From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad

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From Midnight to Dawn: The Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad

Author: Jacqueline L. Tobin
Publisher: Doubleday
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 288
Cover Price: $ 24.95

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The Underground Railroad was the passage to freedom for many slaves, but it was full of dangers. There were dedicated conductors and safe houses, but also arduous nights in the mountains and days in threatening towns. For those who made it to Midnight (the code name given to Detroit), the Detroit River became a River Jordan—and Canada became their land of Canaan, the Promised Land where they could live freely in black settlements under the protection of British law. One of these settlements was known as Dawn.

In prose rich in detail and imagery, From Midnight to Dawn presents compelling portraits of the men and women who established the Railroad, and of the people who traveled it to find new lives in Canada. Some of the figures are well known, like Harriet Tubman and John Brown. But there are equally heroic, less familiar figures here as well, like Mary Ann Shadd, who became the first black female newspaper editor in North America, and Osborne Perry Anderson, the only black survivor of the fighting at Harpers Ferry.

From Midnight to Dawn evokes the turmoil and controversies of the time, reveals the compelling stories behind events such as Harpers Ferry and the Christian Resistance, and introduces the reader to the real–life “Uncle Tom” who influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

The Underground Railroad was often viewed by Southerners as proof that Abolitionists wanted nothing less than the destruction of their "peculiar institution."

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Background Information

A system of secret transportation known as the Underground Railroad conducted ruanway slaves from the Deep South to freedom in Canada. Detroit, from a French for straits, is in a strategically important location between lakes Erie and Huron. Harriet Tubman was born a slave in Maryland and spent her years before the Civil War helping slaves escape on the Underground Railroad to freedom. John Brown was an abolitionist who believed that violence against slavery was justified, as he showed in the assault at Harpers Ferry in 1860. Harriet Beecher Stowe was a member of the famous literary and religious Beecher family who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin before the Civil War. Abolitionism was the movement, centered in the North, that abolition of slavery even in those states that had practiced it since the founding of the country.