Download the book "This is one of the most remarkable volumes of the century. Its publication has only been made possible by a combination of circumstances which seldom attend the birth of a book. Before emancipation, and while the bane of slavery was on the country, the thrilling facts of this volume could not have been made public. Peace and the blessing of freedom permit their publication, free circulation and unmolested reading.
Of all the thousands who favored freedom for the slaves, who gloried in the odium attached to anti-slaveryism, who witnessed the frequent efforts of the bondsmen to escape, who aided them in their quest for liberty, few dared to take notes of what they witnessed, and fewer still dared to preserve them, lest they should be turned into witnesses against them.
But one man, and that the author of this book, is known to have succeeded in preserving anything like a full account of the workings of the UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, as it was called before emancipation. These records grew on his hands during the years he acted as Chairman of the Philadelphia Branch of that celebrated corporation, until they reached the extent of the present volume. They are made up of letters received, of interviews held, of narratives taken down at the time, of real reminiscence and authentic biography. Nothing imaginative enters into the composition of the volume. It is simply succinct history, always startling, sometimes bloody. The annals of no time since the Inquisition are so full of daring ventures for life and liberty or heroic endurance under most trying circumstances." (from the Publisher)
William Still is often called the Father of the Underground Railroad. Over 14 years, he helped hundreds of slaves escape to freedom in Canada. Still was committed to preserving the stories of the bondmen and he kept careful records of the many escaped slaves who passed through the Philadelphia “station”. The Underground Railroad was published in 1871 from Still’s records and diaries. In bringing you these stories, Volunteers are reading from the 1878 edition.