A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
Episodes Search Site Map The Series Partners White Pine White Pine Home

For Teachers

Related Links


BREAKING THE ICE: The Mary Ann Shadd Story

Question 1
The largest number of Black immigrants to Canada came as runaways from American slavery via the Underground Railroad during the late eighteenth to mid-nineteenth centuries.

True. The Underground Railway started operating in the 1780s and reached its peak between 1840 and 1860. In particular, the railway became most effective after the passage of the US Fugitive Slave Act in 1850. An estimated 30,000 Black fugitives escaped slavery to Canada via the Underground Railway.

It wasn't actually railway. It was a secret network of people, of safe houses, set up to help Blacks escape the slavery of several American states and move to free states, or freedom in Canada. The secret organization used railway terms as codes to describe the actions of people who worked along the network. "Conductors" helped escaped persons by hiding them from being recaptured by their masters. Conductors moved their "passengers" or "cargo" from one "station," or safe house, to another.


Top of Page