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Behind the Story: Escape on the Underground Railroad

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Josiah Henson's Eyewitness Account of his Daring Escape from Slavery

Lesser known Josiah Henson rivaled Harriet Tubman in his efforts to rescue slaves and set them on the freedom train to Canada. His story inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Read Josiah Henson's first-hand account of his daring escape from slavery, with his wife and children. »

Learn more about the Dawn Settlement, founded by Josiah Henson in Canada, where many fugitive American slaves found freedom and work »


What was life like?

American Life in the 1850s

Listen to a 19th century song often sung by slaves.

Listen to Swing Low Sweet Chariot (Audio) »

What best-selling novel became a vital anti-slavery tool?

Click here for the answer »

Read the original story in Uncle Tom’s Cabin of Eliza’s escape across the ice flow to freedom.

Read the story of Eliza's escape in Uncle Tom's Cabin »

Video: Who were they?

Long Road to Freedom: Heroes & Hope on the Underground Railroad

See a video about how hope survived amidst the harrowing journey along the underground railroad.

Watch Underground Railroad Video »