Underground Railroad Research Forum
Re: Crucifixion Church Railroad?
In Response To: Crucifixion Church Railroad? ()
The best way to determine if the chirch was connected, physically, to the Underground Railroad is to look for actual documentation that points to the church as a safe haven. Identifying church members who were not only abolitionists but known to have supported the UGRR (not all abolitionists sheltered or supported runaways)is also a first step. The presense of tunnels is a poor indicator of UGRR activity. In Philadelphia there was little need for such an elaborate escape/hiding system, and tunnels are mostly the stuff of myth, legend and lore. The tunnels more than likely were part of the building/support system of the church itself, as many large structures needed such things in the building process. Basements with multiple rooms or "tunnels" were also used for a variety of purposes, most specifically storage. Some buildings had/have tunnels that were used for smuggling, particularly during the Civil War and then again during Prohibition. Not likely the church's tunnels were used for either of those activities. So, don't be fooled by the tunnels myths, just focus on the people who were members of the church and what they did or did not do. Philly was an important terminus and way station on the UGRR, but such convoluted methods for hiding and transferring people was not necessary there. The church records should give you some important clues, too. They may even have records of helping and supporting specific freedom seekers being helped by members of the church.
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