The violent conflict between slavery proponents and abolitionists in “Bleeding Kansas” focused national attention on Kansas sovereignty and territorial law. The issue was one of the nation’s most widely debated political crises in the years leading up to the Civil War.
Although the Fugitive Slave Law made assisting runaway slaves a hanging offense in Kansas Territory, abolitionists continued to help slaves escaping from Missouri. Escapees hid in caves, barns, cellars, attics, and secret rooms until they could get to the next station. The names of Underground Railroad “conductors” and locations of “stations” were carefully guarded secrets.
The National Park Service established the Network to Freedom program to help coordinate efforts to preserve and interpret sites that tell the story of the Underground Railroad. You can explore sites all across the country that connect to this part of our history here in a comprehensive list of members of the Network to Freedom. There are several just here in our Heritage Area; including The African American Quilt Museum and Textile Academy, Fort Scott National Historic Site, the John and Mary Ritchie House in Topeka, Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie, and the Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site.
Freedom’s Frontier is home to several other Underground Railroad stories. Click here to read more about the other sites that discuss slavery, abolition, and the Underground Railroad.Take some time and visit an Underground Railroad site and learn about the courage it took of the enslaved as well as the conductors to help make it through the journey to freedom.