-documented stations on the Underground Railroad and one of the best preserved Underground Railroad sites still standing in Lawrence. Because of this, the Grover Barn is designated as an Underground Railroad site on the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Harriet Tubman Byway
This dramatic, multi-track Audio Guide brings to life stories of slavery and escape, cruelty and compassion. Soundtracks include dramatizations, storytelling, and commentary by experts, historians, and local community members. Download the Driving Tour Map and Guide, so that you can plan your visit on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center immerses visitors in the world of Tubman and other freedom seekers through multi-media and tactile exhibits. Themes highlight Tubman’s early years in Maryland in the context of slavery on the Eastern Shore, the UGRR as a resistance movement, and Tubman’s rescue missions and networks. Her work as a scout, spy, nurse, and strategist during the Civil War are also emphasized as well as her work as a humanitarian and suffragist. The Visitor Center also serves as the headquarters for the National UGRR Network to Freedom (NTF) Program.
The John and Mary Ritchie House
The John and Mary Ritchie House was the home of one of Topeka’s first founding families. The Ritchies were ardent abolitionists. They were an essential stop for some 250 freedom seekers as they made their way through a growing Topeka in its first few years.
Levi Coffin House
The Levi and Catharine Coffin State Historic Site in Fountain City, Indiana is a well-known Underground Railroad site. The home, once known as the “Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad,” it was used by the Coffins, who were Quakers that lived in Indiana from 1826 – 1847. During their time in Indiana, the Coffins assisted over 1,000 Freedom Seekers.
Maryland State House
In the spring of 2020, sculptures of the greatest leaders in the flight to freedom, Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass, were dedicated at the Maryland State House. Neither Tubman nor Douglass was present for the ratification of the Maryland Constitution of 1864 which took place in the Old House of Delegates Chamber of the Maryland State House on November 1, 1864. Their statues depict them as witnesses to this historic moment when slavery was abolished in the state in which they were born enslaved. The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, only freed those enslaved in ‘rebellious states’ requiring Maryland to enact its own law. Abolition was achieved through Article 24 of the Declaration of Rights, which stated that “hereafter, in this State, there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude. . . and all persons held to service or labor as slaves are declared free.” The presence of Tubman and Douglass in the State House honors these heroic native Marylanders, their self-emancipation, and the role each played in achieving freedom for enslaved individuals throughout America.
Maryland State Archives
The Maryland State Archives serves as the central depository for government records of permanent value. Its holdings date from Maryland’s founding in 1634 and include colonial and state probate, land, and court records, and special collections of private papers, maps, photographs, and newspapers. Among its vast holdings are extraordinary resources related to the Underground Railroad and Freedom Seekers including The Legacy of Slavery website.
Maryland’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
Follow in the footsteps of leading freedom fighters from Maryland such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Henry Highland Garnet; learn why Maryland had the most successful escapes on the Underground Railroad, and select the places you want to visit from Maryland’s 85 Network to Freedom sites. Maryland’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom visitor guide and website provides travelers with all the information they need to explore the state and learn about Maryland’s dynamic Underground Railroad history.
Moccasin Bend – Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP
The park’s most notable Underground Railroad story comes from park property on Moccasin Bend, where at least one enslaved person, a man named Jacob Cummings, escaped and engaged with the Underground Railroad, and himself later became an agent on the Underground Railroad. Numerous farms dotted Moccasin Bend shortly after the Cherokee lost the territory in 1819, and Jacob Cummings was one of the enslaved people working on Moccasin Bend. The Federal Road, established in 1805, passed across Moccasin Bend to Brown’s Ferry as a major trade route in the region. This road and ferry site also served as the escape route for Jacob Cummings, and potentially other freedom seekers in the antebellum period.
Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie
Located in the endangered tallgrass prairie of eastern Kansas, and once part of the farm of William Mitchell, who was an Underground Railroad Stationmaster, the Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie Park is a remarkable resource offering visitors a blend of nature, culture, and history. Comprising 165 acres, this hilltop prairie has been sacred to Native Peoples for hundreds of generations. The Mount Mitchell Prairie is recognized by the National Park Service on the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom as a site of national importance to the commemoration of the Underground Railroad.
Nathan and Polly Johnson House
The Johnson House is a National Historic Landmark for its role as an Underground Railroad site and the first home in freedom for Frederick and Anna Douglass. In 1838, Frederick and Anna Douglass escaped on the Underground Railroad to New Bedford and found a supportive community committed to the anti-slavery movement. For the next 5 years, the family settled here and raised three of their children.
New London Custom House
Learn about New London and its U.S. Custom House, now the Custom House Maritime Museum, and how it played a small but significant role in the abolition of slavery in the United States.
Old County Jail Museum
The jails of St. Mary’s County played a central role in the story of slavery and flights to freedom for the enslaved population of St. Mary’s County. It was common for runaways to be held in a public jail until their owner retrieved them or they were sold for cost of care, and these same jails also held many free citizens who were charged with helping enslaved people to escape. These are the stories that the Old Jail Museum seeks to tell.
Old Quindaro Museum
The Old Quindaro Museum is the former home of John Walker, caretaker for the grounds of Western University. The home is used to educated the community about the escaped slave families, and freedom seekers who sought refuge in Wyandotte County’s township of Quindaro. The house also provides information on the Wyandote Nation who helped escaped families during the 1800s
The Roanoke River has been recognized as part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom since 2008. The Roanoke River Underground Railroad Trail winds its way through Northeastern North Carolina counties, from the Virginia border down to the Albemarle Sound, past land once filled with active plantations. This was an important passageway for antebellum freedom seekers, as they fled slavery to reunite with family, or to escape to freedom via states to the north or the Atlantic Ocean to the south.
Country home of Frisby Tilghman, one of the largest slave holders in Washington County. This was the home of James W. C. Pennington (c.1807-1870), minister, abolitionist and author. He escaped from here on October 28, 1827 and made his way first to Littlestown, PA then to New York City. Privately owned.
Safe Harbor: Boston’s Maritime Underground Railroad
During the years preceding the American Civil War, Boston served as one of the most important stops on the Underground Railroad. Many of the fugitives escaping from enslavement came to Boston by stowing away on ships from southern ports. “Boston’s Maritime Underground Railroad” explores the little known stories of men and women making daring escapes to freedom through Boston Harbor.
Wakarusa Heritage Museum
The Angels of Freedom exhibit at the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum shares narratives of the heroic men and women of the Wakarusa Valley who showed extraordinary courage and commitment to freedom for all. Many who settled in the area were avid anti-slavery supporters, therefore it comes as no surprise that the transport of freedom seekers passed through the area via the Underground Railroad.
Washington Waterfront Underground Railroad Museum
This museum explains and demonstrates how Freedom Seekers used the Washington, North Carolina, waterfront as an avenue to freedom to northern states, Canada, locations in some southern states, Mexico, Great Britain, and other countries. It uses historical documents, runaway slave ads, passages from Dr. William Still’s journals, logs from local ship merchants, newspaper accounts, oral histories, singing, dancing and ‘escape codes’ which could be clothing, flowers, vegetables, songs, nursery rhymes and some every day items such as pine cones and ashes from could aid in escapes.
Watkins History Museum
Lawrence, Kansas was the headquarters of the antislavery Free State movement in Kansas Territory in the late 1850s, a time known nationwide as Bleeding Kansas. A number of abolitionists, including John Brown, lived in or near Lawrence. Exhibits at the Watkins Museum of History explore Bleeding Kansas, abolitionism and the Underground Railroad in Lawrence; the growth of Lawrence’s African American community in the years following the Civil War; and the century-long struggle for civil rights that followed Reconstruction.