Historical Inquiry With Comments

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  Jolley1CarolineJolleyMs.CarusoEnglish110219February2012SecrecyAtItsFinest The Underground Railroad was a secret escape route developed particularly tohelp slaves escape to freedom. 1 The railroad operated between 1861 and 1865 before the endingof the Civil War abolished slavery. (“Maryland & The Underground Railroad”) TheUnderground Railroad provided runaway slaves with hiding places, food, and transportation.Those who helped slaves along the way were called conductors and the slaves themselves wereusually called “passengers”. The conductors provided safety for the passengers by hiding themin their homes and giving them food and shelter. 2 The conductors were risking their safety bydoing this. There were several important people who were a big part of this movement such asHarriett Tubman, William Still, and John Parker. 3 With the guidance of these leaders the slavescame up with secret ways of communication and put their lives on the line in order to reachfreedom.Many of the towns and cities that were involved in the Underground Railroad made up aregion called the Borderland. 4 The Borderland ran “along the borders between free and slavestates.” (National Underground Railroad Freedom Center) Some of the cities includedCincinnati, oxford, and Richmond. It is very common in today’s society that people believe theUnderground Railroad routes only ran through America. However, there were also severalroutes that ran from the South into Mexico and the Caribbean. Many of the routes up North also   Beth Caruso  2/28/12 9:11 PMBeth Caruso  2/28/12 9:17 PM Comment: Changethefont. Comment: Icanseewhatyoumeaninyourmemo.Yoursentencesdotendtofollowthesameformat.Workoncombiningsentences,givingtransitionsfromonetothenext,orjustchangingthesentencestructure.  Jolley2 went into Canada as well. Due to their environment, swamps were ideal locations along theseroutes. The swamps had large amounts of vegetation and were difficult to travel through, whichmade them less appealing to slave hunters. A popular swamp was actually partially located in North Carolina. Connecting with Virginia, the Great Dismal Swamp was approximately 112,000acres of land. (“Great Dismal Swamp”) This swamp along with many other distinct hiding areaswas the key to safety. Yet following these routes was not the only obstacle. Finding out whatthey were was the first step to success.The paths and secrets of the Underground Railroad had to be kept quiet due to the danger of a slave owner or hunter finding out. 5     It was illegal for slaves to know how to read or write so   they to be very careful in how they communicated. 6 Slaves came up with quilt patterns and songin order to get their messages all across America. Airing out quilts by hanging them over fence posts was very common on slave plantations. 7 The patterns on the quilts supposedly containeddifferent patterns, stitches, and knotting tactics to convey things such “as map routes and thedistances between safe houses.” 8 (“Underground Railroad Quilt Code”) Another form of communication was through the power of song. 9 One of the most popular is “Wade In TheWater”. This lyrics of this song instructed people to wade through the water in order to washaway their scent so that the hunting dogs can no longer track them. “Follow The DrinkingGourd” was also a song that transferred an important message in the Underground Railroad. Themessage behind this song was for the slaves to follow the points of the big dipper, which led tothe North Star. Following routes and singing songs may sound easy but there were many risksand challenges every slave ran into. 10     Slaves were not cheap therefore slave owners became very angry when slaves ran away because they lost money and workers on their plantation. 11 There were several different levels of    Beth Caruso  2/28/12 9:18 PMBeth Caruso  2/28/12 9:19 PMBeth Caruso  2/28/12 9:20 PMBeth Caruso  2/28/12 9:21 PMBeth Caruso  2/28/12 9:20 PM Comment: Worktolinktheideasinthisparagraph.Althoughyougiveagreatdealofinformationthatseemstoallrelatetothemainideaoftheparagraph,theparagraphlackssomecohesiveelements.Again,changeupyoursentencestructure,givetransitions,andalsoworktoconcludetheparagraphbywrappinguptheinformationinit. Comment: Givemoreweighttothisidea.Whydidtheyhavetobecareful?Whatwouldtheconsequencesbe? Comment: Theseideasarecertainlyclear,butIwouldsuggestrewordingandreformattingthissectionforaclearer,smootherread.Worktogivemoreinformationinthesentence.Lengthenthesentencetoincludetheinformationorconnectionthatismissing. Comment: Thisparagraphisaboutpunishment,butyousetitupasaparagraphaboutslavesrunningaway.Worktofocusthisparagraphmoreclearly. Comment: Wordysentence.Worktomakeitmoresuccinct.  Jolley3  punishment that slaves were forced to face, some worse than others. Many slave owners wouldkick and slap their slaves around before the slaves could even think about running away; just toshow the slaves who was boss and to forewarn them that the consequences would be far worse if they got caught trying to escape. 12 The most typical and srcinal form of punishment waswhipping. Whipping normally consisted of the slaves being tied to a tree or some for of supportwhile their owners lased their backs fifty to one hundred times with a long whip. 13 Some owners preferred a less physical but more mental approach. Instead of hurting their slaves physically byhitting or whipping they would lock them in a room or cage alone for weeks at a time. Another  punishment for trying to run away was holding the slaves under water until they got as close todrowning as they possibly could. (“Slaves Punishment”) The most brutal form of punishmentsthat slaves received was amputations of body parts. When runaway slaves were retrieved back totheir owners they would hire someone to cut off a slaves ear, finger, toe, arm, leg, etc. 14 Whilemany slaves died from all these different types of punishments, to them there was still one punishment that was by far the worst. This punishment was being sold from their family. Slavesknew that if they got taken from their families that they may never see them again and that brought more pain than any beating, amputation, or caging could. These punishments srcinatedin England and soon became illegal, though many slave owners still took part in thisdehumanizing punishments even after they were outlawed. 15 (“Slaves Punishment”)Runaway slave’s punishments were so harsh that it would be impossible for them to goabout it alone. Many important people played roles in helping slaves completely turn their livesaround and find freedom. Harriett Tubman, a former slave herself, is a prime example of a person who helped other slaves to a better life. 16 Harriett’s srcinal name was Araminta Roseuntil after she became free she decided to take her mothers name. When Harriett was only twelve   Beth Caruso  2/28/12 9:22 PM Comment: Trybreakingupthisparagraphintomultipleparagraphsforclearertransitionsbetweenideas.  Jolley4 years old her master hit her on the head with a brick causing her to sporadically have black outsfor the rest of her life. 17 In 1850, Harriett made her first rescue. She rescued her sister and twonieces. 18 By 1857 she had rescued her entire family, one of the biggest accomplishments of her life, in her eyes. (“Harriett Tubman”) It is said that throughout Harriett’s career as a conductor on the Underground Railroad that she helped far more than three hundred slaves to freedom.William Still, appointed secretary of Pennsylvania Abolition Society of 1847, wasanother important conductor of the Underground Railroad. (“Spartacus Educational”) Still wasthe first black man to join the society and was able to provide first hand experience on slavery. 19  Still was a very successful man who established his own coal business in Philadelphia, makinghim less likely to be accused of helping any slaves try to escape. 20 Still’s house along theUnderground Railroad was used as a hiding place and shelter for 649 slaves. (“SpartacusEducational”)   John Parker was a slave who was sold from his mother at the young age of eight.Growing up without his family, made John become very independent, leading to his success.When he was of age he bought himself out of slavery. He earned a lot of money from being acraftsman, that made him not only successful but free as well. Parker was known for being oneof the most daring slave rescuers of his time. He kept records of the hundreds of slaves that heguided to freedom. (“John Parker”) Though once he started his family he decided to destroythose records for the safety of his wife and kids. All three of these people: Harriett Tubman,William Still, and John Parker were only a few of the many people who worked as conductors onthe Underground Railroad, risking not only their lives but also their loved ones. These peopleare still honored today for all the blood shed and tears they went through to help others get tofreedom. 21     Beth Caruso  2/28/12 9:23 PMBeth Caruso  2/28/12 9:23 PM Comment: Howdoesthispointrelatetotheprevious? Comment: Transition
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