Follow the North Star to Freedom
This one-hour documentary is about the Underground Railroad – a secret network of people, routes, and safe houses that helped persons in slavery escape to freedom. Runaways traveled Underground Railroad routes through the rugged, mountainous terrain of northern Pennsylvania for more than 70 years. Activity in this region was a microcosm of, and directly connected to the UGGR movement as a whole.
From the time of Native Americans through the Civil War, individuals and families worked to help others escape slavery. Helping runaway slaves was against the law. It was fraught with physical, as well as legal risks: Underground Railroad conspirators risked mob violence, stiff fines, and imprisonment. Runaway slaves were pursued by those who claimed ownership, and by professional bounty hunters. For this reason, a variety of stratagems were used, including codes, disguises, secret hiding places, and travel by devious routes usually in the dead of the darkest nights.
Through maps and live footage, the program shows routes that were used and explores historic buildings and hiding places within them. Included are old photos, documents, maps, and artifacts. Stories of Underground Railroad activity are told, some by descendants of participants.
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