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Search > Learning Exercise Results > The Underground Railroad

Learning Exercise: The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad was a means for slaves to escape the oppression of slavery to a free state. This site explains the role of the Underground Railroad in Maryland history.


Submitted by:
William Paquette
Date Last Modified:
December 10, 2009


Instructions: Part I: About the Underground Railroad: Answer the 15 questions that begin this section. Part II: Following the Footsteps: Select three from among the following: James Pennington, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Caroline Hammond, Josiah Henson, and Charles Ball; and write brief biographies of their lives as slaves for three of them. Part III: Figuring it out, slavery in Maryland: Move the red cursor to the date 1860. Answer the following questions. 1. How many slaves in Maryland in 1860? 2. How many slaves in Maryland were your age? 3. Were all Maryland Black people slaves? 4. How many white people lived in Maryland in 1860? Part IV: Mapping the Underground Railroad: 1. How did Maryland's geography contribute to the success or failure of the Underground Railroad? 2. Where were Maryland's routes to freedom? 3. List the important sites on the routes to freedom. 4. List the historic sites in Maryland commemorating the Underground Railroad. Part V: Secret Signs and Symbols: Briefly describe how each one of the following was used to facilitate slave escape to freedom: the drinking gourd, music, quilts, and language.



  • College General Ed
  • College Lower Division
  • High School


United States History Slavery Ante-Bellum South



Learning Objectives

To acquaint students with primary sources on the life of slaves before the Civil War. To acquaint students with the role of the Underground Railroad in helping slaves escape the oppression of slavery.

Type of Task

  • Individual
  • Student-centered
  • Supplemental Activity
  • Unsupervised


A series of questions.

Technical Notes