True Accounts of Flight on the Underground Railroad Told In Verse
What was that thing called the Underground Railroad? As the story goes, a frustrated slave hunter, failing to catch a runaway, exclaimed, “He must have gone off on an underground road.” That was the myth. In reality it was a network for escape where runaways might get lost going through woods, spotted crossing open fields, and the risk of drowning when crossing streams and creeks at a time when most slaves couldn’t swim. They weren’t allowed to learn. Running away was considered theft for stealing themselves and made them fugitives from the law.
They set out alone, in small groups or in families — usually at night — on foot, in wagons, by boat and later trains. Disguises helped them avoid detection. Whether unassisted or with the unexpected but welcomed help from sympathetic strangers, they kept on going for freedom. Secrecy and no centralized organization kept slave owners and slave catchers scrambling.
It is estimated 1% of slaves were runaways. One source said: …Slaveholders could not understand why slaves would runaway, and called them “ungrateful.” The very act of running away challenged the system.
Thoughts of freedom were never far from the minds of the enslaved African. The stories I choose to tell through original poetry in Going for Freedom highlight the reasons and events that led each freedom seeker to make the dangerous decision to self-emancipate.
“Going for Freedom” ~ Fanfare and Testimonials
|“You did an outstanding job. I am glad I could be there. I am very sure you will have many, many more shows. God bless you!” ~ Susan<|
|“Randy and I were so pleased to attend Marcia’s creative, thoughtful, informative presentation this past Thursday. She had prepared with a good deal of research, and then presented in a way to immerse you in those times… something that can best be done in the small personal setting we had that night. I was happy to see it so well attended and was touched both by her presentation and by other comments from audience members. I hope you have a chance to attend her next presentation.”|
|“I loved it. I’d love to see you do it at church. I really was able to be transported.” ~ Carrie.|
|“Thank your invitation to True Accounts of Flight in Verse. I learned more about the perilous times for slaves. Your inspirational poetry made the lives more real and made me understand them more. “ ~ Mary|
|“Thank you so much for sharing those stories and being committed to keeping those stories alive! Our history won’t be told unless we tell it. Your work and your efforts are deeply appreciated. God Bless.” ~ Tysarah|
|“Awesome!!! God Bless” ~ Janice|
|“Very informative. Nice descriptive poetry.” ~ Diane|
|“Great oration and very good for BHM events” ~ B.W.|
|“Wonderful presentation! Well researched. Beautiful delivery.” ~ Eileen|