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The Underground Railroad In Hudson County - Part One

By Alexander Maclean

Edited by GET NJ, Copyright 2002

Jersey City, by reason of its geographical position, was perhaps the most important transfer point in the East

Today the term "Underground Railway" brings to mind a noisy subway train or a tunnel under the Hudson River. Sixty years ago the term conveyed a very different impression depending on the sentiment or prejudice of the individual. To the opponents of slavery, it meant an avenue of escape from bondage in the South, to freedom in the North; to the pro-slavery man, it meant an iniquitous aid to robbery. To all, it meant a chain of hiding-places in the long journey from the South to Canada, in which runaway slaves were hidden during the day -- and a list of men and women who risked all in providing for the present needs of fugitives and guides to the succeeding night's shelter.

These hiding-places were known as Stations, and the friends of freedom were known as Station Agents. Jersey City, by reason of its geographical position, was perhaps the most important transfer point in the East, and it is this fact that calls for special attention at this time.

The underground railroad in New Jersey sprang from the same spirit that produced the patriots of the Revolution -- though the abolition of slavery was a live issue half a century before John Hancock made his signature famous.

Slavery -- and the efforts continued for more than half a century to regulate or abolish it -- produced a large and curious part of our written laws and our legislative history. This present article omits detailed mention of the record from the time when the first Quaker Apostle of Abolition began preaching to Americans of African descent, nearly two hundred seventy years ago, right up to the liberation of the last human being held in bondage in this New Jersey, but a glance along the line will aid us in trying to understand the motivations of the partisans of slavery and freedom.

Part Two

Hudson County Facts  by Anthony Olszewski
Hudson County, New Jersey is a place of many firsts - including genocide and slavery.
Political corruption is a tradition here.
First issue in a series by Anthony Olszewski
Click HERE to find out more.

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