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Symbols of Slavery
Facts & Myths of the Underground Railroad
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No man can put a chain around the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.
--Frederick Douglass

Symbols of Slavery

Slave owners kept control over slaves through a variety of means including separation of families, denial of education, through fear and through physical punishment. Slaves were property, bought and sold at the will of the owner. Society supported the slave owners and helped them keep these individuals enslaved.

When those who were enslaved decided they could no longer live under such conditions, they relied on the assistance of strangers and a number of symbols, signals and sayings to aid them in their escape, and to help them avoid slave hunters and catchers. There continues to be much scholarly debate on how fugitives made their way to freedom, but there are some strategies that have been validated by historians.

In this picture, there are items that represent symbols of slavery, and things that slaves used that helped them to freedom. Can you identify them?

Stars
Noose
Moss Whip
Shackles
Quilt
Lantern
Dog
Railroad Tracks
Wagon

 

 

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